I heard this line sung the other day: “The Father turns his face away…”
Can you show me a verse in the New Testament that claims that God the Father “turned his face away” from God the Son on the cross? I’ve never read that.
I have read Jesus crying out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is not the same thing. This is the cry of Jesus; not the cry of God the Father.
Let’s take a closer look at this, shall we?
Did you know that Jesus NEVER refers to God as God, except this one time on the cross? He refers to God as his Father/Abba. For example, when he prays, he says: “Our Father…” This then, would indicate that on the cross, Jesus was not talking to or even about God.
What then was Jesus saying?
He was quoting Psalm 22. The first verse of this Psalm says: My God, my God why have you forsaken me. This Psalm goes on to describe the agony of the cross: betrayal, nakedness, physical abuse etc.
Where does Psalm 22 lead? To Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for YOU ARE WITH ME.” Doesn’t this sound like a contradiction? One minute Jesus feels forsaken, but then he says, God is with him.
This then leads to Psalm 24: the Resurrection Psalm which talks about Jesus ascending into heaven with clean hands and a pure heart as the King of Glory!
When I read these Psalms I see the death and resurrection of Jesus; a hurting human male who feels rejected, but discovers he is not rejected at all and is triumphant in the end. He represents our feelings of forsakenness by quoting this Psalm at the cross – knowing that those who stood around him at the cross would remember exactly what the Psalms say.
There are no other verses in the NT that support God the Father forsaking Jesus at the cross. If it were necessary for him to forsake Jesus, wouldn’t this be explained by the Apostle Paul in his Gospel presentation to the Romans or his other epistles?
Furthermore, as Christians, we believe that God is triune and Jesus is God; therefore JESUS IS TRIUNE. Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 state clearly that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him [Christ]” and “In Christ the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
Jesus was on that cross as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How then can the Father separate himself from the Son and forsake him? This sounds schizophrenic to me, it also gives me a sense that the Biblical claim that God never forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), isn’t really true, if he can forsake his own son.
Personally I do not believe in the theology of the “forsakenness of Jesus.” It is not necessary to my understanding of salvation that God the Father “turn his face away” from God the Son. They were on that cross willingly, suffering from the effects of sin: the feelings of ostracism, the consequences of sin (being death and disease).
We don’t understand exactly how the cross works. Jesus died to stop the problem of death by resurrecting us as a new creation. This we know; but we don’t know how exactly. It’s spiritual. But to claim that the reason why is because God the Father needed to exact punishment onto Jesus and to forsake him; is not actually what the Bible teaches!!! Take a closer look. Show me where the word “punishment” is used in the NT in reference to Jesus death? Show me where it says that the Father “forsook” Jesus in the NT? There are no legitimate basis’ for these claims.