“Did God turn His back on Himself?” Thoughts on Matthew 27:46 (more than 100 words)

In Matthew 27:46, Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken (literal translation is “abandon”) me?” Since Jesus is God this verse would seem to point us to that fact that God has turned His back on Himself.

Could God do this?

Yes, God could turn his back on himself because he knew that is what He had sent His Son for (Is. 53:4; 10). Jesus was constantly saying that His presence on earth was to do His Father’s will (John 3:17/6:38/10:36) namely, the rescue of sinners (Mark 10:45/John 3:17). He understood the mission therefore when God chose to abandon Him because the mission called for it (God could not have any part of sin. Hab. 1:13), He did. God did not act independently of Jesus, but in harmony (John 10:30) they chose to do this on our behalf (John 3:16) and for their great name (John 17:1). “Whatever happened on the cross in terms of ‘God-forsakenness’ was voluntarily accepted by both in the same holy love that made atonement necessary.”[1]The fellowship of God and His Son was never broken (Luke 23:46) because they were in it together even though, humanly speaking (Christ’s death), their position was.

I think of the story of Abraham and Isaac. What a great sacrifice Abraham was going to make by killing his son in Genesis 22. In our minds Abraham would have been abandoning his son by killing him but Abraham knew God could raise His son back to life (22:5,8) because God had given him this son. Therefore Abraham and Isaac were in unity that God would provide a lamb even if it is his son (22:9, 10). This picture pointed us to the fact that God would ultimately provide a sacrifice in His son. Just as Abraham and Isaac were together in it, so God the Father and His Son, Jesus, worked together in harmony knowing full well this day would come where God would have to abandon him.

This simply makes the Gospel even more beautiful and mysterious!

[1] Stott, John, The Cross of Christ p. 151

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