|Volume 24 Number 5 May 2022
Alone and Forsaken
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever felt as though there was no one on whom you could lean – no one to share your burden, no one to wipe your tears as they rolled down your sad face? I am sure we have all faced moments like that in life. Being alone is not a good feeling. Interestingly, Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement, on which day the high priest would go into the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle all alone to offer sacrifice for his own sins and for the sins of the people. No one could accompany him there; it was all up to him, alone, to enter and complete the task at hand. Bible students can see the beautiful picture God was painting in this “type” of lone sacrifice of which our High Priest is the antitype. As Jesus entered the Most Holy Place to offer Himself as the sacrifice for sin, ironically, He did not make an offering for His own sins but for ours only. Jesus left His family, friends and even His foes to sacrifice Himself all alone. Although Jesus knew of His lonely plight before it began, still He entered all alone and forsaken! From His burden-filled, lonely heart came the saddest words ever heard, “My God My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). All alone and forsaken shows a number of things.
His Association. “My God, my God…”
It is surely bad enough to be forsaken by a mere acquaintance, but being forsaken by a close friend, a true loved one, is a hurt that cannot really be described. While it is true that Jesus was left all alone and forsaken by His friends and acquaintances, sadder still is the fact that His own Father left Him alone at Calvary’s climax. The relationship between the Father and the Son is like no other relationship! “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). That close association appears in that “The Word [Jesus] was God” (John 1:1), sharing the same divine attributes as the Father. Our Lord knew that close and personal association would be broken for a period, and yet, our Jesus Christ never wavered in His Divine mission! It is beyond our finite minds to grasp the relationship within the Godhead, let alone to fully comprehend the heart shattering pain that came from being alone and forsaken!
His Agony. “…Why have You forsaken Me?”
Jesus prayed so fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane that His sweat become as great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Is there any way to fully comprehend the Lord’s agony in His forsaken hour? I try each Lord’s Day, as I remember my Savior when I partake of the Lord’s Supper, but I always come away feeling a bit unsuccessful at comprehending how much agony Jesus endured for me. As a human, I sometimes feel as though my burden is too hard to bear in life. Day to day struggles seem monumental, but then, I hear Jesus’ words again, “Why have You forsaken Me?” These words give new meaning to agony! No one has ever been through what Jesus underwent when He was alone and forsaken! “Just to show His matchless grace, Jesus suffered for the race in Gethsemane alone!” (Reed).
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for His friends” (John 15:13). “So loved” is the only adequate way to describe such a gift and affection for another (John 3:16). This abandonment was not the result of any defect in either the Father or the Son’s character, but rather, it was a separation that had to take place for sin to be properly addressed. “For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was alone and forsaken for me! “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). He was cursed on the tree (Galatians 3:13) so that we may be cured of our trespasses! “If that is not love, then the ocean is dry; there’s no stars in the sky, and the sparrow can’t fly…” (Rambo). The true measure of love and affection was first seen as our dear Savior walked alone and forsaken the last mile of the way, up that forsaken hill called Golgotha. Shredded flesh on His bloody back, along with sweat, tears, blood-filled eyes and a humiliation like He had never seen before, Jesus displayed His affection for lost humanity, alone and forsaken! “Oh, what wondrous love I see, freely shown for you and me, by the One Who did atone!” (Reed).
As we think about Jesus being alone and forsaken, surely the question arises, “Why?” Dear friend, you and I are the “Why.” We are the reason Jesus endured the cross alone and forsaken! We separated ourselves from the Father because of our sins (Isaiah 59:1-2), but Jesus willingly and lovingly separated Himself from the Father to heal us and to bring us back to a right relationship with God. “My God, my God, ‘Why?’” Though I try to understand, I come up short. So, I can only respond with praise and gratitude. Though sorry that it had to be, I’m thankful to Jesus for being alone and forsaken for me!
Rambo, Dottie. “If That Isn’t Love.” Brentwood, Tennessee: Capital CMG P., 1969.
Reed, Samuel E. “In Gethsemane Alone.” Waco, Texas: Trio Music Co., 1912.
A Spiritual Life
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). He was speaking about food, clothing and such like. Just before that in verses 19-20, our Lord said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:15 records Jesus saying, “…For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” The apostle Paul wrote, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:7-9).
Many years ago, I saw a man on a television show making a confession. He said, “All my life has been devoted to making money. In doing so, I have lost all my friends and most of my family. Here I stand in my late eighties not far from standing before the Lord in Judgment, and I am spiritually destitute.” Jesus told the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus told His apostles, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We educate our children so they can make all the money they can and buy all the things they want. Our Lord Himself showed us the relative importance of things; He didn’t own anything. The happiest people in our world are those who live their lives in service to God, glorifying Him in and through the way they live. If you love your children, set them down at a young age and tell them that you are going to educate them so they can make a comfortable living and enjoy the comforts of life, but first teach them about God. Tell them, “I want you to learn how God created you.” Tell them how sin came into the world through Adam and Eve. However, let your children know that God devised a plan so that when our physical bodies die, our spirits can live with Him forever. Make sure that your children understand that God sent His Son from Heaven to be born of a woman. Tell your children that Jesus Christ preached and taught for about 33 years before He allowed Himself to be our sacrifice on a cross. Impress upon them that He shed His blood as a sacrifice so that we can all have forgiveness of our sins. Further, relate to your children that Jesus Christ left us His Word to direct us; the New Testament is our road map to Heaven. Have them study it every day of their lives. Tell your children that you want them to be faithful servants all of their lives, glorifying our Lord through the way they live. Let them know that is the only way to achieve true happiness and contentment – a spiritual life.