God is sovereign over the affairs of men, having created him, male and female, while giving
them the high privilege and honor of choice - choice of desire, and choice of action. Some, giving honest and due consideration, cannot reconcile the two truths, being unable to assert a biblical solution to what they see as antimony. Let’s look and see.
There are seven recorded proclamations Jesus made while on the cross. The same one is found in Matthew and Mark, three additional in Luke, and three in John. Each is profound in its own standing, and each must be commented on with the utmost reverence and awe. The declaration of most interest for this column is the cry out found in Matthew and Mark that is referred to as the Eloi. It is believed to be the fourth of the seven recorded statements from the cross, coming after His assurance to the thief that he would be that day with Him in Paradise, and before His suffering plea, “I thirst.”
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus exclaims. The Eloi, the cry out, many understand to be the result of a one and only time separation of the Father and Son. Willed so by the Father, He turns His face away from the Son in whom He is well pleased. He turns His back and withdraws. It is mystery, infinite and unfathomable. It may be Jesus here is stripped totally of His robe of Deity, just as He was stripped of the garment with no seam he had been wearing that morning which the soldiers are now gambling for as they await His end. The premise is accommodated that God could not be killed, but a man could be.
The crux of our salvation rests upon the fact of His death. For three days Jesus was dead, really…dead. Jesus hung naked (and could it be?), clothed fully at this moment in appearance as man only, humbling himself beyond our ability to comprehend. He is for this time in this space, perfect i.e. sinless man, but merely man with merely man’s thoughts, will, and emotions. He hangs there on the cross, the son of Mary.
There is physical pain and distress, death is minutes away. He has been one with the Father for all eternity, fully conscious of His presence for the whole span of His life on earth, seeking His will, obeying Him in all matters. Reciprocating love is between the two, perfect and complete. “I and my Father are one.” Now suddenly, it appears the Father is not plainly apprehended and can be so only by a deliberate act of the Son’s will. It is a will that is free to will otherwise. Angels hush, as effectual salvation of humanity and reconciliation of creation pause before an act of free will of a man on the cross, Jesus the Christ. His will to faith or no, will determine the destiny of creature and mineral of time.
It is the Father’s will not to interfere, nor intervene. The Son is forsaken, separated, stripped of glory, alone in humanity. The plunge has been deliberate and deep, the kenosis achieving its terrible conclusion. There is no priest, no pastor nor rabbi to comfort. There is nothing else to say. This isn’t the temptation in the wilderness; this is not the agony in Gethsemane. God the Father has withdrawn and is not discerned by Jesus anywhere in the universe that He Himself created. For Jesus, the eternal Son, is nailed to a cross that is locked in the clutch of time. I think it might be, (how could it be so?), he is bereft of all but memory of his life and ministry. On Golgotha, He is at this one transcendent moment as you or I. He must choose. Matthew 27:46, I Timothy 2:5-6, John 10:30.