From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 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 27:45-46 (NIV)
Have you ever felt forsaken, ignored or overlooked by God? We even have a word “godforsaken” that means remote or desolate, as in “Who would ever want to visit that godforsaken place?”
We speak of Good Friday as being “a dark day,” and that is not only figurative, but the Bible tells us a literal darkness fell over the land for about three hours as Jesus hung on the cross and died for the sins of the world.
Jesus, obviously in anguish of mind, body and spirit, cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Many point this to say “Aha! Jesus’ life ended in failure” or “God’s mission ended in disaster.” Some may think Jesus had a crisis of faith in His final hours on earth, and thus those doubters lose faith too.
However, looking at the entirety of Scripture, we see that Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty for our sins that we could never pay ourselves. Much of made of “the cute Baby Jesus in the Manger” at Christmas, but in a theological sense, “Jesus was born to die.”
On that Good Friday, Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself, including for you and me.
Bible teacher Greg Laurie explains it this way. “Now when we say Jesus was forsaken, here’s what we’re saying. As the sin of the world was placed on Christ, the Father, who is holy and cannot look at sin, turned away as he became the recipient of the wrath of God. But because this happened, no one will ever have to think they’ll be forsaken of God from this moment forward who calls out to him. Jesus was simply declaring what was taking place in the given moment. But I want you to notice this was not a crisis of faith on the part of our Lord, he was crying out to the father, also fulfilling scripture from Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Notice it’s my God.”
Have you accepted that sacrifice?