2016-3-25 Good Friday My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

First United Methodist Church                                                      Friday noon
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                          March 25, 2016

“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”
Text: Mark 15:34

By this point in the Gospel narrative, Jesus has suffered much.  He suffered the sorrow of Gethsemane, where His soul was sorrowful unto death.  He suffered the betrayal of Judas Iscariot—one who shared bread at His table.  He suffered gross miscarriage of human justice in the sham of a trial that we read in the Gospel record.  He suffered the abuses of sinful men: their words, blows, thorns, and scourging, to name but four.  He suffered the agony of the Cross—an unspeakably painful and barbaric execution reserved for the perceived offscourin of the Roman world.  Now, He has hung on the Cross for six hours—and that after all the previous sufferings.

Now we arrive at the nadir of His suffering—out of which depth our great Savior cries, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  This forsakenness by God, even when compared to the previous agonies, pains Him most of all.  To this instant Jesus has known nothing but unbroken, inexpressibly intimacy with the Father—and that from eternity past.  Now He finds Himself forsaken of God.  Jesus is forsaken here in fulfillment of David’s cry (Psalm 22:1).  Jesus, being made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), necessarily is forsaken.  Therefore, Jesus bears the agonies of His atoning work bereft of divine communion.  He bears the excruciating physical agony of the Cross all alone.  He bears the loathsomeness of sin accruing to and permeating Him without recourse from on high.  He bears the horror of the demonic horde, and its onslaught, without Heavenly aid.  This Jesus does—and even in the doing, bereft of every sensible sense of God, He yet cries, “My God, My God…,” thus maintaining His trust in His Father.  This He does with neither outward evidence nor outward encouragement—and this He does to the physical death.

Jesus’ forsakenness, happily for us, occurred not in vain.  In fact, it accomplishes much for us.  God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, in order that in Him we may be the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Because Jesus, being made sin for us, was forsaken of God, we who are in Christ shall never know what it is to be forsaken of God.  We shall never know what it is to have body battered and blood spilled to atone for sin.  Because Jesus was forsaken, we shall never know what it is to face life and eternity without God.  By God’s grace, then, may we be found in His precious Son, Jesus Christ—forsaken for God’s glory and our sakes.