Suspended between heaven and earth, Jesus was forsaken by both, but it was only once the heaves turned black that He cried out in agony, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
What does it mean that Jesus was forsaken? Jesus clues us in when He uses language like “outer darkness,” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” To be forsaken means to be cast our from God’s covenant people, to be outside the camp, outside of God’s covenant love, to be thrust out with the Gentiles, to be in darkness. It is to be cursed by God. The Scotch minister, missionary, and professor John Duncan asked his students, “Ay, ay d’ ye know what it was dying on the cross, forsaken by His Father—d’ ye know what it was? What? What? What? It was damnation—and damnation taken lovingly.” What does it mean to be forsaken? To put it as bluntly and shockingly as I can conceive, for it is shocking, awesome, and wondrous—God damned God. “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief (Isaiah 53:10).” R.C. Sproul appropriately ponders, “I wonder whether Jesus was even aware of the nails and the thorns?” Speaking of what Jesus began to sense in the garden Tim Keller writes, “He was facing something beyond physical torment, even beyond physical death—something so much worse that these were like flea bites by comparison.”
Jesus always addressed God as Father, save this one instance. He shouted in agony, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” that we might shout with awestruck joy, “My Father, My Father, why have you accepted me?” The Son was forsaken that we might be adopted.