I was reading in bed, as I do every night before switching off the light, and I was quite drowsy as I came across the heading which stabbed me broad awake.It was a sub-heading in a Jurgen Moultmann book, and it read “The God forsakenness of God”. Sleep fled. My mind was racing as I pondered again the central question in the Christian doctrine of the atonement. How could Jesus, the sinless Son of God,truly experience total dereliction.How could he, who knew no sin, enter the realm known only to sinners? In fact, how, as Paul put it, could “He who knew no sin become sin for us”? But how else could he rescue us from our self-chosen prison of self, without entering it himself?
He did not only become one with us, in our human struggles and suffering, for he was “buried alive” in Nazareth for most of 30 years. Not only one with us in our home-sickness for God, but he became one with us in our sinfulness. He came to this leper colony called earth, and not only lived with and loved us lepers, He died as one of us.
The result of this supreme act of love is that he broke down the prison walls – smashed the gates.No one needs stay in sin’s prison.He leads out all who trust him enough to follow him, from dereliction into freedom.The God foresakenness of God was God’s way of searching for us and finding us where we had chosen to hide.
We shouldn’t find this too surprising really, after all he made this plain, and no one imagined that God would go this far. This is from Mark Chapter 2:
“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ’sinners’?” On hearing this Jesus said to them “It is not the healthy who need a doctor,but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” Mark 2: 16-17
Adoration: O the depths and heights of the Love of Christ. He has done all things well.
Now read one of the Psalms which Jesus learned as a boy, but only he understood: Psalm 22.