“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:45-46
Jesus was the only perfect person ever to have lived. Imagine what it would have been like for Jesus to live here on this imperfect earth. He left His throne in Heaven to be born as a vulnerable, needy infant in the care of inexperienced parents. While He was here, He lived among the brokenness and sinfulness of humankind but never gave into temptation. He lived a perfect life without sin. He never made a choice that was not in His Father’s will. He never did anything that caused a rift between them. Even though He was not physically with the Father while He was on earth, He experienced a closeness and relationship we will never know this side of Heaven.
And then the ones He came to save decided He was deserving of death because His holiness challenged the sinfulness within them. His light illuminated the darkness and exposed their guilt and caused great shame. Instead of loving Him for it, many of the people turned against Him and took out their rage on Him. The shame they felt nailed Him to the cross in place of themselves. The anger they felt over the conviction of their sin should have brought them to their knees, but instead it led them to drive nails into His hands and feet into the wood of a cross.
Jesus, the One who could call down legions of angels to do His bidding, hung on a cross and paid the price for our sins. He became the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, the once-and-for-all payment for every sin known to man. In the moment of His death on the cross as the darkness covered over the land, God the Father turned His face away from Jesus, because for the first time in His life, the stain of sin stood in the way of Jesus’ intimacy with the Father. He had never known this kind of separation. The pain of the cross didn’t make Him cry out in agony for three hours. The only recorded cry was when the Son assumed our guilt and shame and the Father, in His holiness, turned away.
My sin was on Jesus that day. Your sin covered Him too. All the sin of the entire world rested on His shoulders, and He became the way for us to experience intimacy with the Father and restore the relationship we had broken. It’s important for us to remember what it cost so that we can truly understand the value of the gift He gives.