Holy Week is a time for Christians to refocus on the Cross of Jesus Christ. We are called to do this daily, yet Easter magnifies this need in our lives. As we seek to refocus on the Cross this week, I would like us to ponder the words of Christ from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
We know these words too well that sometimes we gloss over them without thinking through what they mean. Theologians call this the Cry of Dereliction, a cry of abandonment. How could the Father “forsake” the Son? How could the perfect unity of the God and Son which existed from eternity past be disrupted? How could the sinless God-man take upon himself our sin? These are the questions which lie behind the Cry of Dereliction.
At that moment on the cross the Father poured out the wrath justly due to us upon the sinless Son of God. That perfect unity between Father and Son became separated so that which was separated (us) may be united again. So it was that Jesus willingly separated himself in some mysterious way from the Father. It is this unexplainable separation which leads Jesus to cry out in agony. This cry is at the heart of Easter and it is at the heart of the Christian faith.
I would like us to ponder this familiar statement from a new perspective—what does it mean for us? What do those words have to do with our relationship to God? Recently I came across the song, Mystery of Mercy by Andrew Peterson. In this song Peterson takes this famous cry and rewords it to apply it to us, “My God, my God, why hast thou accepted me?” This is the other side of Jesus’ cry of being forsaken—we were accepted through no merit of our own but because he was forsaken. Jesus was cut-off and separated so that we might be brought-in and united with God.
In our society we often think highly of ourselves. We may think, “Of course God will save me! Why wouldn’t he?” But the message of Jesus’ words from the Cross led us to the exact opposite conclusion—why would God save me? What could possibly motivate such an undeserving action of mercy?
We should ponder this question during Holy Week, “My God, why have you accepted me?” And as we ask this question we should hear the cry of our Savior from the Cross in response, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” It is truly a mystery of mercy that the perfect Son of God was cut-off and separated so that wicked people like you and me are accepted in Christ. It is all of grace and as odd as it may appear, Christians should find great comfort in Jesus' cry of abandonment. May our hearts meditate on this wonderful reality throughout Holy Week that we are accepted because Christ was forsaken