Why Have You Forsaken Me? (ATP)
Why did Jesus say “my god why have you forsaken me?” Can you explain this and what it means?
What a wonderful question this is. At first read, one might assume the Father wasn’t being very loving here, allowing His son to go through such trial. But when we look closer, we’ll see this from another light.
First let’s talk a bit about sin. Romans 3:23-26 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Who paid the price for the sins being committed by humanity? Jesus!
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So we know from this scripture first that Jesus was our way to eternal life. We also know that the pay out or the compensation for sin is death. The sins of the world had to be paid for or God’s word would have been a lie here.
Look at Isaiah 59:1-2, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” There’s some important principles in this scripture. First, yes, God is powerful and able to save. He’s able to help. He’s able. BUT, iniquity, or sin, separates from God! In the very beginning of the Bible we see that God separated the light, which He called good, from darkness. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, these important questions are asked, “…For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” The short answer is no fellowship at all. Light and dark can’t coexist.
Now let’s look at the scripture passage you asked about. Mark 15:34, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” That word forsaken here means to abandon or to leave behind. No doubt Jesus felt abandoned. No doubt Jesus wanted to be in the presence of His Father. But according to scripture, sin separates from God. He can’t dwell with sin even if it’s with His own son.
Of course, Jesus knew and willingly chose to follow the plan of God, fulfilling His purpose of redeeming humanity. He knew and was troubled in His flesh and mind if you recall His experience back in the Garden of Gethsame, but He chose to go through the trial anyways, knowing all that was at stake. For many Christians, a simple trial will cause them to question God’s love and plan for them, crying out “why God?!” every time life takes a turn they don’t like in their flesh and their mind. Imagine Jesus when all He had ever known, for eternity before He walked this earth, and for the roughly 30 years He lived as a man, constantly seeking God and saturating Himself in His presence, was suddenly taken from
Him on the cross. Jesus was experiencing the only separation from His Father He has ever known. We know according to 1 Peter 1:19, that, “…the precious blood of Christ, (was) as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” On the cross, the sins of all mankind were placed on Jesus and the Father could have no part with that sin. This was the very moment Jesus cried out knowing He was separated from God.
Christians, we need to understand that God has not chosen to forsaken any one of us. He wants to live in us and guide us and take us through this life blessed with abundance in all these good, but we can choose to give that up if we live in sin. James 1:23-25, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” Let’s learn from Jesus! Let’s live a life pure before God and remain in fellowship with Him. After all, Jesus paid the ultimate price so we could.