Both Sides of the Coin

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Jesus Christ

My God, my God, why have you accepted me?

Andrew Peterson

I will add to this later, but I posted so as not to forget. This combination of quotes really floored me last night while driving home and listening to Andrew Peterson.

So now is later.

It is now about a week since I began this post. Despite the time that has passed, my thoughts are still on this “great exchange” that is expressed in the above quotes. Usually I adhere to the adage – “strike while the iron is hot”, but I never tire from considering the One who took my place so I might take His place.

He Was Forsaken

There on the tree, Jesus was left alone. He was nailed on a piece of wood, and lifted up – symbolically rejected by mankind. He came only with love in His heart for His creatures, and “His own received Him not”. They said, “we have no king but Caesar,” and “we will not have this Man to reign over us”. There was no ambivalence in their intentions. No clarification was needed. Jesus was unwanted by the human race.

But as painful as it was to be rejected in this way, it was not to be compared to the deep sting He felt the moment His Father turned His eyes away from His precious Son. In Zechariah, there is a remarkable verse that expresses the Father’s thoughts – “Awake, oh sword, against my shepherd, and against the one that is my fellow.”

This One who was daily the delight of the Father was cut off in an instant. But why?

The answer is a solemn one because of the way it makes us squirm. It is like the feeling the little kid gets when he realizes that it really was him who broke the window when he hit the baseball over the house. The reason the Father forsook the Son is because of OUR sin. Our disobedience toward the God of the universe is what put Jesus Christ on the cursed tree. In order for us to go free and enjoy forgiveness of sins, someone had to die in our place. And not just any death would suffice.

The only sacrifice acceptable in God’s sight was a spotless sacrifice. A lamb without blemish is what God required of His people in the days of old, and this pointed forward to the cross. There was only One who could pay for our sins. And it was Christ, for He was the only sinless Man who ever walked on this earth.

And now we are led to this place of acceptance.

We Are Accepted

There is not much left to say. He died the death that we should have died. He became a curse for us, and we have reaped the benefit of that act of love. It is just like the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham obediently followed God’s command to offer up his son as a sacrifice to God. Just when Abraham was positioned to plunge the dagger into Isaac’s chest, God’s voice could be heard “out of heaven”. To Abraham’s delight, God “provided” a replacement for Isaac – a ram caught in the thicket was put in Isaac’s place, and Isaac went free with his life. And so have we.

This only serves to place more emphasis on our cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou accepted me?” It boggles the mind to think that we could ever stand forgiven in God’s eyes. King David shared our puzzlement when he said to God, “Who am I?” It is where every believer stands before God, and it is a blessed place to stand – the place of forgiveness.

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