“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
(Mark 15:34).

All eyes focus on the center cross. It is clear the end is near. Jesus is at the point of death. Whatever happened in those three hours of darkness has brought him to death’s door. His strength is nearly gone, the struggle almost over. His chest heaves with every breath, his moans now are only whispers. Instinctively the crowd pushes closer to watch his last moments.

Suddenly he screams. Only four words, but they come out in a guttural roar. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” The words (a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic) form a question that echoes across Skull Hill and drifts across the road. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The story is told that the great Martin Luther was studying this text one day. For hours he sat and stared at the text. He said nothing, he wrote nothing, but silently pondered these words of Jesus.  Suddenly he stood up and exclaimed, “God forsaken by God. How can it be?

When God looked down and saw his Son bearing the sin of the world, he didn’t see his Son, he saw instead the sin that he was bearing. And in that awful moment, the Father turned away. Not in anger at his Son. No, he loved his Son as much at that moment as he ever had. He turned away in anger over all the sin of the world that sent his Son to the cross. He turned away in sorrow and deepest pain when he saw what sin had done. He turned away in complete revulsion at the ugliness of sin.

When he did that, Jesus was alone. Completely forsaken. God-forsaken. Abandoned. Deserted. Disowned. 

This cry from the cross is for all the lonely people of the world. It is for the abandoned child . . . the widow. . . the divorcee struggling to make ends meet . . . the mother standing over the bed of her suffering daughter . . . the father out of work . . . the parents left alone . . . the prisoner in his cell . . . the aged who languish in convalescent homes . . . wives abandoned by their husbands . . . singles who celebrate their birthdays alone.   

This is the word from the cross for you. No one has ever been as alone as Jesus was. You will never be forsaken as he was. No cry of your pain can exceed the cry of his pain when God turned his back and looked the other way. 

            —He was forsaken that you might never be forsaken.
            —He was abandoned that you might never be abandoned.
            —He was deserted that you might never be deserted.
            —He was forgotten that you might never be forgotten.

Those who trust him will never be disappointed, in this life or in the life to come.

Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Amen.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.