Did God Forsake Jesus On The Cross?

#030: Did God Forsake Jesus On The Cross? [Podcast]

Throughout the body of Christ you will hear people talking of how God cannot look upon sin.

We state that when Christ was on the cross the Father had to turn His back on Him.

We sing songs about the Father turning His face away from Jesus.

But is it true?

Did God forsake Jesus on the cross?

In this podcast we’ll look at the Biblical merit of such a view and particularly look at what Jesus meant when He cried out:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”

Hope you enjoy the podcast :)

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I’m taking a break from travel right now as I’m focusing on launching my upcoming Grace Course! I’m very excited about this as it will mean that many people who may never get a chance to meet me in person will be able to enjoy the extended teachings I can provide in ministry schools and conferences.

I will be picking up on travel later in the year so if you are in one of the areas I’ll be visiting this year and would like to host a meeting please do send me an email and we can discuss the possibilities of this. I’ve also got a couple spots open towards the end of 2014 for completely separate trips if you would like to host me.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights and any questions you may have about today’s podcast in the comments section below – thanks for sharing!

Intro/Extro Music used with permission from St. Theodore

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  1. I loved this and love Psalm 22 – 24 as a beautiful picture of Jesus. I so agree that sin does not separate us from God. It’s always us that run away from Him. Can you give some light on Isaiah 53:4-6 surely He’s born our griefs carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him striken of God – But He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement to obtain our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we’ve all turned to our own way, and The Lord has laid upon Him the I iquity of us all”
    This is a major verse used to support the doctrine of God forsaking Jesus.
    Did God allow Jesus to be punished or was it a picture of mans worst on Gods best?

    • Hey Robin,

      Absolutely it’s a great passage. I think Isaiah 53 speaks powerfully of the atonement that occurred through the cross.

      The issue at hand is what your picture of the atonement is.

      Most of today’s evangelical church would hold to something called Penal Substitution.

      I personally reject that view of the cross as I can’t personally see it being congruent with the God revealed in Christ or the scriptures.

      For a great book overviewing the 4 main views of the atonement I’d recommend this book – http://amzn.to/1qzwoDG

      Hope that helps give you some more insight on how different people interpret that passage.

      I personally lean much more towards the Christus Victor view of the atonement.

  2. I too have been questioning the idea that God ‘could not look on sin’. It may be that it looked that way to Jesus on the cross (or he may have been quoting Psalms), but I cannot see the Father abandoning the Son.

    • I think it was both Tom – it felt like that to Jesus in the midst of having the sins of the world upon Himself but he was most certainly quoting Psalm 22 as well – either way as you said, I can’t see the Father abandoning the Son either… Especially since scripture says He didn’t!

  3. My good brother Phil! Interesting podcast (as usual). I love to explore what God is sharing with the body, as its good to rethink what I believe. I definitely agree with one of your big picture points that many have a wrong view of God concerning his ability to look upon sin. This is indeed a big problem which puts an incorrect filter on our ability to understand scripture. That said, I’d like to bring two points to your attention that may cause you to rethink your perspective…

    1) “God cannot look upon sin” – Before two can discuss such a statement, there must be a mutual understanding of what sin is. If you think it is behavior, then that statement takes on a certain meaning. But if sin equals the deception (of man) that separates us from God, then the statement takes on a totally different perspective. I would contend to you Phil that you have assumed the former, but the latter is more biblically precise. So I agree with your premise that most people think God cannot look upon bad behaviour, the truth of the matter is that SCRIPTURE IS TEACHING that God cannot handle that which separates man from Him. Please consider doing an exhaustive analysis of what sin is, but do not start with what you’ve learned as a child.

    2) Did Jesus experience the wrath of God? Again, before this can be discussed, we must have a mutual understanding of God’s wrath. I’ve said before that it simply means that God will not save you. In the life of men, this only happens to unbelievers because of their desire not to be saved by God. But Jesus chose NOT to be saved, because it was thru his death on the cross that the Father’s will would be fulfilled.

    John 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

    Phil – Jesus only referred to God by the name “God” one time. Why? Because the term Father can only be used by the Son. It speaks to one that has a revelation of God as the Father and Saviour. But when Jesus uses the term “God” on the cross, he is expressing an unwillingness to be saved.

    Truth of the matter is that Jesus did not come to be saved, but came to save us. If he doesn’t experience the wrath of God, this means the Father is saving him.


