“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Matthew 27:46).
This fourth statement from the cross is the very core of our redemption. It is the very essence of the Christian faith. If you miss this, you miss everything.
Had the Father not turned His back on the Son, had the Father not abandoned the Son at that moment, we could never be sure that the Son actually carried our sin and our judgment on the cross.
This is the most surprising statement of all those Christ made from the cross. In fact, it is downright confusing to many people. Here the word forsaken literally means “to leave someone in a lurch, to abandon someone completely.” How can the Father abandon His Son who coexisted with Him in perfect unity for eternity? The Father and the Son were always one unit. Why would He abandon His Son now?
Make no mistake about it, He did abandon Him. Why? It was for you. It was for me. It was for our redemption. It was for our forgiveness—so that we could live forever.
In Jesus’ most desperate moment, He could not turn to God as His Abba Father with whom He had always had the most perfect, intimate relationship of love. Instead, He faced God the Father as just Judge of all the sin of the world that Christ bore for us on the cross. God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32).
Prayer: Father, I am humbled to think that You would forsake Your Son to redeem me. Thank You for the reminder of the incredible cost of my sin. Help me to live a life of gratitude for Your love and forgiveness. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1).