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March 21, 2014

The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus on the Cross – Part 4

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27:46 (NIV)

Perhaps the most dramatic words Jesus spoke from the cross are these, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” You can almost feel the mental and emotional anguish in those words. Why? Why have you left me now? Anyone who has ever experienced abandonment can relate. This was the central moment on the cross. It is the fourth of seven final statements. Isaiah 53 tells us that the Lord had laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all. He took upon Himself the sins of humanity that caused the first breach in fellowship with His Father who was too holy to behold iniquity. And it’s filled with questions. While we could never imagine the depth of Jesus’ pain, we’ve all had times when we felt forsaken, even God forsaken and wondered, “Why, God?” In those moments, remember you have a Savior who has been there. Jesus understands the despair you feel and taught us a lesson about grace that will keep us from falling. Grace means taking my tough questions to God. God is big enough to handle them.  It’s ok to cry out to God and ask why. In fact, it’s the healthiest thing you can do in your darkest hours. In those moments, your greatest need is for God Himself, even more than answers. You need His presence, His assurance, His love. Although He may seem absent, He is not far away. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us. Yet, there are times He may withdraw His conscious presence, and we feel abandoned.  Where is He? Job certainly felt that way in his trials. As he searched for God, Job complained, “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:8-10 (NIV) Wow! While grace teaches us to take our tough questions to God, faith leans on His promises. God knows, and God cares.