G3: Donald Whitney – When God Turned His Back on Jesus

This is a live blog of the G3 Conference. I will be updating along with the speakers. You can follow the line-up at: G3 Schedule. Some of what’s written are paraphrases of quotes that I am unable to catch.

Open the Bible to Matthew 27. Whitney opens with thankfulness for the conference.

Those who accuse Christians of simply believing in God with a blind faith are totally unaware of how many times we question God. We wonder why God is doing what He is doing. We continue to trust in Him and His sovereign care despite circumstances. Though we do wonder what is going on.

Why does God let the church decline though we pray for growth? Why does abortion continue when we pray and labor to end it? We wonder why God doesn’t hear more prayers for healing and to end suffering. Why He let some of His most faithful people suffer the most. Pain and illness comes that seem unwarranted. We look for reasons that never comes. The only possible reason is perseverance which is a Christ-like quality. To develop perseverance we must go through very difficult times.

The gospel tells us that Jesus asks many questions. There was one time when Jesus questioned God. Matthew 27:33 It’s important to remember the Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus did not sin in questioning the Father.

Whitney begins reading Matthew 27 and commenting on the narrative.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.” (Matthew 27:45 ESV) This was not just a coincidental eclipse as that would be impossible with a full moon which was at hand. The darkness was a miracle of God. He quotes Origin who notes that a great darkness was recorded during Jesus time supporting the Scripture.

It as mid-day, but there was darkness. God had turned His face away. Hell came to Calvary that day and the Savior dove into saving our souls.

Psalm 22 is prophetic about crucifixion. Jesus was fulfilling this Psalm. God did deliver Jesus from the cross. There was none to help at the cross and Jesus cried out to God for help and He didn’t. Jesus had no help – no angels, etc.

In Matthew 27:46 “forsaken” means to leave someone in state of defeat in hostile circumstances. Like leaving someone on the battlefield. Jesus cried much worse, in much greater agony, than someone left on the battlefield. Never has there been a more agonizing cry for help.

Psalm 22:7-8.

In Matthew 27 they wanted Jesus to come down from the cross. They wanted to believe in a Savior without the cross, but we believe in the Savior on the cross. When no one else is communicating with Jesus only the thief on the cross spoke to Him. Only this wicked criminal spoke to Jesus while all of the religious leaders were silent.

The other thief on the cross was in agony and near death, but was still mocking Jesus. This is a display of depravity at its highest. What kind of deep seated hatred would make them mock Jesus? Even in their last moments before death and judgement before God they are cursing the one called the Son of God.

Everyone there was mocking Jesus. God allowed Jesus to be mocked and ridiculed with no relief from wicked men. Couldn’t Jesus have at least suffered in silence; without mockery from religious people? From wicked people?

Jesus had a raging thirst and was given sour wine which was just enough for Him to speak His last words.

God forsook Jesus. Though we will never truly understand how. He forsook Him by withdrawing the constant sense of presence and fellowship with the Father. Jesus had to go through all of the physical agony and never complained.

Jesus never asked why He had to endure the ridicule of these thieves. Nor of those whose children He healed. Nor those whom he healed. He never asked why the people forsook Him despite all of Jesus love for them. Jesus never asked “why” of His Father to all of those betrayals.

The conscience presence of God is what put steel in Jesus’ backbone when dealing with all of the religious leaders. But on the cross that presence was removed. Jesus was always God even on the cross. The Father withdrew a conscience sense of His presence from Jesus and it was unbearable.

Think of it as losing someone you have loved for years and years and then all of a sudden they are gone. Even this does not compare.

The question is raised of why God forsook Jesus. It is because God is holy and Jesus was made sin for us, that’s why. We can’t really comprehend that God is holy though Jesus knew. Jesus was holy.

We are not holy. Everything we touch, sense and taste is unholy. Just like an ant has no capacity to understand algebra, man has no capacity to truly understand holiness. We cannot understand the feeling of Jesus having God’s presence removed. Holiness will not accept sinfulness.

We don’t just believe “in” Jesus but “into” Jesus. We are given credit for Jesus’ life – for having lived the life of Jesus.

God forsook Jesus so that He may take our sin.

When Adam and Eve died they died spiritually. They had the presence of God removed from them. God’s holiness is unimaginable.

Whitney gives examples from Scripture of how holy God is and how it affected people and angels. No man can see God in His full glory. God cannot even look upon wickedness and sin so when Jesus became sin God could not look upon Him.

God’s justice is inflexible. He has to punish sin. If He let even one sin go by He would not be perfect and holy. So even Jesus had to be punished when He became sin.

God’s punishment was on our substitute and His holiness upon us. God is just, but He is also love and infinitely merciful.

So when Jesus asks God why He has forsaken Him. His answer is – so I can show mercy on my people. I turn my face on you my Son so I can bring many Sons to glory.

If God wasn’t willing to offer mercy and forgiveness for those who believe He would not have punished His Son. That He would turn His back on Jesus that He would turn His face toward you. Don’t forsake Him now. Come and welcome Jesus Christ.

tagged as , , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture,Gospel,theology

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