From the February 18th reading of our devotional Bible: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Matthew 27:46, NASB)
What are we to make of this statement of Jesus on the cross? Does it mean, like so many have taught, that the Father turns His face away from the Son because He cannot look upon the sin Jesus was bearing on behalf of His children? Is it possible for the One God of all eternity to be separated? Can the essence of the Son be divided from the Father? I would think not! Especially as this would do irreparable damage to the fabric of everything!
The key to understanding the message of Christ is contained in our readings that span from February 13th to February 18th within the Book of Psalms. I am referring to the whole of the 22nd Psalm. What Jesus cries out is the first line of the Psalm. The Psalm itself is known as a Messianic Psalm as it provides an uncanny picture of the events that occurred at Calvary. In actuality, David wrote over 1,000 years before the crucifixion of Jesus, a method of execution not even devised at the time of its composition.
To make things even more interesting, if Jesus truly is quoting Psalm 22 and the forsaking of the Son by the Father has to do with the idea that God the Father cannot look upon the sin that Jesus was embodying; what are we to do with Psalm 22:24, “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.” (NASB, underline mine)
I submit with great confidence that Jesus is referencing Psalm 22. This conclusion can be ascertained based upon two aspects. First, those who were present at the cross and knowledgeable of scripture would have heard Jesus words and images from the Psalm should have exploded into their consciousness; those who had ‘ears to hear’ anyway, leaving those without excuse who did not put the pieces together. Second, when reflecting upon the whole of the Psalm, Jesus Himself would have drawn great comfort from its words; although He might have ‘felt’ forsaken in the midst of unprecedented pain and anguish, His Father would have never left nor forsaken Him. He was carrying out the grand prophetic plan of redemption and victory was soon to be realized!
If it were true that the Father could not look upon sin, He could not look upon me! He would not have found me in my sin! He would not have lavished upon me His magnificent mercy and grace! I would still be utterly lost and hopeless within my sin! Even if He were seeing me through the ‘lens’ of the Son, the Son would still have borne my sin at Calvary and we’ve already established why the Father would not have forsaken the Son. By the way, you too…
Praise God there is victory! Ultimate victory is contained in the resurrection of Jesus! It is here where God takes what is meant for evil and uses it for our good! Do you have it?