Did God the Father forsake Jesus on the Cross?

James Preston 13 12:48 PM
Ok, this post is open for discussion... Your input is welcomed. Just let us avoid mud-slinging.

I've just read a blog by a young American pastor who is typically fed up with the "christianese" culture that has ravaged the church in the USA. Like most of his kind, he seems to understand that God is Good, above all. That's an important start. But like many others who are grappling with their faith, looking at it with a new perspective, I get the feeling he is leaning toward making Jesus just another Good Man. And this is the danger of taking supernatural revelation by The Spirit, and grappling with it intellectually on our level.

(I am not saying He is making this statement outright, but this argument leads down the road to such a conclusion.)

Yes, God is not out to judge or condemn you. He sent His Son, Jesus for that. But don't allow your new found freedom of God's Love and Grace ever undermine the work of Jesus on the Cross!

The article in question posed the debate "did God the Father forsake Jesus on the Cross?" I was intrigued because I just recently had a conversation with a friend regarding this very subject.

My friend's argument was the same as the blogger's: God did not forsake Jesus on the Cross, because God is too loving and would never forsake His own children. (This is essentially what they are saying.) Jesus just felt forsaken because in that moment He took on the weight of the sin of the entire world.

The blogger then continues to argue that when we sin, we just feel forsaken and condemned. But we aren't really.

I have a major problem with this argument.

This argument implies that Jesus wasn't really forsaken, He only felt as though He was. And therefore when we sin we feel the same way because we are carrying the burden of our sin.

This doesn't work for me, because this argument leads to Jesus just being another Good Man. Not The Saviour. It says that we can be just like Jesus, and live good lives, and when we sin we may feel condemned we aren't really because God loves us anyway.

For me, this waters down the Glorious Work of the Cross. I believe Jesus was forsaken by the Father on the Cross. I believe He really died and, mysteriously, for 3 days He was cut-off from the Father. He didn't go to Heaven. He was cut-off from the Father. (Hell)

And once the entire just judgment of mankind's sin had been fully paid for once and for all, the Spirit of Almighty God breathed life into His Body and He rose again and He defeated death!

He did all this so we can never ever be forsaken! EVER AGAIN! NEVER to feel condemned ever! No matter what! He died so that we may have True Life! Always! Abundantly!

It was a Divine Exchange! Not a model for us to follow! It was a real gift that Jesus came to give us, God's children. Jesus came to give us Life, and in exchange He died.

This perspective makes one realise how Glorious a Work the Cross actually is. It wasn't just an example of sacrificial love that we should aspire for, but it was THE magnificent work of Almighty God, an official act to pay for mankind's rebellion once and for all!

An official act that not only displayed how Loving He was, but officially paid a Way for us to BE Loved by Him and become His children and enter into an eternal relationship with Him!

So my friends, please, let's watch ourselves. That we do not take the mysteriously remarkable Good News of Jesus and water it down to our palatable level. What Jesus did for mankind on the Cross will never be fully understood and grasped! We will remain in awe of that Work for all eternity!

IT IS THAT BIG! IT IS THAT AWESOME!

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Again, your comments are welcomed. If you disagree, that's great. Just support your disagreement and do not do so in an unnecessarily heated manner.

13 comments

Hey James
Im a Pastor in the U.S.
I am learning so much each day about Gods amazing goodness and grace and your site has helped me along that journey! Thank you!

Now about your post. I am struggling with this same question as well. "Did the Father forsake his son?" I have always been taught and preached that yes the Father did forsake Jesus on the cross. It comes from Psalm 22:1 My God My God why have you forsaken me which is of course echoed by Jesus on the cross. The problem is that if you keep reading the entire chapter you find verse 24 that says "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 him."
I dont think it waters down the amazing work of Jesus on the cross if we say Father did not forsake his son. I believe there are truths we still havent seen clearly.
I also think of Adam in the garden. If God could have forsaken or been angry at one man it should had been Adam, but God comes for his walk and calls out to Adam and then clothes him! Wow! What a Dad!

