During this Lent season, many are asking about the meaning of Matthew 27:46 “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?”).”
Was Jesus forsaken by the Father?
Already, many shared their take on this verse and it is appropriate at this time to review them. The late Billy Graham said, “And in that moment He was banished from the presence of God, for sin cannot exist in God’s presence. His cry speaks of this truth; He endured the separation from God that you and I deserve”
Another take on the subject is contrary, viz. “No, God did not forsake His Son,”
And others have their various understanding on the subject with reasons behind it.
Considering all the reasons for which well-known preachers based their interpretations, they all come down to these facts:
1. Sin separates us from God. Verses to ponder:
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9 – “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Isaiah 53:6 – “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Matthew 25:41 – “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”John 3:3 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”.
Acts 17:30 – “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”
John 3:36 – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
2. Jesus was accounted as the chosen man to represent humanity and to whom the consequence of sin (death) will be imputed for our reconciliation with the Father. He is the “sweet savor/aroma/fragrant offering that the Father required. Verses to ponder:
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Romans 5:12-21 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification”
Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
2 Corinthians 2:15 “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,”
. Genesis 8:21 “And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done” (Here is a projection into the future, that God choses who will be saved at their own time.)
3. Jesus will not be forsaken forever but will be remembered as promised. Verses to ponder:
Isaiah 49:15-16: “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”
Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Taking all verses into consideration , it becomes clear that the controversy about whether Jesus was forsaken by the Father or not, depends on time-duration, i.e., whether it is “temporary or permanent”. Theologians on either side of this issue are both correct although context was missing. Truly, sin separates us from God, who had forsaken us , although temporarily as planned and not permanently. Since Jesus “bore our sins” to die as a consequence thereof, the Father likewise had to forsake him at the cross to fulfill the death of the Passover Lamb for humanity.
Be that as it was, God remembered, as planned, the promises projected from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc to his promise to Jesus before the foundation of the world. Our reconciliation by the death of Jesus, and his resurrection to life fulfilled those promises.
And, this promise included giving him the gift of the Holy Spirit that will empower him for our “ongoing creation”. As Jesus was resurrected to eternal life, we will also be at “time-appointed” predestined as to our promised “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”.
Original post: April 8, 2020 Crucifixion day till sunset and before the Passover meal
Please tap the hyperlink for references.
Critique is welcome