March 22

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like you were all alone? When I was a little boy, I got lost in the grocery store, and even though I was surrounded by many people, I felt like I was all alone because I couldn’t see my mother. When I was in high school, there were times that I took a stand for Christ, and I felt like I was the only Christian in the entire school. I spent six weeks in Ukraine without my wife and family and had the feeling of being alone for a part of that time.

None of us knows the feeling of being totally alone. Today I read one of the most vivid accounts of the crucifixion found in our Bible. This account is not found in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament book of Psalms. In Psalm 22 prophetic words of Jesus are found. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring” (Psalm 22:1)? The remainder of the chapter speaks about the horrible pain and suffering Jesus would endure for our sin. This phrase opens the chapter and is the saddest verse of all.

This phrase represents the depth of love Jesus had for you and me. It was not His sin that caused God to turn His face from Jesus. It was your sin … it was my sin that caused God to turn away from His only-begotten Son. Just as Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, his only son – the son whom he loved – God willingly sacrificed His Son in our place. The difference between Abraham and God was that Abraham had a substitute sacrifice, and with God there was no substitute that would satisfy. Jesus completed the work of redemption for our sins.

This first verse of this chapter reminds me of the great cost of sin. It also reminds me of the great depth of the love of God. God gave us the ultimate example of sacrifice. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of what it means to be forsaken. When I felt lost in the grocery store, I found relief when my mother came around the end of the aisle and I saw her. In high school, I found out that there were many Christians who were willing to stand with me. In Ukraine, I made friends that have become like family to me. I was never truly forsaken, but Jesus Christ was absolutely forsaken. No one could join Him in paying for our sins. It was His responsibility, and it was His perfect sacrifice that was necessary. I thank God for my Savior! Take some time today to read Psalm 22 in it’s entirety, and then pause to thank Jesus for the incredible price He paid for your sin. Don’t ever become callous to the love Jesus displayed for you. He was forsaken for your sin.

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