33And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” — Mark 15:33–39 (ESV)
Have you ever felt forsaken or abandoned? Do you know what it’s like to feel left behind or discarded? Chances are, you do. Maybe you’re feeling that way right now. There may be no worse feeling in the world. We are relational beings, made in the image of the triune God. We were made for friendship, connection, and embrace. Consequently, being forsaken cuts to the very core of what and who we are.
The book of Hebrews teaches us that Jesus is able to sympathize with us because he was made like us (Hebrews 4:15). That means that Jesus fully and completely knows what it is like to be forsaken. If you feel forsaken, Jesus knows exactly what you are going through. When you feel abandoned, be assured, Jesus knows your sorrow.
On the cross, Jesus tasted the full undiluted bitterness of forsakenness as he drank the cup of the Father’s wrath (Luke 22:42-44). He who had enjoyed the glory of being with the Father in eternity past (John 17:5), now, for the first time, became an outsider. Jesus was severely beaten the night before his crucifixion. His beard was pulled out and soldiers spat in his face. A crown of thorns was firmly pressed into his head and nails pierced his hands and his feet. And yet, it was being forsaken that lead him to cry out in anguish to his Father, “Why?”
There was no immediate answer to Jesus’ question. Just silence. That does not mean that the Father did not hear his question or that he did not care about Jesus’ suffering. That does not mean there was no answer. Rather, we must understand that the Father’s silence and the Son’s suffering were necessary. They were necessary for us.
Sin got Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden. Sin always leads to exclusion. Because all of us have sinned, all of us have found ourselves on the outside. In other words, sin is the reason why we are rightly forsaken by God. He is holy and we are not. And yet, on the cross, Jesus was forsaken. Though he was innocent, he was forsaken for our sin. He suffered the horror of forsakenness, that we may never again have to experience it. He was forsaken, that we might be embraced.
Do you feel alone? Do you feel like nobody understands? Do you feel forsaken? Know that Jesus was forsaken for you. He knows what you are going through. And, in the midst of your sorrow, you can be confident that because Jesus was forsaken for you, you will never be forsaken by God.
We bow down to you, King of Life.
Your grace, our life preserver.
Your hope, our anchor.
In our brokenness, we forget that you are our Great High Priest who sympathizes with our weakness. The road seems long and the terrain ominous, with no end in sight.
When our humanness catches up to us, it can feel like a levee of emotions has been breached. We allow ourselves to be swept up by the current of wallowing, sorrow, and despair. The world is too much: too bright, too loud, too jarring, too salty, too sweet. We become like the sensitive tendrils of a fern, recoiling as we are brushed against. Soon we are nearly numb to the torrents and traumas of being human.
We nurse our wounds while watching our world move on without us. The hollow ache of despair taunts us from its throne upon our chest. We writhe in pain while disentangling our identity from our unmet expectations. Fear is an ever-present lump in our throat that we just can’t clear.
On the cross, our Savior drank our loneliness and shame to the dregs. And in its stead, we now lap from the abundant and limitless Fount of Living Water. Praise You! Not only are we not forsaken, but our cherished names are written in heaven and sealed by precious blood.
Thank you, Father: Our hope is not contingent on our potential to endure but upon your ability to bear us up.
Thank you, Father: We are part of a story much bigger than our disposition and desperation.
Thank you, Father: The absence of your voice does not indicate a lack of your presence.
In the throes of our darkest days, your promises sound underwater and a thousand miles away. Pull us out of the gloomy depths and into your arms.
Amidst a wilderness season—years and years of winter—answer our cries, Father. We’re homesick for a place we’ve never seen with our eyes. We are made for a belonging and home that we’ll never find on this side of eternity.
Good Shepherd, sustain our cheer and fix our eyes on heaven as you lead us there, day by day.
Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday
You are invited you to celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday at Coram Deo Church. Good Friday is a unique time of reflecting on the sacrificial death of Jesus, while Resurrection Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Our Good Friday services will be at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. on April 15 while our Resurrection Sunday services will be at 8, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. on April 17.