On Good Friday two thousand years ago, the criminal asked—prayed—for Jesus to “remember” him before he went to sheol, the land of forgetfulness. And Jesus replied with an affirmative yes! “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Then Jesus made his own prayer—not asking his Father to remember him, but asking why God had forgotten him. 

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 27:46). 

Jesus, who so often referred to God as his Father, and taught that we should pray to God as our Father, and yet here, Jesus called him his God who had abandoned, deserted him.

It’s something we never want to experience. But, Jesus did.

We do not know exactly what happened when Jesus cried out to God. But in the pain of abandonment, Scripture tells us that Jesus took everything that separates us from God upon himself so that we might not be separated from God, but become God’s children and call him Father. 

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24).

God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Whatever happened during that time—and it was longer than the few seconds it took for Jesus to cry out those words—the natural world understood more than most of the people who stood around the cross.

Nature expressed its understanding in that: Darkness came over the land for three hours. The ground shook. The rocks split. (Matthew 27:45-51).

We are invited to consider that what happened during those few hours was more than an eclipse of the sun or an earthquake, it was supernatural. And thankfully so. The created world and mere humanity did not have the power to deal with the evil forces in the spiritual world.

And thankfully, we know that My God—as Jesus referred to his Father—is not the Father who forgets. He is the father who waits for his son to return home, who embraces and forgives and forgets, who throws a party.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:20-24).

If we are ever in any doubt of our relationship with God, any concern over whether he accepts us, thinks well of us, or fully embraces us, then we can be confident that because of his Son, he never forsakes us.

Jesus took the rejection we deserve. Jesus paid the price we should have paid. Jesus suffered so we might not suffer. 

Jesus enables us to come to God and call him “Father.”

Use the following prayer to thank your Father and his Son, Jesus for never forsaking you.


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