Just my thoughts. I do believe there is an element of "feeling" forsaken that sin brings when GOd was with us the whole time. Most dualistic, seperation theology comes from greek philosophers like Plato and Socrates. If you do some research you find that alot of our views of seperation come from them not actually scripture.(spiritual things vs sacred things. God is here but God isnt there arguments)
Here is a mind blower that may scare you- Hell- Cannot be eternal seperation from God because that would make Hell a god itself that is somehow sustained without God and if its being uphelp it has to be upheld by Christ.SO therefore hell itself cannot be outside of the presence of God! (p.s I am not a universalist and i DO NOT believe everyone will be saved although that is the Fathers heart) COlossians 1:17 ALL things are sustained by Christ. Wow! John 1 Christ is the light that shines IN the darkness. We know light and darkness as seperate but John 1 says Christ is the light that shines in the darkness. That will blow your mind if you think about it for a bit!
Either way, this is a great topic for discussion as our theology is "worked" out here and the Spirit illuminates our understanding even more. I believe on the cross Jesus never let go of humanity and he also never let go of His Father. I believe the Father never let go of Jesus as well. Tell me what you see in this and if you see any holes let me know. I am also interested to discover the truth-nothing more, nothing less. Blissings!

Hey Brett! Thanks for the comment! I had a response to this post from a friend of mine on my Facebook page, and I have pasted it here for you to check out, hopefully it helps in revealing my beliefs and convictions:

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Graham you theological genius!!!!

Ok, some thoughts right back at you!!

Here's what I believe. For now. ;-) I believe Adam and Eve spiritually died (the only way to commune with God) and Jesus came in their likeness to identify with dead man and in so doing bring life to all men who would believe in Him.

So, could it be that because Jesus was not born of the DNA of man (as Mary had not conceived via man's sperm) therefore Jesus only TOOK ON the physical form of flesh. But within Him... could it be that Jesus was the only human being born with His Spirit alive to God? (Besides Adam and Eve before the fall, of course).

Jesus was born the way men were meant to born from the beginning. With a spirit alive to God. A "New Creation" already, if you will.

Then, at the Crucifixion, the full weight of God's legal wrath and righteous judgment was poured out upon Him (Isaiah 53:8).

Now, thanks to my friend Andrew de Beer's amazing revelation, I believe Jesus took on the sin of the world at His baptism, but at the Crucifixion I believe the God's righteous judgment PAID for that sin He became.

(Bear in mind, God is PERFECT. Perfectly Just. The Cross was the PERFECT RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT of God meeting His PERFECT LOVE. Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His Throne - Psalm 89:14, among others)

And so…

As the only man (besides Adam & Eve) to ever be born with a spirit alive to God, His spirit bore the entire wrath and judgment of God (who He was, I agree) and hence His spirit died. His spirit died within Him (hence He gave up His spirit) and in that death, God now has the perfect right to birth man's spirit within them because their sin has been FULLY PAID for!

Isaiah 53 is in my opinion a far better description of what happened to Jesus at His crucifixion (not just on the Cross, but the entire debacle) as opposed to Psalm 22. Psalm 22 is equally powerful, but not as detailed.

Anyways… Isaiah 53:10 says some interesting things here:

Vs 8 - "By oppression and judgment he was TAKEN AWAY…"
"He was CUT OFF from the land of the living…"

Vs 9 - "He was assigned a GRAVE with the WICKED (interesting!)
"…in His DEATH…"

Vs 10 - "It was the LORD 's WILL to crush Him and cause Him to suffer…"
"…and make His life a SIN OFFERING (accurate translation)"

Vs 11 - "…after the SUFFERING OF HIS SOUL He will see the light of life…"

Now, that last one, verse 11, is referenced by Jesus in John 12:24 when He says "unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and DIES… it cannot produce many seeds!"

So, in light of all this, I really do believe that Jesus suffered some kind of DEATH on the Cross.

It was not as though He was willingly FORSAKEN, I acknowledge that. And maybe my post communicates that, which is incorrect. But I DO believe that the full wrath and judgment of God was willingly poured out upon Him and Jesus therefore suffered a full condemnation and full death.

CONTINUED:

Ok, when I say "willingly", I mean both Jesus and the Father willingly endured taking on the wrath and judgment of Heaven FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE THEM!

It was difficult indeed! Jesus sweated blood at the mere thought! But He WILLINGLY endured it!

And so, in answer to your question, I do believe Jesus was God in the flesh, but, like any man… Was made up on Spirit, Mind and Body. The only difference is, His Spirit (God's Spirit!) was born and already alive when He came into this world!

