Forsaken?

The Assignment: To convince someone that God did not forsake Jesus on the cross.

Since I went to the trouble of putting this together, I thought that I would post it here too. It is a compilation of Scripture regarding the reconciliation that was accomplished through Christ’s death on the cross.

I’m not sure the person I prepared this for is persuadable, but, you never know.

(Headings and underlines were added.)

The Plan From the Beginning

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Ephesians 1:3-10 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

II Tim. 1:9-10 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The Relationship of the Father and the Son

John 10:30 I and My Father are one.

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

John 10:37-38 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

John 8:29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.

John 11:41-42 And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Fulfillment of the Plan

Matthew 26:53-54 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

John 12:27-28 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”

John 16:32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,

John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Lament and Deliverance

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 which the people would have recognized as a psalm of lament and deliverance.)

Psalm 22:1,24 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.

I Peter 3:18-19 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison.

Reconciliation

II Cor. 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Ephesians 2:16 and that He might reconcile them to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Col. 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

Now I pray that this person will see the beauty of what the Scripture says.

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23 thoughts on “Forsaken?

  1. This is a tricky one. It depends what we imply by speaking of “forsakenness”. Is it a relational distancing and abandoning? Or does this quote from Psalm 22 express the honest feeling of distance and agony without a corresponding reality of actual forsakenness?

    The latter makes more sense to me. It is still a PRAYER after all which implies an uninterrupted relationship. He doesn’t say “Why has God forsaken me?” but speaks to the One who is still HIS Father and who is expected to hear this prayer.

    At the same time, I would want to be careful with seeing forsakenness and God’s reconciliation as mutually exclusive options in general. The way I understand the atonement and divine initiative of reconciliation, God deliberately chose to take upon himself ALL aspects of our humanity, including the sense of distance and being cut off because off iniquity and transgression. If Jesus was truly our “sin-and-curse-bearer” according to Isaiah 53 and Galatians 3:13, we should expect a corresponding “experience” of the Son of God becoming sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and all that goes with it.

    1. Josh,
      If I were to add commentary, I would say similar things to what you’ve explained. Jesus experienced the depth of our darkness and knew the fullest degree of our sense of abandonment. This is probably one of the most beautiful statements in all of the gospels. Trusting His Father fully, He showed us God’s faithfulness in the midst of our brokenness.

  2. Linda I agree with all that you say.The Evangelical Universalist by Gregory McDonald has much the same reasoning in it. How can a God who is in all things be alienated from broken humanity?

  3. Hi Linda :) There’s a book you might be interested in reading, it’s called ‘Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification & the Victory of Christ’
    Edited by Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin
    here’s a blurb–

    Stricken by God combines twenty essays (over 500 pages) from such authors as N.T. Wright, Rowan Williams, Richard Rohr, Miroslav Volf and Marcus Borg. Other contributers include Tony Bartlett, J. Denny Weaver, Sharon Baker, James Alison and Mark Baker.

    Anglican, Catholic, Anabaptist, Evangelical and Orthodox writers come together to revisit the question of the atonement. Together, they share and develop perspectives of the cross with implications for restorative justice, nonviolence and redemptive suffering.

      1. Did God pour out his wrath on his own Son to satisfy his own need for justice?
        Or did God-in-Christ forgive the world even as it unleashed its wrath on him?
        Was Christ’s sacrifice the ultimate fulfilment of God’s demand for redemptive bloodshed?
        Or was the cross God’s great “No” to that whole system? The church is asking these questions afresh.
        And from every stream of Christianity, answers are coming.

  4. Linda, I’m just today rereading these chapters in Wayne Jacobsen’s book, He Loves Me. He has some very interesting perspectives on this entire process….

    1. Peggy,
      I’ve heard some of Wayne’s thoughts about this in Transitions. Coincidentally, it was part of the topic of discussion at our gathering on Saturday also. It was interesting to go from a group on Thursday where I was the only person who took the position that God did not forsake Jesus to a group on Saturday where no one believes that He did.

  5. Psalm 22 itself tells you:

    “For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” (Ps 22:24 NIV)

    The Father never turned his face away from Jesus as so many people preach. If you go thru the progression of Psalm 22 – you will see a song of victory and triumph in the midst of the total dispair. When you FEEL like you’ve totally been forsaken, you burst into song:

    Oh my Lord be not far off, oh my strength come quickly now, deliver me from my enemies…. I will declare your name and to my brothers sing your praise, in the midst of the great congregation I will praise you…..

    We know this is Jesus singing this song – because it says that in Hebrews 2:10-13. Jesus didn’t just sing Ps 22:1 – He sang the whole song.

    Linda – I think your points are well taken – how could He deny Himself?

  6. Linda- i really like your exposition of these verses and the culmination of Jesus resurrection. I wonder, does your friend take the view that Paul is speaking to believers so only those who have confessed faith in and obedience to Christ are saved?? I think the verses you shared lay a solid foundation for universal reconciliation

      1. Linda- the thing that puzzles me about the calvinist elect is just how do they know who these *elect* are??? We are ALL sinners saved by grace, so why do they bel;ieve there are a small group of *special elect sinners* lol I just dont get it. Do these *elect* obey at the level they would preach needs to be achieved?? I truly doubt it. *

  7. You’re right Linda, there is beauty in that Scripture. I believe that the Father and the Spirit were there on the cross with Jesus, fully participating in this wild loving plan of reconciliation. Father, Son and Spirit are inextricably tied together and can not be separated by death or sin. …and the message of this is not that God suffered for us, but that God loved us enough to suffer. This is usually the season for reflecting on suffering, in a Mel Gibson sort of way, but the cross is really the the story of God’s love. Its a story we participate in when we celebrate and live out his love.

  8. Linda I haven’t got your email so can you please forgive me for plugging my blog
    The Prodigal Prophet at http://theprodigalprophet.wordpress.com . It’s mainly about Christian mysticism. I also believe that my autobiography The Prodigal Prophet would appeal to many contributors to your discussions. It can be read for free at http://www.authonomy.com Sorry if I’ve broken some blogging rule – its unintentional – I just want to get the story of my ‘second’ conversion out there in cyberspace to encourage those disillusioned with the Evangelical/Charismatic package. Regards as ever Charlie

  9. Hey I appreciate your delving into scripture. But why do you need to convince someone of this?

    I personally feel that up to that point when Jesus says that on the cross, he had felt every human feeling possible – save one. He had not felt the very human condition of alienation from God. That’s the worst feeling on Earth, and I feel God saved it for last.

    As for your question about how can oneness not be united? I can’t answer that question directly. But most faiths would have a serious problem believing a God could become a human being. There are many mysteries. Good post!

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