Q & R: Did God the Father Forsake Jesus on Good Friday? Brad Jersak
We see this again when Christ cries out, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Again, he is quoting the Psalmist, who says, “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God” (Psalm 31:5).
He doesn’t sound very forsaken there. Why not? Again, he’s aware of the whole Psalm, including verse 22:
”I had said in my alarm, ’I am cut off [forsaken] from your sight.” BUT YOU HEARD the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.”
Hebrews 5:7 affirms this same truth: In Jesus’ vicarious humanity, he cries out on behalf of all who despair, then listens for and receives the answer:
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
So Christ indeed undergoes the darkness of God’s ‘felt absence,’ even while trusting in God’s real presence (for the Father has not left, nor is standing by as an idle observer. He is ever with the Son and in the Son (along with the Holy Spirit), because “all the fulness of the Godhead dwelled in Christ bodily” (Colossians 2:9). That’s why Yahweh can say, “You will look on ME, the One you have pierced” (Zech. 12:10) and why Paul can say, “God was IN Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19) and that the rulers of the age had “crucified the Lord of glory“ (1 Corinthians 2:8).
And even in his humanity, Christ knew exactly this. Listen to him say so,
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32).
Now, I mentioned the Father’s answer. What was the Father’s answer?
1. First, his answer was NOT, “I have turned from you in my wrath to punish you in their place.”
2. Second, his answer is NOT, ”Okay Son, I have heard you and will take you down from the Cross.”
Then what is the Father’s answer?
1. First, that the mission Christ came to fulfill was fulfilled, complete, “accomplished!” (John 19:30).
2. That Christ has not abandoned him or turned from him, even for a moment (Psalm 22:24).
3. That God would not abandon Christ in Hades, but raise him from the dead (Acts 2:27-28).
4. And in fact, the Son will be raised from death AND given the keys of death and hades (Revelation 1:18).