Life is full of questions, many of which can be explored through science and history. But the deepest and most important questions fall outside the remit of these disciplines. A “Why?” question cannot be reduced merely to a consideration of atoms or ages. This type of question assumes an aim, a purpose, a reason behind reality.
As Easter draws near, some will remember that, almost 2000 years ago, Jesus suffered and died. He died as a victim of crucifixion. He died at a place called Calvary. He died during the Jewish Passover week. These are historical realities, recorded in both Biblical and secular sources. However, to understand what took place on Good Friday, we must ask “Why?”
Jesus asked this. As He emerged from a period of supernatural darkness He cried out, loud enough to be heard by some who sat around the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46). This is the central cry and the crucial question of the cross.
The question shows that Jesus’ suffering did not simply come from Jews and Romans. God had forsaken Him.
So, why was He forsaken? Did He deserve it? The Lord’s cry fulfilled a prediction given one thousand years earlier in Psalm 22. The same Psalm anticipated the coming of a perfect Man, one who was dependent upon God from birth (vv.9-10) and directed by God into death (v.15). Jesus was that perfect Man. Even those who examined Him upon earth had to acknowledge that “nothing deserving of death has been done by Him” (Luke 23:15).
And so, the question remains: “Why was this perfect Man forsaken of God?” Only one answer is satisfactory. He was forsaken so that we might be forgiven. He was abandoned so that we might be accepted. He was punished so that we might be pardoned.
We deserve banishment from God and punishment by Him. Our many sins demand judgement from a righteous God. How can we escape that? Jesus, the perfect Man, acted as a substitute for men, accepting the banishment and enduring the punishment for us. He has made available to us forgiveness, acceptance, and salvation.
So, why was Jesus forsaken? It was to save you from God’s judgement. Let the wonder of that soften your heart and lead you to repentance this Easter.