And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46
He lay on the table in anguish, strapped down like some criminal. Enduring an hour-long scan and all of the medical necessities that came with it was beyond my two year-old’s comprehension and almost more than my mama’s heart could bear. When he reached his breaking point and could no longer lay there just taking it, he looked my way in desperation and called out, “Mama, aaaaallllllll done,” just knowing that I would be the one to step in and rescue him. With everything that was in me, I wanted it all to be over. With all of the love that a mother can hold, I wanted him to know that I had not abandoned him. Even though I had willingly chosen this plan, I wished there was another way. Wasn’t there an easier way?
But in that moment, I didn’t save him.
As his mom, I knew this procedure was necessary – a means to a greater end. The pain he had to endure would serve a greater purpose. The price he had to pay would ensure his ultimate healing. It was the plan all along. And so out of love he would stay. Out of love, I helped hold him there.
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
Though our earthly relationships can give us a small taste, nothing can compare to the depth of love the Father has for us. For who would give their beloved son over to die a hero’s death for a deserving people, let alone sacrifice His perfect, only Son to die a criminal’s death for a people who would despise Him, torture Him, and ultimately crucify Him using the most inhumane methods of earthly suffering?
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
But as His Father, God knew the cross was necessary – a means to a greater end. The pain Jesus had to endure would serve a much greater purpose. The price He had to pay would secure our ultimate healing. It was His plan all along. And so out of love He would stay. Out of love, He held him there.
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
And though I’m tempted to take my own sin far too lightly and jump straight into the beauty of the season, our visit to the stable would be incomplete without a visit to the cross…
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
Jesus coming to Earth as a baby – becoming God with us – made him fully God and fully man. And with His sovereignty fully intact, His coming meant leaving heaven, taking on flesh, veiling His glory, being rejected by man, and being forsaken by God. Jesus became sin, taking the full-blown wrath of God that should have been on you and me. He became sin because we needed a Rescuer. He became sin because it was the will of His Father. He became sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus was forsaken for a moment so that you and I could be free for eternity.
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
– Stuart Townend
This Christmas, no earthy gift can compare to the depth of love the Father has for us. If we only really knew just how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, our questions would be fewer, our praise would be greater, and the restlessness and longing in our hearts would turn into peace.
Child of God, you have not been forsaken. This isn’t the end of your story, because the stable leads to the cross and three days later… a risen King. Jesus came so that you can have life, and have it to the full.
May this hope in us light up the darkness this Christmas.
At His feet,
Let’s talk: When are you most prone to feel forgotten? How can you fight against these feelings with Truth?
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