Tuesday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:45-49; Mark 15:33-36

Forsaken So We Wouldn’t Have To Be

There are no words that should break the Christian’s heart more than these words spoken by our Lord on the cross just before his death: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  He is quoting from Psalm 22, written so many centuries before, which prophesied the people mocking, wagging their heads and saying, “He trusts in the Lord, let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him” (22:7-8; compare: Matthew 27:43; Mark 15:29).  The psalm even prophesies the type of death Jesus would die (“they have pierced my hands and my feet,” 22:16) centuries before the founding of Rome and the method of crucifixion was ever imagined!  At any rate, the psalm is one in which David expresses his complaint that he is surrounded by enemies who wish him harm, but in which at the end he expresses his faith that God will deliver him, that he shall praise His name yet again, and that the ends of the earth shall turn to the Lord.

But the psalm begins with this cry of forsakenness, a forsakenness which Jesus keenly felt.  His entire earthly life he lived in perfect fellowship with the Father, a fellowship we would have experienced had we not sinned in the Garden.  Indeed, his fellowship with the Father was still closer because of his union with Him in his divine nature, and his being filled with the Holy Spirit (without measure) in his human nature.  Our Lord walked with the Father in a way that even Adam and Eve could not experience in their pre-fallen state.  But here on the cross, we hear this cry of dereliction, of utter abandonment, from our Lord’s lips.  Why?  Because he was forsaken and abandoned by his Father while on the cross.  And why was that?  Because he took our sins upon himself.  You see, ultimately, it was not the cross that killed Jesus.  Jesus said himself, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).  Because Jesus never sinned, he could not die, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  But he took our sins upon himself as the Lamb of God.  In so doing, “[God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  But in taking our sins upon himself (Isaiah 53:6), he experienced God’s wrath for us (1 John 4:10), and was separated from the Father on our account, as sin must separate the sinner from holy God (Isaiah 59:2; Habakkuk 1:13).  And as our sins were laid upon him, in that moment, utter forsakenness from the One to whom he was perfectly united in love, broke his heart and killed him.  He was forsaken of God so that we would never have to be.  Such is the measure of our sin.  But such also is the measure of God’s love for us.  You are so loved by God!  Weep and rejoice.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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