Pastor Sean Willman
Good Shepherd Pleasant Prairie
30 March 2018
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted: they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued: in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”
When we contemplate our Lord Jesus Christ’s passion as we do this day we are drawn to consider the physical pain and suffering He endured for us, because of us. Who can look upon the cross of Christ and not see the nails driven through His hands and feet, the spear thrust into His side, the crown of thorns pressed into His brow, the slashes whipped into His back, the nakedness and shame displayed for all to see? And which of us can look upon this great suffering and death and not see their own sins? No, the curse of the fall which Christ bore for you in His passion is indeed on full display.
Of course you bear this same curse in your flesh. Which of you hasn’t suffered for your own sins? Which of you hasn’t felt the sting of pain and death in their flesh and known that this is indeed the very just result of your own sin? You too have your own physical, mental, and emotional scars wrought by your sin and the sin of world in which you live. Christ, though, suffers unjustly. He has committed no sin. He wasn’t conceived in sin, nor has He in His flesh sinned. So He bears the curse of the fall for your sins. But His suffering goes beyond that which we might see with our eyes. Christ’s suffering and bearing the curse of the fall for you isn’t only the external pains of death He feels as the penalty of your sin, but He feels the very wrath of God poured out upon Him as He is forsaken by His own Father.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” What does it mean that Christ is forsaken by the Father? It means that He is left to suffer. The Father doesn’t rush in to save His only-begotten Son, but instead leaves Him there upon the cross. There was no saving the Christ from the cross. There was no rest, or deliverance from His suffering. There couldn’t be. Not if we were to be spared. If the Father was to spare us from eternal death and suffering, He had to leave His Son there upon the cross. He had to forsake His Son that you wouldn’t be forsaken.
That is, your sins had to be paid for. Our God is a just and righteous God. The curse for sin that He proclaimed to Adam and you and all creation, He doesn’t simply wipe away and forget. Instead, your sins must be atoned for. And Christ is the one who does it, by His cross. He was there punished for your sins. He bore your sins in His flesh and faced the wrath of God for them. And was finally He forsaken by His Father. In this is divine justice and finally peace.
In Christ, God is at peace with us because God’s anger against our sin has already been poured out on Jesus. Jesus has been forsaken and God cannot forsake those who put their trust in Jesus. For Jesus has already been forsaken and in this has already removed God’s anger. He has achieved peace by meeting the demands of divine justice fully, finally, and for everyone in His suffering and death.
“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted: they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued: in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” When a Christian cries out to God for rescue from their sin, they do so in the name of their crucified and forsaken Savior, Jesus Christ. When you see your sins and the pain and suffering you face because of them and you cry out to God to deliver you, you will not be put to shame. Never. God will never forsake you. He will never leave you to face His wrath and anger over sin, because Jesus has already done it for you. And if Jesus was already forsaken for your sin, then you never will be.