Have you ever been forgotten? I can remember when I was a little boy and I was waiting outside the school for my mother to come and pick me up. We lived within walking distance, (all the kids did then) but I was too young to walk home by myself. This one afternoon, I waited outside the school with the other kids to be picked up, as we normally did. However, as all the other kids left for home, Mom was not there. It started getting later and before long, I was alone. It was beginning to drizzle and windy and cold, and like any normal 9 year old, I started to panic. “Where was she?”
When this happens to you, the worry travels from your brain to your body. A visceral reaction happens when we are afraid. Your hands get sweaty and your knees feel weak… your breath gets a bit quicker and becomes shallow – there’s a knot that starts in your stomach…and it rises up to the back of your throat. You want to cry, but you cannot. After all, you cannot cry, can you? Because once you cry, there is nowhere left to go… It means that you have given up once you cry. Therefore, you just keep blinking back the tears.
The environment around you begins to change… Every sound becomes a threat. Then suddenly, something happens… and all the fear, the frustration, anger, worry all well up, and you let the tears flow! If you’ve ever seen a child in that state, they don’t whimper… they cry out loud… deep wailing cries… maybe someone will hear them… maybe someone will come to help if they can just be heard. However, a child is not calling out for just “someone.” That call that comes from deep within is for a specific person… for me it was my Mom.
We read in Matthew 27:46 “At three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
For years, many have taught the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. They would come to the fourth saying and the words of Jesus, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Most used the text as evidence the Father had in fact turned His back on His own Son when Jesus was on the cross. “After all that is what he said isn’t it?
The answer is, No that is not what He said. That is what He asked. There is a huge difference between making an assertion and asking a question.
Then are we to say Jesus was wrong in asking the question no, remember it is Jesus the MAN in this hour who became our sin bearer. When he absorbed the darkness and weight of the sin of the world into Himself, He had the sense of abandonment by God the Father sin always brings with it fear and feelings of isolation and abandonment. Blinded by sin and horrified by its effect on and in Him, the Man Jesus cried out of His humanity, “Why have you forsaken me?” Interestingly there is no indication that the Spirit of God had forsaken him. Only that he felt like he had been forsaken God the Father forsaking His own Son? Impossible! God the Father was “in Christ, and in that hour He was in the process of reconciling the world to Himself!” (2 Corinthians 5:19) Jesus did not feel it at the time. It seemed like the Father had forsaken Him, but the fact is He had not forsaken Him, He has Not Hidden His Face, nor has He or will he ever Turn his Back on His children.
The question Jesus spoke was a direct quote from the prophetic Psalm 22, where in the very first verse the psalmist asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It is noteworthy that this is the only time Jesus ever called His Father “God” and not “Father.” In that moment, the Man Jesus felt forsaken. Having taken our place on the cross, He could not feel, sense, or see His Father’s embrace at that moment. Sin may deafen our ears to the answer, but the reality is that the Father has never and will never despise, disdain or turn His face away from us, forsaking us. He has hears our cry for help!
Although, you cannot quite make out the shadowy figure coming toward you to rescue you from your abyss… there is a revelation of a desperate faith; a radical faith. A faith that not just remembers the one you’re crying for, but a faith that reminds the one to whom you cry out, that there is a real relationship involved here… a relationship that has been, seemingly for the moment, abandoned; forgotten. This is an intimate relationship between the two of you one that holds a history of steadfastness that and is now being called into account.
For the child left outside alone, it is the crying out… “Why did you forget about me? Come get me! You are my Mom, my Dad! You have always been the one who has been here to rescue me so get here NOW! I cannot wait any longer! I’ve had enough!”