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"My Father! My Father! Why have You forsaken Me?" -

Today is Good Friday and Christians all over the world are remembering the horrific price Jesus Christ paid when He willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of mankind. When we picture His emaciated and beaten body hanging on a cross made from rough-hewn wood and the blood streaming from his head, hands and feet where the nails pierced his flesh and bones, it is not hard to imagine the excruciating physical pain he was feeling. The fact that He refused to drink the “bitter” wine he was offered that would have, at least in some part, helped mask the pain is a testament to the fact that our Lord truly did not spare Himself from suffering the full penalty of our sin.

But whenever Good Friday comes, I find myself thinking about Jesus’s emotional suffering as much as the physical pain He endured. He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, deserted by his dearest friends, and mocked and spit upon by those He came to save. All of it put together had to instill a sense of despair that is beyond description. Yet, we have all heard horrific stories of Christian martyrs through the ages who have suffered similar or even worse physical abuse because of their faith and who have been hated and betrayed by those they loved and sought to help.

But there is one thing that Jesus had to endure that no child of God has ever had to suffer in the 2000 years since His death and resurrection. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us. And Romans 35:38-39 tell us that that neither life nor death nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

But in order for that to be true for you and me as children of God, Jesus had to experience the most terrifying and hope-killing moment imaginable. It was the moment He realized that His Heavenly Father had turned away from His suffering and abandoned Him without comfort or hope to get through it alone. That had to be the most agonizing and heartbreaking part of the price Jesus willingly paid for our redemption.

From the beginning of His ministry on earth, Jesus told His disciples that He did what He saw His Father do and said what He heard his Father say. Their communion was so close that Jesus went so far as to pray, “Father, let them be one as You and I are one.” That “oneness” wasn’t symbolic. It was literal! The Bible tells us that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and that He had existed before time began. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. And verse 14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld the glory of His glory, the flory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

But while Jesus certainly displayed a divine nature when He walked this earth through His teachings and the way He responded to human suffering by healing the sick and encouraging the down-hearted and exposing those in authority who were taking advantage of the poor, I believe the Bible confirms that He did these things, not out of some divine power, but just as we may do them today…through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and by being obedient and faithful to His Father in heaven and to His Word.

But, when Jesus cried out in the last moments of His life, “My Father, my Father! Why have You forsaken me?”, He was not asking God, as we all do at one time or another, “Where are You when I need You most?” The Son of God had literally never known one moment…either in heaven before He came to earth or after He took His first breath as a human baby… without the absolute certainty of His perfect unity with His Father. But now, that unity had been broken and Jesus was left to endure the excruciating weight of our sin alone. And worse yet, He had to do it without the comfort and assurance that God was with Him.

I remember praying about this very thing as Good Friday approached years ago and as often happens, I felt the Father whisper to my heart, “I chose you.” Tear immediate sprang up in my eyes because I knew exactly what He was saying. My daughters, Michelle and Stacey, were still very small and I had recently seen the movie “Sophie’s Choice”, about a mother during the Holocaust who was forced to choose which of her two beautiful children would live and which would be sent to the gas chamber. As a young mother I could not imagine a more horrible scenario, but God was showing me something I had never thought about before.

When God allowed His Beloved Son to be nailed to a cross to die as a propitiation for all the sins of mankind, He knew that the moment would come when He would have to make a very similar choice. You see, the Bible says that God, who is perfect, cannot look on sin and Jesus became sin. At any time up until that moment, the Father could have intervened and rescued Jesus from a fate that truly was worse than death. But He didn’t. Because if He had, you and I and everyone who ever has or ever will name the name of Jesus and become a child of God would remain lost in our trespasses and sins. That’s how much God loves us and desires us to be saved. Romans 8:32 says it this way, “He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him (Jesus) freely give us all things?”

So, I pray that today, as you remember that Man hung on a cross…alone and dying and pleading to know why His Father had abandoned Him…you will also remember this blessed truth.

Because God chose you.

If you have never chosen Him in return by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, make today the day and now the moment! The Bible says that if you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and died for your sins, and you confess Him with your mouth, you will be saved! What a wonderful way to celebrate Easter! Just say this prayer and mean it!

Jesus, thank you for taking my sin…my brokenness…my selfishness…my anger…on Yourself as you hung on that cross. I know what it cost You and I ask you now to be my Savior and Lord. Help me to grow in faith and to understand how much God loves me. And show me what it means to be a child of God and a follower of Jesus Christ from this day forward.

In Jesus Name,
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I just happened on this link of Jim Caviezel, the Christian actor who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, giving his personal testimony about how God almost required his life during the shooting of the crucifixion scene. And even more incredibly, he was willing to give it so that more people would come to Christ!!!

I had to ask myself would I do the same?

Listen and weep!

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"Satan knows my name, but he calls me by my sin.

God knows my sin, but He calls me by my name."

I heard this quote at church this morning and it really made me think about how important it is for us to not listen to the negative voices that tell us we aren't good enough or that our past disqualifies us for a blessed and Godly future.

The Bible tells us that while we were in our mother's womb, God called us by name! Before we drew our first breath, He knew the journey we would take, and even when we are at our weakest, He never loses sight of who He created us to be.

God never lets our sin define us. He always "calls us by name".

Thank you, Jesus, for covering my sin with Your blood and helping me to see myself as You see me...redeemed, restored and loved!
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