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God Left Him

It wasn’t so much the torture that Jesus went through on Good Friday.

Of course it was brutal. Roman soldiers were not known for their gentleness. Actually the complete opposite. They were cold, unfeeling, sadistic and bred to be cruel. They enjoyed being known as tough and intimidating.

The beating and whipping the Romans gave to Jesus was beyond what we consider torture these days. Water boarding, bright lights, being kept awake, being threatened with growling dogs…none of that is anywhere near the utter abuse the soldiers heaped on Jesus.

The whipping alone involved a long, nine-tentacled whip which had bits of glass and metal attached to the ends. It was designed to dig into the flesh and tear it off. So it wasn’t just welts that were inflected on Jesus but his flesh was torn until his back was just like hamburger.

Then there was the cruel taunting. It wasn’t like schoolyard bullying. It didn’t just hurt his feelings. They spit on him…repeatedly…covering him with their saliva. They mocked him. Towering over Jesus who was weak from blood loss and lack of sleep and hurling insults and vulgarity at him.

Then there was the crown of thorns. Imagine the sharpest, longest thorns you have ever seen. A Roman soldier found such a strand of thorns and wove it into a circle. They then SLAMMED it on top of Jesus’ head. Thorns jabbed deeply into his skin, circling his head. And they left it there. Digging and jabbing at him continually.

After all of this, Jesus was presented before the crowds. The crowds that just a few days earlier had cheered and praised him as he came into town. Throwing robes and palm branches in his path. Hailing him as their King.

But today they rejected him. Despite his weakened bloody appearance. Despite the love and adoration that filled their souls a short time ago. Despite this…they called for his death.

The soldiers then made him carry his own cross through the streets. Jesus, so weak and so injured, being forced to carry a heavy piece of wood through the twisting streets while being taunted and insulted by the crowds. Finally he couldn’t carry it anymore. No matter the cruel taunting, violent prodding and obnoxious shouting…he just couldn’t pick it back up again. So they pulled a man from the crowd to carry it the rest of the way.

The destination? The top of a chalky hill. A hill pocked with holes and caverns. A hill that bore a strong resemblance to a skull. A hill called Golgotha. At the top of this monstrosity, they nailed Jesus to the cross. Held him down, although it wasn’t necessary. He wasn’t fighting. But they held him down anyway and drove thick heavy nails through his flesh and into the wood. And then hoisted him aloft.

Pain on top of pain on top of pain on top of pain.

Still….all of this was not the worse of Jesus’ suffering. All of this was no where near the worse of Jesus’ suffering.

What was the most horrible thing of all????

God left him.

His Father in heaven. God who was with him from the moment of his conception, with him through his birth, childhood and into his adulthood. God who guided him through his ministry. God who was closer to Jesus than any other person who walked the earth since creation, up until today, and until the end of time.

God left him.

He was forsaken by God. He could no longer feel his presence or his power. Just pure emptiness. An emptiness he had never felt before.

Imagine for a moment having all of your loved ones abandon you. You DESPERATELY need them. You are in pain, rejected, and positively miserable with grief. You turn towards those who love you. Your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. All those who have supported you, held you, dried your tears and loved you with all they have. The people who fill your soul with happiness.

You need them. So very badly. Then right when you are at your worse. Right when you are at the lowest point in your life, all of them turn around and walk away. Leave you. Act like they don’t even know you. You are utterly and completely alone.

Are you imagining it?

Despite how it makes you feel right now, Jesus felt it a hundred times, a thousand times, A MILLION times worse when God left him.

Jesus cried out. They all heard it. He cried from the depths of is soul: “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?”

Not my father. No…he cried to his God. When Jesus was at his absolute worse, the absolute lowest point any human being was ever or could ever be at, God left him.


Because Jesus was dying for us. For our sins. To save us.

In order for us, God’s creation, to be saved, his beloved son had to suffer this unspeakable horror and die a slow and painful death. Taking on all the evil for all times and being abandoned by God. God did all of this because…

He loves us.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16

This is the true significance of Good Friday.

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