This leads to great conclusions and much could be unraveled in these Glorious Truths! It is on this subject that the great reformers (Calvin, Luther and the like) had great insight.

Anyways, that what I BELIEVE. Like I say, I am open to changing my beliefs, because I trust in Holy Spirit inside of me!!! SHABBAH!!!!!

What do you think?

that was a looong reply dude! good thing i have nothing else to do all day :D
So i read the hebrew interlinear of isaiah 53, and its sooo cool! theres so much there that i can only dream of understanding!

but i did notice 2 things:
1.) that he... doesn't say jesus will be forsaken or abandoned by God.
2.) In relation to his "soul" suffering, the Hebrew word is "nephesh", which is used mainly for physical life ("and man became a living soul" - nephesh). The Hebrew for "spirit" is ruach. so i still dont know about the whole forsaken thing.

i have a question about our spirit. What is a spirit / our spirit? Jared and I have a theory... but i want to see what other people think - maybe u have some revelation on it?

WOAH, i just got the baptism thing now!!! Thats insane!! So God said "This is my beloved son, with whom i'm well pleased" to Jesus, whehn the sin of the world was already on him! He performed all his miracles with the sin of the world on him! Come on Andrew!!!

Yeah, I know! When I get going on this stuff I'll go on all day!!! Glad you have some time! ;-)

Ya bro, Isaiah 53 is HUGE!!!!

Ok, in answer to your points:

1.) I agree, Isaiah 53 doesn't say he is forsaken or abandoned by God. Maybe we are saying the same thing differently... This should clarify a bit of what I mean... Romans 8... (WHOAH!! AS I OPENED IT THE SWEET HEAVENLY OIL FRAGRANCE JUST WAFTS STRAIGHT UP!! BEAUTIFUL!)

Romans 8:3 (ESV, NIV not working so great)
"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh

Jesus BECAME SIN itself at His crucifixion. (2 Cor 5:21). When He became sin, GOD ALMIGHTY, by HIs Justice and RIghteousness CONDEMNED SIN ONCE AND FOR ALL in the body of Jesus!!!

Another word for condemn is forsake. God didn't condemn or forsake Jesus, He forsook the SIN IN Jesus!! But, Jesus BECAME Sin, so we could then surely conclude that Jesus WAS CONDEMNED. Because in that moment, Jesus WAS sin itself, walking around. Sin was then condemned at the crucifixion process (the moment the guards arrested Him) and that condemnation resulted in DEATH.

SO THAT WE MAY LIVE!

2.) I understand what you mean here, and agree the Hebrew word is not spirit. (I also read through Isaiah 53 using the Hebrew interlinear whilst doing my study! HAHA!)

Now, his spirit may not have suffered. But surely He, Jesus Himself, died. The anguish and condemnation He was under, there must've have been a spiritual death. The death He died was not only a physical death, but surely a spiritual death too? (Or else our salvation is only a physical salvation? WHEN IT IS SURELY MORE!?) Thoughts?

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Ok, so what do I believe about spirit? What is the spirit?

For me, John 3 is one of the key passages in the entire Scripture for this.

Jesus said "flesh gives birth to flesh, but spirit gives birth to spirit. No man can enter (experience) the Kingdom of God unless He is born from above." In other words, no man can experience God unless God Himself births His Spirit within Him.

So, I do believe there is an element of spiritual birth required to experience God and His Agape Love. (I say element because God is God and we cannot limit Him ever!)

I believe any Old Testament people who were saved WERE born again but born again according to what Jesus WILL DO. They were still born again according to Jesus' work on the Cross.

I believe this is why Jesus could say in verse 17 "whoever does believe stands condemned already". Because if someone has not put their faith in Him and His Goodness (the ultimate reality of that being The Cross) then their spirits are dead within them, and therefore they are cutoff from God until they put their faith in Him.

Something along those lines. Haha. But this is another debate!! A big one at that!

I would love to hear your thoughts on "spirit". This is a summarized version of what I believe.

Graham Van Rensburg November 10, 2010 at 1:49 PM

the whiole of john is amazing!!

1.) condemn and forsake are completely different words dude :P - i had to do a google search cuz i didt know what their defs were.

2.) ya, of course! but what is spiritual death/ thats what im trying get at. i...s it seperation from god? could god then have been seperated from himself? is the spirit part of the body (just not physically seen)? that could maybe make some sense... dunno?

