And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (NIV)
Many of us from time to time feel as if God has taken a break and has left us to fend for ourselves. Usually this feeling passes as we get in touch with reality again. When Jesus cried out about being forsaken by God it was quite different.
He had enjoyed the divine companionship from eternity and had unbroken communion with God even during his stay on earth. It was only now in mid afternoon on that first Good Friday that he experienced something dramatically unique and unexpected. For the only time in his earthly ministry, Jesus does not call God “Father”. Something has happened to the relationship. It is as if divine glory and peace has been snuffed out as some dark blanket has been thrown over him.
We understand that this was the moment when all the forces of evil and darkness descended on Jesus. This was him bearing the sins of the world from the beginning of time till the end of time. God could not look on sin, and Jesus as the sin bearer suffered the consequences. This was his descent into hell.
We also understand this was not the end of the story. Having born the brunt of evil and sin, Jesus, as the perfect sacrifice for sin, shook it off and had victory over it: demonstrated by the resurrection. God forsakenness was painfully real, but not permanent. Jesus was once forsaken that we might never be forsaken.