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Summary: This sermon looks at Jesus' "forsaken" cry from the cross. It examines two arguments: one that the Father did turn His back on Jesus at that moment; the other that the Bible does not teach that.

A CROSS QUESTIONS: DID GOD THE FATHER "TURN HIS BACK" ON JESUS WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS?

- Mark 15:34.

- The phrase “turn His back” does not appear anywhere in Scripture, but it’s come into our popular religious vocabulary. Commenting on the passage we just read, we often say that when Jesus cries out about being forsaken by the Father that the Father “turned His back” on Jesus.

- Now, of course, the fact that the phrase does not appear in the Bible does not automatically mean that the idea is not in there. The words “trinity” and “rapture” do not appear in the Bible, but Baptists believe they are words that represent concepts that are clearly laid out in Scripture. Is this a similar instance? Even though “turn His back” doesn’t appear in the Bible, is the idea behind it clearly laid out in Scripture?

QUESTION #1: WHAT DOES THE WORD "FORSAKEN" MEAN? IT'S THE GREEK WORD "EGKATALEIPO," WHICH CAN MEAN TO FORSAKE, DESERT, OR LEAVE BEHIND.

- Mark 15:34.

- In the passage it’s the Greek word egkataleipo, which can mean to forsake, desert, or leave behind.

QUESTION #2: WHY WAS HE FORSAKEN? BECAUSE OF OUR SIN.

- There are a number of passages that describe what’s going on at the cross, using a variety of phrases.

a. Romans 4:25 – “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

b. 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

c. Galatians 3:13 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’”

d. 1 Peter 2:24 – “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”

e. 1 John 4:10 – “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

f. Isaiah 53:5 – “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

g. Isaiah 53:6 – “. . . the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

h. Isaiah 53:10 – “. . . the Lord makes His life a guilt offering . . ..”

i. Isaiah 53:11 – “. . . He will bear their iniquities.”

QUESTION #3: WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED AT THE MOMENT JESUS SAID THAT?

- I want to share two lines of thought on this matter with you.

- The general response that we have to that question is that the Father “turned His back” on Jesus in that moment, so let’s explore that option first.

- OPTION 1: THE FATHER "TURNED HIS BACK" ON JESUS.

- The argument looks something like this:

a. On the cross Jesus took our sin upon Himself.

- 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

b. God the Father cannot look upon sin.

- Habakkuk 1:13 – “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil . . . .”

c. God the Father “turned His back” on Jesus.

- Mark 15:34 – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

- The word “forsaken” here is perhaps the strongest point in its favor. The word means “deserted or left behind.”

- OPTION 2: THE FATHER DID NOT "TURN HIS BACK" ON JESUS.

- The argument looks something like this:

a. On the cross Jesus took our sin upon Himself.

- 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

b. “You cannot look on evil” is something that Habukkuk says, not God.

- Habakkuk 1:13 – “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil . . . .”

- This shows up in a dialogue between Habukkuk and God. Habukkuk is complaining that God isn’t bringing justice quickly enough and that He is letting sin go unpunished. God says that’s not true and that He is working right then to bring that about. In this midst of His complaints, one of the things Habukkuk says about God is that He is too pure to look on evil. Now let’s think about that.

- First of all, this is not God saying it about Himself. This is Habukkuk saying it.

- Second, this is in the midst of a complaint about the way God is handling the situation. As we look throughout the Bible, people speaking in similar situations do not always get everything right about God. Certainly they believe what they’re saying but sometimes their beliefs are colored by their sinfulness or their limited understanding. I think of David in the Psalms and how many of his songs have honest cries to God concerning the struggles he’s going through.

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