Why Jesus had to die, Part 3

Greg Laurie » Biblical Theology Scripture Gospel Justification Atonement

On the cross, Jesus gave seven statements—each one significant and necessary. One of the most arresting is “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” No fiction writer would have his hero says words like those. They surprise us, disarm us, and cause us to wonder what he meant. In many ways, this is virtually impossible to fathom.

No man has ever experienced loneliness and isolation as Jesus did at this point. First Judas betrayed him, but his other disciples still stood with him—until Gethsemane, and then they too fled. But Simon Peter was still following, albeit at a distance. Then he too turned away from the Lord, openly denying him.

But there was still the Father, who was always there. In John 8:29, Jesus said, “And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone.” Jesus later said to his disciples, “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me” (John 16:32).

Jesus felt forsaken of God because this is the consequence of sin.

But at the cross, God the Father turned away his face from God the Son. Why? Because God, in all his holiness, could not look at sin. So holy is God that we are told that he is, “of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Hab. 1:13).

So the Holy Father had to turn his face and pour his wrath upon his own Son. Understand that for Jesus, that was the greatest sacrifice he could have possibly made. It is my belief that his greatest pain occurred at this moment.

He felt forsaken of God because this is the consequence of sin. For a person to be forsaken of God is the penalty which naturally and inevitably follows separation from God because of sin.

  • Jesus was forsaken of God so I don’t have to be.
  • Jesus was forsaken that I might be forgiven.
  • Jesus entered the darkness that I might walk in the light!
  • Jesus was forsaken of God for a time that I might enjoy his presence forever!

As Christ hanged there, he was bearing the sins of the world, dying as a substitute. To him was imputed the guilt of our sins, and he was suffering the punishment for those sins on our behalf. The very essence of that punishment was the outpouring of God’s wrath against sinners.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4–5

Be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 of this series from Greg.



This post originally appeared on Greg Laurie’s site. Pastor Greg will be speaking at our 2012 Resurgence Conference next month. Only 13 more days until the conference starts, so get your ticket today!



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