My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
The thing that is glaringly striking to me from this passage is that for the first and last time Jesus addresses his Father, not as Father, but God. As all the wrath of God for sin is heaped on him and the Father turns away; at that moment the intimacy is gone as Jesus takes all our sin on Himself.
The wrath of God is an uncomfortable thought for many of us because He is a good God, a God of love. Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf explains how he grasped the goodness of God’s wrath…
I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God. Isn’t God love? Shouldn’t divine love be beyond wrath? God is love, and God loves every person and every creature. That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry. Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days! How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandparently fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators basic goodness? Wasn’t God fiercely angry with them? Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.
Jesus cry to “My God” rather than his normal “Abba” was the turning point of all history. In that moment of Jesus’ death, Satan must have thought he had won. But at the same time the temple curtain was torn in two from top and bottom. Access to the loving Father is now freely available to all. Satan has not won, he has ironically just been made a spectacle of, disarmed (Col 2:15), to give us the freedom we so desperately need.
Father thank you that you will never forsake us or leave us because of your precious Son Jesus. Precious Spirit open our eyes more and more to the revelation of your goodness and love for us. Thank you that your wrath for our sin has gone, once and for all, in Jesus’ name. Amen.