Read Matthew 27:45-50.

When we are tempted to doubt the love of God, all we need to do is look to the cross of Christ and remember that His love led Him there. Jesus endured the worst physical suffering imaginable—His hands and feet nailed to a crude implement of torture, His back flayed from the scourge of a soldier’s whip, and His head pierced by a thorn of crowns. But the Lord also endured another type of pain: “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Matthew 27:46).

Some pastors and theologians have tried to discount these words, but there is no way to avoid them. For a short time, while Jesus was dying on the cross, the Father turned His back on Him. Jesus bore the judgment of our sin upon the cross—indeed, Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)—and the Father could not look upon Him (see Habakkuk 1:13).

This divine abandonment wasn’t a surprise. It had been prophesied roughly a thousand years prior. In Psalm 22, David wrote of the crucifixion—long before the cruel practice was even invented! In verse 14, he says, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.” That’s the dislocation of bones caused when a body is stretched into place on the cross. He continues, “My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (v. 15). That’s dehydration caused by the physical toll of crucifixion. Verse 16 says, “[T]hey pierce my hands and my feet,” which points to the nails that held our Savior in place.

Even though Jesus knew what would happen to Him—the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain He would experience—He pressed on. The Bible says He set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem (see Isaiah 50:7 and Luke 9:51). His goal was the cross.

If Jesus was willing to endure all this, we can be confident that His blood can atone for any sin we’ve committed. Why? Because Jesus would not have done all that He did for you and me if it wasn’t going to be enough to rescue us. Jesus died forsaken so that we might be accepted. He died rejected so that we might be received. Praise God for this indescribable gift!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for enduring death and separation from the Father for me. I am awed by Your precious gift—the gift of eternal life. May I live for You and experience abundant joy and rewarding purpose as I remember I am loved by my Creator. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit” (Matthew 27:50).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Seven Awesome Statements from the Cross, Part 4: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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