Have you ever wondered if Jesus knows what it feels like to be you? This is a question I have found myself wrestling with when life gets particularly tough. Have you ever been in those seasons where you feel forgotten by God? Where you feel like all your attempts to connect with Him are falling on deaf ears? This is a common enough feeling we have a term for it: God forsaken.
But did you know Jesus knows exactly how you feel? Well, not exactly. I mean, yes, He knows what it means to feel like God has forgotten you. As He hung on the cross, dying for the sins of mankind, we hear Jesus cry out in desperation- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Some have actually concluded based on this verse Jesus wasn't God, but actually was just a man who, in this moment, is surprised by what feels like God completely abandoning Him. But that's not what's happening here. And this is why I said Jesus doesn't know exactly how you feel.
You see, in our limited and finite perspective, in these seasons of doubt, we do feel shocked, surprised and abandoned. But Jesus isn't shocked or surprised at all. Over and over He predicted His death. In the garden, he prayed and wept, asking God if there was any other way. He knew what was coming.
Jesus is not surprised, but He does feel God-forsaken. Why? Because in that moment, for the first time, He is. As the song says, "How dark was the hour when all Heaven turned its face away from you." Why did it get dark for three hours in the middle of the day? Because the Father turned His face away from His son.
Why? Why would God do this? We can read about why in Isaiah 53. He took up our weaknesses. He carried our sorrows. He was pierced for our mistakes. He was crushed for our sins. He took our punishment. Why did God forsake Jesus? Because He took our place.
This is known as penal substitutionary atonement. Penal = He took the penalty you deserved. Atonement= The payment to make you at one with God again. Substitution- He took our place.
Jesus became God forsaken...for you.
But let's be abundantly clear. Let's make sure we have one thing straight. It's really you who doesn't know how Jesus feels. You may, at times, feel God forsaken, but you're not. You never have been and you never will be. Jesus took that to the cross for you. On the cross, Jesus was forsaken so that you never have to be.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NLT)
If you are in a season right now where you are feeling God forsaken, we are here. Please contact us and let us know. We would love to find a Pastor to meet with you. CLICK HERE to submit a prayer request and know that you are not alone.