For six excruciating hours on the first Good Friday, Jesus hung on a cross at Calvary, as payment for our sins. In three of those hours the world was plunged into darkness, as God the Father withdrew Himself from the sufferings of His Son.
The fourth of seven times Jesus spoke from the cross, the Bible says, He asked God why He had been forsaken. And if we go no deeper than the English translation of the Gospels, that leaves us with an apparent contradiction from the rest of Scripture, which teaches that God will never forsake us. Thankfully, God is bigger than translators can capture!
Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and he now declares us flawless in his eyes. This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us. Our faith guarantees us permanent access into this marvelous kindness that has given us a perfect relationship with God. What incredible joy bursts forth within us as we keep on celebrating our hope of experiencing God’s glory!
"But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
"For when the time was right, the Anointed One came and died to demonstrate his love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak, and powerless to save themselves.
"Now, who of us would dare to die for the sake of a wicked person? We can all understand if someone was willing to die for a truly noble person. But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly!
"And there is still much more to say of his unfailing love for us! For through the blood of Jesus we have heard the powerful declaration, 'You are now righteous in my sight.' And because of the sacrifice of Jesus, you will never experience the wrath of God. So if while we were still enemies, God fully reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son, then something greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, and because we share in his resurrection life, how much more we will be rescued from sin’s dominion!
"And even more than that, we overflow with triumphant joy in our new relationship of living in harmony with God—all because of Jesus Christ!”(TPT).
"For three hours, beginning at noon, darkness came over the earth. And at three o’clock Jesus shouted with a mighty voice in Aramaic, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?'—that is, 'My God, My God, why have you deserted me?' Some who were standing near the cross misunderstood and said, 'He’s calling for Elijah.' One bystander ran and got a sponge, soaked it with sour wine, then put it on a stick and held it up for Jesus to drink. But the rest said, 'Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah comes to rescue him.'
"Jesus passionately cried out, took his last breath, and gave up his spirit.
"At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook violently, rocks were split apart, and graves were opened. Then many of the holy ones who had died were brought back to life and came out of their graves. And after Jesus’s resurrection, they were plainly seen by many people walking in Jerusalem.
"Now, when the Roman military officer and his soldiers witnessed what was happening and felt the powerful earthquake, they were extremely terrified. They said, There is no doubt, this man was the Son of God!'” (TPT).
"God, my God!
Why would you abandon me now?
Why do you remain distant,
refusing to answer my tearful cries in the day
and my desperate cries for your help in the night?
I can’t stop sobbing.
Where are you, my God?
Yet I know that you are most holy; it’s indisputable.
You are God-Enthroned, surrounded with songs,
living among the shouts of praise of your princely people.
Our fathers’ faith was in you—
through the generations they trusted and believed in you
and you came through.
Every time they cried out to you in their despair,
you were faithful to deliver them;
you didn’t disappoint them.
But look at me now; I am like a woeful worm,
crushed, and I’m bleeding crimson.
I don’t even look like a man anymore.
I’ve been abused, despised, and scorned by everyone!
Mocked by their jeers, despised with their sneers,
as all the people poke fun at me, spitting their insults,
saying, 'Is this the one who trusted in God?
Is this the one who claims God is pleased with him?
Now let’s see if your God will come to your rescue!
We’ll just see how much he delights in you!'
Lord, you delivered me safely from my mother’s womb.
You are the one who cared for me ever since I was a baby.
Since the day I was born, I’ve been placed in your custody.
You’ve cradled me throughout my days.
I’ve trusted in you and you’ve always been my God.
So don’t leave me now; stay close to me!
For trouble is all around me and there’s no one else to help me" (TPT).
Jesus did not accuse God the Father of forsaking Him on the cross on the first Good Friday.
Was Jesus quoting Ps 22:1 hanging on the tree? Consider, Jesus spoke neither Greek, which was the first original translation of the Gospel of Matthew, nor did he speak the King’s English. He spoke a street level dialect of Aramaic.
Had he spoken on the cross, a quote of Ps 22 – he would have spoken it in Hebrew. He would not have spoken it in Greek. But He spoke it in Aramaic.
Believe it or not – there are a few times when translators miss the mark. When translated from the Aramaic into English it takes on a completely different meaning. The idea that God would forsake and abandon his Son in the midst of his sacrifice runs contrary to every other scripture we could consider.
Nothing else in Scripture supports the idea that God abandons us when we are at our worst!
The whole thing hinges on one Greek word that is used and translated in the New Testament in two ways:
Translated “separated from,” or "Why have you forsaken me?"
But in the majority of cases, it is translated "separated unto," meaning "for this purpose I was born."
So an accurate translation from Aramaic to English would be "My God, My God, for this have you spared me, this is my destiny – for this cause I was born!"
Rejoice today that you are not forsaken by God, at any time!