I've been reading along with the guys over at challies.com, we're going through the classic work The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross by A.W. Pink.
This week's chapter is entitled The word of anguish and it deals with Christ being forsaken on the cross, "The very word "forsaken" is one of the most tragic in all human speech." Even in the most lonely times that we experience here in this life, if we're in Christ we'll never have to experience being forsaken of God.
The words "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" marked the climax of Jesus' sufferings, after all of the mockings the crown of thorns after they plucked the hair from his beard and after being humiliated in being stripped naked after having his hands and his feet nailed to the wood, experiencing the vulgar taunts; yet he didn't open his mouth after experiencing all of that he didn't say a word. It wasn't until the concentrated wrath of God fell upon him in full force that Jesus cries "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" as Pink says here, "Surely this is a cry that ought to melt the hardest heart!"
Pink gives us a beautiful yet agonizing picture of Jesus' crucifixion, the separation and alienation of his Father. I loved what Pink says here concerning the basis of our salvation, "Our sins have been borne. God's claims against us have been fully met. Christ was forsaken of God for a season that we might enjoy his presence forever. "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" Let every believing soul make answer: He entered the awful darkness that I might walk in the light; He drank the cup of woe that I might drink the cup of joy; He was forsaken that I might be forgiven!" What amazing love! what an incredible thing that Jesus has done in becoming sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God! (2 Cor. 5:21) Truly amazing.
Later on in the chapter Pink goes on to talk about the substitution of Christ for us in becoming sin for us and taking the full wrath of God in our place. " But the greatness of Christ's love can be estimated only when we are able to measure what was involved in the "laying down" of his love. As we have seen, it meant much more than physical death, even though that be of unspeakable shame and indescribable suffering. It meant that He take our place and be "made sin" for us."
Only in measuring the love of God against the wrath of God do we begin to see just how much Jesus loved us to endure utter abandonment from his Father for us. There was a total abhorrence to sin, it was loathed by God yet he chose to have our sins and iniquities laid upon him. Why did Jesus willingly endure such suffering? as Pink again states so well, "Why? Because He loved us."
I long to know my saviour even more, Thank you Jesus for what you endured for me.