“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
These words of Jesus are directly quoting the first verse of Psalm 22 which prophesies of the crucifixion of the Messiah. While I have understood that Jesus was identifying Himself with the prophecy, I have never understood how the Father could forsake the Son in any circumstances, given that He was an inseparable part of the indivisible Godhead.
But now I have realised that it was not the Son of God who was forsaken, but the Son of man. This was the one of whom John said; “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29) and from that moment we see Jesus moving forward resolutely to His destiny. God couldn’t redeem the human race from outside that race; the fall of the race was ushered in by the first Adam and the redemption by the second Adam; it had to be undertaken by a man, not God. That is why Jesus laid aside His majesty, to show other men how they might lay aside their natural man and live, instead, in faithfulness to God and His Word.
Paul urged the Philippians to have the same mind in them as Christ; “who being and continuing in the nature of God, did not consider to be the same as God something to hold onto, but deprived Himself of power, taking on the nature of a servant, being born like a man and, in outward form, appearing as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient up to the point of death, and the death of a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
So the crucifixion of Jesus was the sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty, just as the thousands of innocent pure lambs without spot before Him which had been sacrificed every Passover to propitiate God’s wrath at the rebellion of man.