My thoughts have gravitated to the final words that Jesus uttered from the cross. There are actually seven statements that He made from the cross. But the one that has most intrigued me recently is the one recorded in Matthew 27:46 – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These words are some of the most haunting and profound words that He uttered. When He said them, He had been hanging on the cross for about six hours. It had all started that day at 9:00am. And now it was 3:00pm. For the last three hours, there had been darkness. Even though it was day time, from noon until 3:00pm, “darkness came over all the land” (Matthew 27:45). Suddenly, at 3:00pm, Jesus cried out in Aramaic the words, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,” which in English translates to, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is just moments from death. What did He mean by these words?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, forsaken means “to renounce” or “to turn away from” someone. I believe that when Jesus said, “Why have you forsaken me,” it was not simply because He felt forsaken, it was because in a very literal way God the Father had “turned away from” God the Son. We know from verses like Habakkuk 1:13 that God’s eyes are “too pure to look upon evil.” Since God is holy, He is repulsed by sin.
According to the Bible, when Jesus hung on the cross, He wasn’t dying for any wrongdoing He had done, He was dying for our sins. The apostle Peter wrote, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). When Jesus was hanging on the cross, all your sin and all my sin was placed upon Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” To became “sin for us” tells us that God literally treated Jesus as if He sinned because all our sins were charged against Him, as if He had committed them. Jesus was charged with the full punishment that God says sin deserves, which is death (see Romans 6:23).
When God the Father looked down upon God the Son who hung on the cross, in that moment, the Father didn’t see Jesus, the righteous one, instead He saw Jesus the guilty one. And so, the Father turned away from the Son. That’s why Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The beauty of the gospel is that there is a great exchanged that can happen to those who believe in Jesus. In the same way that our sin could be credited to Jesus, and He paid the penalty for them, God can credit His righteousness to us, when we believe in His Son, and trust Him alone for salvation.
That’s why Good Friday is so good. It has implications for everyone who believes.
If you want to explore more the meaning of Christ’s death, click here.
If you find this devotional from Pastor Bryan Guinness to be an encouragement to you, visit more like this at: www.bryanguinness.com