“On Your Mark”
The Death (Chapter 15 Verses 33-41)
The darkness which is supernatural, symbolises judgment (v33), something which takes place in the Saviour himself and brings from him this agonising cry (v34). And that judgment is the answer to his question, why? He is forsaken because the sin of every one of God’s chosen loved ones has been laid upon him on that cross. Such a dereliction none has ever known. I recall some years ago a lady writing to me. She said that she had helped her husband build up his business and when it began to bear fruit he ditched her. She then continued to raise his children, she worked hard to clothe and feed them, and when they became teenagers they realised their father’s wealth and decided to ditch mother and go and live with their father. That is the point at which she wrote to me. In a dreadfully stricken condition she said, “Jim, I feel I have been forsaken, even by God”. I could well understand. It is an awful thing for a human being to be forsaken by another, but the worst thing that can happen to any man or woman is to be forsaken by God, there is no fate worse. But I ask you, for the Son of God, for him to be forsaken by his Father? What a dereliction? Notice he does not, for the very first time, call him his Father, but “my God”, in faith he clings to that fact, on the cross.
The death of Jesus (v37) spells the death of death for God’s people (Hebrews 2.9; 14-15), here is the just desert of sin, every sin, separation from God (Isaiah 59.2). Here burns a fire hotter than any furnace, even heated seven times (Daniel 3.19). Think if you had to endure your finger in a fire for just one minute, well you could not bear it, could you? The sinless Son of God here bears the eternal fire of hell that was due to your sin and mine, every drop of it he makes satisfaction for. Why is he forsaken? So that we as Christians might never be forsaken, his abandonment is sanctified to us. Every time God hides his face from you it is lined with grace, it is designed to make you love and prize more that divine presence when you have it. It is designed to make you draw closer, to fill your heart with longing, with desire, it is sanctified. There can never be a permanent separation for any of God’s people, because he forsook his Son in that darkness, he can never, never, forsake one of his own (Romans 8.35-39; Hebrews 13.5b). It was all dealt with here in the death of Jesus, such was the fullness, the completeness of his saving work. He forsook Jesus, so he cannot forsake you!
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)