“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” The words gushed from the lips of the beaten man like blood from a severed artery. He voiced a pang of loneliness sharper, deeper, and more devastating than any other human being has ever felt, before or since. Many of the witnesses could not understand what he had said, so distorted was his voice by his anguish. Those who did understand his words were dumbfounded that he, of all people, was speaking such things.
Hadn’t he said that God was his Father? Wasn’t he the one who had told them how God cared for the birds and the flowers, how he knew the number of hairs on each person’s head? Not even one sparrow falls to the ground without his Father knowing it — that’s what he had said. How then could he, the Teacher, be forsaken by this same God?
Wasn’t he the one who overflowed with joy and kindness? Wasn’t he the one who healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the oppressed? Wasn’t he the one who had more joy, and more compassion, than anyone else? Yes, he was the one who always cared, always trusted, always loved. He was the righteous one. How then could he end up like this?
The sleepless night had taken its toll on him: betrayed by a trusted companion, deserted by all his friends, disowned repeatedly by one who claimed to love him most. He had been mocked and tormented by his enemies, spat upon, battered beyond recognition. He didn’t even look like a man anymore. His back was raw from a cruel flogging, his face pounded until it was a bloody and swollen mass, all the hairs of his beard pulled out. Men could not bear to look at him, so horrible was the sight.
And yet, throughout all of this, throughout even the six hours of hanging on a cross, being further mocked and taunted, he had kept his peace. He hadn’t opened his mouth against his oppressors, but rather prayed for their forgiveness. The composure and dignity of this man had been enough to make his executioner comment that surely this was God’s son.
Suddenly, however, the intimate bond with his Father that he had known all his life was gone. Loneliness engulfed him. What a night and a day of steady abuse had not accomplished, that one moment of alienation from his Father did. Within minutes he was dead from a broken heart.
What had caused God to forsake him? Our sin. He took the blame for all our selfish, rebellious deeds upon himself. The weight of all our guilt plunged his soul into death. The stark and thorough separation he felt was the sum of the rejection we all deserved for our willful defiance toward our Creator. We deserved to be rejected forever.
But after three days and nights he was suddenly alive again. Why? Because there was absolutely no resistance in him. In that short time his submissive soul received the wages our sins deserved — all of us. That is the measure of his love for us. He experienced the death that we deserved in order that we could experience the life he had always known — an intimate life of love. That is why we follow him, the one who has promised never to forsake us — our Master Yahshua.