“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
That’s, I think, the second to last thing Jesus said on the cross.
I was trying to make some sense of this, and I asked Jesus why He said this and whether He expected an answer.
I felt like He told me He said it, not because He was forsaken by God, but because He felt forsaken, dying in ignominy and terrible pain. Didn’t I ever remember feeling forsaken, He seemed to be asking me?
Indeed I did, I told Him — but I deserved it; I arrived there at the end of a chain of destructive behaviors and bad choices. He, on the other hand, had arrived there through no fault of His own, through perfect obedience to God and heroic sacrifice. He didn’t deserve what happened to Him.
I felt like He replied …
“Between us, there can be no talk of deserving — There’s only love. You didn’t deserve to be forsaken any more than you deserve to be loved … but you never were forsaken, no matter how you felt, and you always were loved, whether you accepted it or not.”
This is almost too wonderful to contemplate, isn’t it? We’re taught from nursery school that if we do the right thing, we’re worthy of reward, and if we do the wrong thing, we deserve to be punished —
But Jesus is saying: do what you will, and you are loved.