These words, spoken by Jesus about the ninth hour as He hung on the cross, are recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.
I was reminded of the words of Christ as I read these words from the book of Jeremiah:
“Thou hast forsaken Me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out My hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting” (Jer. 15:6).
God was pronouncing judgment upon Jerusalem because of their continual sin and rebellion. The words, “Thou hast forsaken Me,” reminded me of the words of Christ on the Cross (Matt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34). I realized that this passage, and others like it, held the answer to Christ’s question.
“Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
The Answer to Christ’s Question
The history of Israel and Judah was one of repeated backsliding and sin. Sometimes there were short periods of revival when God judged His people, and they repented from their sin and begged for God’s mercy. But Jeremiah was living in evil times. God had already destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel because of their persistent sin and apostasy. Now God was judging the southern kingdom of Judah.
Judah had become extremely wicked and idolatrous during the 52-year reign of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah. Manasseh was a wicked king who committed great evil and turned the people away from their God. There was no repentance and revival in response to Jeremiah’s preaching. The people had turned their backs on God.
Their sin had become so bad that God told Jeremiah not to pray for them (Jer. 14:10-12). Jeremiah tried to intercede (Jer. 14:19-22), but it was to late. The people had been too wicked for too long. God’s patience had run out. It was time for their punishment.
After Jeremiah’s prayer, God told him that even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Him interceding for these people (as they had during their lifetimes) God would NOT spare them. God’s mind was made up. The time for mercy was past. It was now time for judgment (Jer. 15:1).
God was tired of relenting from judgment and showing mercy to a nation that kept returning to their sin. God’s chosen people had forsaken Him. Now He would abandon them to the destruction they deserved (Jer. 15:6).
How This Applies to Jesus
What, you may ask, does this story about Jeremiah and the judgment of Judah have to do with God forsaking Jesus?
This story demonstrates the consequences of unrepentant sin. There is a limit to God’s patience and mercy. Those who persist in forsaking God will be forsaken by God.
Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Everyone goes astray. Everyone turns their back on God and goes their own way. So we all deserve to be judged like the nation of Judah.
While Jesus hung on the cross being crucified, He was paying for the sins of all people. He was paying for the sins of all who had gone astray and forsaken God. God was laying the consequences of all our iniquity upon His Son.
Those who persist in forsaking God will be forsaken by God.
Because the penalty for forsaking God includes being forsaken by God, Jesus had to be forsaken by His Heavenly Father in order to pay the full consequences of our sin.
Jesus, the Son, was forsaken by God, the Father, while He hung on the cross to pay the penalty of all who forsake God. So those who place their faith in Christ could be spared the penalty of being forsaken by God.
But those who reject God’s gift of salvation through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross will be forsaken by God in Hell for eternity!
Those who persist in forsaking God in this life will be forsaken by God in the afterlife, for all eternity!
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