He Knew

My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? And why art Thou so far from helping Me...?

Psalms 22:1, KJV

 

When I was younger I thought that the worst thing about Jesus' crucifixion was the actual dying and the pain associated with His death. Then I began to think of the attempts to humiliate Jesus with everything ranging from wicked men spitting on Hus face, to His hanging on the cross while men more wicked still came by and mocked Him. 

 

But as I have contemplated the situation, I wonder now if the worst part wasn't the part we read about above: Being forsaken by His Father! Think about that for a moment. Jesus, Who was with God at the beginning when all was created. Jesus, Who left heaven to come to this world to rescue sinful men, but Who always had the privilege of praying to Him at any time. Jesus, Who knew that God was always watching and always aware of Him and prepared to render assistance needed through any trial. But at that point of His greatest need, Jesus was forsaken by God and was left all alone.

 

Why?

 

It is a thought so terrible that at least one song that has been in our hymnals from the time before I was born contains the line, "forsaken not by His God". Maybe we sing that to soothe our consciences from the depth of His pain, but we shouldn't. We shouldn't sing it or think that thought because it simply isn't true. Jesus was forsaken by God and He not only spoke the words of this truth, but it was prophesied by the psalmist some thousand years before it happened. In other words, Jesus knew that this moment would eventually come. He knew that God would turn His back upon Him because it was prophesied, and that everything written about Him must be fulfilled. He knew!

 

But why did God forsake Jesus at His time of greatest need?

 

The answer to that, I believe, reveals the depth of Christ's sacrifice. Jesus would have to be forsaken by God because He carried our sins upon Himself on the cross, and sin separates us from God. So for those six terrible hours on the cross, Jesus was alone. And just as the pain and humiliation He was subjected to was a direct result of our sins, so too was the most horrific part of that day: He was forsaken by God because of my sins and yours. And He knew this would happen and He went through it anyway. I wonder now if this was at least part of the reason for His request in the garden that this cup might pass from Him.

 

Before Jesus died He told His disciples, "Greater love has no man than this: That he lay down his life for his friends". And His willingness to go through the forsaking by His Father was perhaps the greatest part of this ultimate display of love. Don't you think that this greatest act of love ever made - and it most certainly is when you realize that it was combined with God's great love for us in allowing His only begotten Son to go through it for us - deserves a life of great love in return? And we owe this debt because God was willing to forsake His dearly loved Son on that day so He wouldn't have to forsake us on the final Day.

 

Perhaps it's something that we should think about more often.