Graham Van Rensburg November 10, 2010 at 1:59 PM

although God did disown himself by taking up our likeness, when we were actually made in His likeness, and calling himself "son of man", when we are sons of god...

Very nice dude!

Ok, you're right. Condemn and forsake are different. The Greek of forsake as used by Jesus in Matt 27:46 is "to leave behind in some place."

Now, I still believe that Jesus did get "left behind", he got "cut off" (Isa 53:8) ...so that we NEVER have to get cut off or left behind!!!

In my opinion, EVERYTHING JESUS DID WAS SO THAT WE DON'T!! HOW GLORIOUS!!!

Anyways, still thrashing it out and loving it!

Surely "cut off" and "left behind" are similar if not the same? Jesus was "left behind"/"LOST" (Parable of the Lost Sheep) so we NEVER HAVE TO BE!!! That is why Jesus left the 99 (HEAVEN? GOD?) so that He could find us!!!! WHOAH!!!

Good job. I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

There are only two reason why anyone would believe that God (doesn't say Father) forsook Jesus on the cross.
1. darkness, and 2. Jesus' disturbing words, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsakn me?"

Answer:
1. Darkness is not always symbolic of evil, or rejection. God spoke from the darkness on Mt. Sinai. The Tabernacle was covered with darkness in the wilderness. Darkness filled the Temple the day Solomon said, "The Lord dwells in the DARKNESS. The veil of the Temple was rent when Jesus was crucified and DARKNESS from the Holy of Holies poured out as a flood and hid the face of Jesus from the eyes of sinful man. 1611 KJV (marginal note from Hebrew), Also the Jewish translation (the Tanakh).

The darkness was evidence that God had not forsaken Jesus on the cross.

2. We know what Jesus said. However, the critical question is, "How did he say it?" The Greek NT shows that Jesus cried with a "shout of encouragement, a call of jubilation." Matthew's gospel shows that Jesus cried repeatedly. It was with a mighty magnificant voice that Jesus sang the song of David to remind his enemies that God would not forsake them. Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, and Pslam 22 was their invitation song.

Furthermore, the Greek "inati" "why" is a rhetorical question. It is not an interrogative. "Inati" is only used 6 times in the NT. Every time it introduces a rhetorical question.

We see it was the fulfilling of the Prophetic Psalm of David in Psalm 22 My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me.?

And then, it was the cry so tht the Isralites and for the accusers to know it was the He the Messiah that David wrote in his psalms.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? NO!

Matt. 27: 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Cross: Cross is where the criminals/malefactors were nailed and hung to death, Oh! that was a horrifying because of the bloodshed and the criminals were nailed bleeding to death with all those bruised on their bodies, such was the sight, In that pain, in that suffering, in that mocking and jeering and in that rejection of people down there around the cross, Jesus cries with a loud voice.

How could Jesus say …”My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”?

At the time of Creation - In Genesis “Let us make a man in our image”

At Baptism - His Father’s voice - Matt. 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

In preaching & teaching - John 14: 10 to Philip, …Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”

John 16:32 “You [disciples] will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross quoted the words that David wrote in Psalms 22, prophesying the agony and the sufferings that promised Messiah would go through. And Lord Jesus Christ on the cross cried by fulfilling these words to draw the attention around him, letting them understand and know that it was HE that David spoke of in the Psalms, and thus was fulfilling the prophecy David wrote in his psalms.

The question is ..Was Jesus forsaken of God at the cross? … Did God forsake Jesus his beloved Son?

If God had forsook Jesus on the cross, there’s no doubt he would forsake us too. I cannot imagine or think Jesus without Father and Father without his Son, The Scriptures says The fullness of God was in Christ, If I have to think of God, I would say there’s no separation in Him No death He is eternal, the one who lives forever, but since Jesus Christ was in flesh and his purpose on earth was to fulfill the scriptures and die in our place at those hours on the cross God let it happen to His beloved son so that he would raise on the third day. He had to suffer and die a physical death because he was in flesh and to fulfill the scriptures and to the will of God and according to the scriptures. God did not forsook Jesus on the cross but he gave His beloved Son completely to us. God gave his son to this world Jesus said John 3:16 , God had to give Jesus for us completely on that cross, so that we might have abundant life. Jesus the Son of Man was in the hands of men at that moment.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? was the fulfillment of prophecy of David that Jesus quoted on the Cross.

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