March 25, 2014

Enduring Forsakenness

Mark 15:33-34; Psalm 22:1-2

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
—Mark 15:34; Psalm 22:1


A classic case of forsakenness involves the famous couple Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Elizabeth’s parents so disapproved of her marriage to Robert that they refused to associate with her. Every week for years she drafted a letter to her parents to say how much she loved them. She hoped that one day they would respond with love for her too. After ten years she finally received a large package in return, containing all her letters unopened. Forsakenness is devastating.

Far more disturbing is the picture of Jesus on the cross crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” To pay the price for our sin, Jesus was abandoned by his eternal Father. God turned his face away, and his Son suffered the complete separation from God that we deserve.

Jürgen Moltmann, a German theologian, was born into a secular family and never felt the need for God. He became very skeptical when his best friend was killed in the fierce bombing of Germany during World War II. Entering the army, he was taken prisoner by the British. Receiving a Bible from a chaplain, he read until he came to Jesus’ cry. Reading that, Moltmann said, “I found in Jesus somebody who understood me. And from that time, I became a Christian.”

By enduring the darkness of God-forsakenness for us, Jesus ensured that we need never be alone.

Lord, thank you for taking our place and bearing our pun-ishment. Your cry inspires within us cries of thanksgiving. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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