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And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Mark 15:34

Forsaken. It’s a word that doesn’t come up in casual conversation. Forsaken. Just the sound of it conjures up a barren and empty wasteland, with perhaps only a tumbleweed passing by. Forsaken. The word a heartbroken woman uses after a bad breakup. 

Webster’s Dictionary tells us the meaning of "forsaken" is: To turn away from with no intention of turning back. 

No intention of turning back.

As He hung on the cross, Jesus cried out the words “My God, why have you forsaken me?” On that good and terrible Friday, God the Father turned His face away from Jesus His Son.

For the first time in an eternity, perfect communion amid the Godhead was broken. Never before had God turned away. 

Why did this happen? How could God turn from His only Son?

He turned away because a holy God cannot be in the presence of sin. At that moment on the cross, Jesus took on our sin and guilt. Like a garment without seams He covered himself with our transgressions. And the Father poured out His wrath on His Son. 

Jesus felt the full weight of what our sins had wrought. As He hung on the cross, our sins were imputed to Him. They were laid across His shoulders, and He paid their cost. Part of that cost was the Father turning away. Jesus, in response, in anguish, cries out the first words of a Psalm written about Himself.

This cry, this loud exclamation brings us hope. For as Jesus took on our sins, as He fully paid our debt, He made it possible for us to take on His holiness. We need no longer be clothed in the grime of guilt or the filth of faithlessness. We can now be robed in righteousness. 

By enduring the cross, and the pain of being forsaken by God, Jesus guaranteed that none of us would ever need to cry “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabacthani - My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” We do not need to fear abandonment by God, for He has promised “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6) 

Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and His rising again on Easter sealed God’s promise to you.