    • Hey Karl,

      Yes – I’ve talked about wrath and sin on this blog in many other places. But I didn’t want to go into that. Why? Because I disagree that we MUST understand those to see this truth of God not forsaking the Son.

      It certainly will help us have a better overview of the events but it’s not helpful for me to every time I blog lay out a different view of these things.

      Some people aren’t there yet – and may never get there – but if I can help them see simple truths such as this no matter what they believe about wrath or sin I believe it will help them on their way.

      Please don’t assume I’ve not studied these things out… I’ve spent a few thousand hours studying these things ;) I just am very particular about the way I write to try and reach the most people possible and take them on a journey with me into these truths.

      As for Jesus only referring to God in this moment – yes it’s a powerful truth that really points to his entering into our sin – our feelings of abandonment. Something I probably should have mentioned but it was close to midnight when I recorded this haha

      Thanks for your comments as always! They are a blessing!

  4. Wow. Jesus is basically telling those looking on “hey, you know psalm 22? You’re looking at him.” Amazing! Even while on the cross Jesus continued making the claims that helped to get him crucified in the first place. I have been in church all my life and have 5 years of bible college under my belt. I don’t understand why no one has bothered to teach me this before now. It isn’t obvious at face value but I would have thought biblical scholars should have made that connection and passed it on at some point.

    • Hey Alan – actually throughout history many many scholars have believed and taught this.

      Unfortunately it doesn’t fit with our desire to have a God who can’t look on sin and doesn’t fit into the box of Penal Substitution. Therefore we can’t really talk about it.

      In fact I would wager that at Bible college you were only taught one view of the atonement – most graduates of Christian run colleges are.

      I’m actually constantly amazed at how blinkered the church’s training is. We have an idea of what truth we like and we selectively remove everything else from Church history! haha

  5. Thank you. This has been my view for years. I think this fits the revivalistic style of presentation that was used inappropriate metaphors and comparisons to illustrate the depth of Jesus’ and God’s sacrifice (e.g., “the bridge” where a man allows his child to die to save passengers on a train, or the comparing Jesus to a puppy being tortured and killed, etc.).

    It seems revivalistic preachers wanted to play on the heart strings that ended up being manipulative. I don’t think they did so intentionally…but that is what it amounted to. And the vestiges of the revivalistic style preaching stays with us and some how worked its way into popular level theology.

    (I feel the same way about “Hell Houses” and other gimmicks used to either frighten or manipulate people’s emotions to get the to respond emotionally rather than with their entire being (mind, emotion, body, etc.).

    Thank you for addressing it.

    • Thanks Darryl – I was only recently introduced to “Hell Houses” I couldn’t believe people do that.

      My question would Jesus run one?

      It’s manipulative and fear driven – like a lot of the gospel presentation these days unfortunately.

  6. Absolutely Phil I agree with you- God meets us in the dark places of our lives and through Jesus He shows that He reaches into the dark places which we go because of sin- to pull us up out of it – even if we don’t feel like God can possibly be there in such a dark place…

  7. Phil, loved it. I know it sounds simple but Jesus is God, so that being true, Jesus whole life was hanging with sinners, sin was all around him. So how in the world did we ever get to the point of thinking God couldn’t be around, look upon sin. And Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you. And He does not change. I can only speak for myself but I have been so blinded to the Truth that sets you free for so long. But praise be to God who is faithful, patient, light is getting brighter!!

    • Thanks April – I so agree. I think so often a proper understanding that Jesus is God would fix a lot of our issues. God has always looked like Jesus because God has always been Jesus. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow!!…..my eyes have been opened!!!!….this changes everything!!
    Thank you Phil!
    Last year I read an email you had sent …or facebook…can’t remember!!… and I was offended that you could say what you said!!!….but thank God, He used you again…and this time it was enlightening…as in a lightning bolt!!!

    Thank you for the work you do that you then show us!!

    Lynette Tamblyn

  9. Hello, Phil Drysdale I really love your podcasts and blogs as they have helped me get away from a fear based obedience to a more grace based obedience. I came across reading Isaiah 53:4-7 and it really troubles me. Reading it I feel as if God took pleasure in causing Jesus pain, and if he can do that to Jesus he can do it to us too, and every single negative thing a person can pick up from those verses. I would like to know if there is a certain book, or podcast, or blog I should look in to in order to help me with this. Thank you very much. Keep up the good work. It has really helped me, and I appreciate all that you have done to help me and the rest of us. You are very valued sir.

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