Have you ever experienced separation before? I can’t say I have ever experienced being separated from my parents in the store, but I can experience being a parent and losing a child in a group of people. It happened so fast and the dread and anxiety that welled up inside my heart was overwhelming. I remember screaming my little girl’s name loudly as we all panicked looking around my Grandmother’s house at Thanksgiving. We were outside chatting and for that entire time I was watching her like a hawk because at the front of the house is a busy road. She was almost 2 at the time and was my curious adventurer. I took my eyes off of her to chat with a family member and it was if a panic set in that made me realize I had taken my eyes off her. Needless to say, God saw her and protected her. She was found ACROSS the street in a neighbors front yard playing. To say that anxiety doesn’t come back when I think about all the things that could have happened, would be a lie. When we did find her, all I could do was scream her name and wrap her up in my arms as the emotional burst of gratitude, embarrassment, love, fear etc flooded my heart. All I could do was thank God and cry my eyes out. That Thanksgiving will be one I will never forget and to this day Thanksgiving is sentimental to me. So if you know me and see me hovering over my children, I have some scars that I just can’t get over that have made me that way.
I have experienced separation from my Mom when she passed away in 1994. I will never forget that pain of looking at her cold body and realizing she wasn’t with me anymore. That her eyes would never show life or that she would ever smile or talk to me again. But knowing she chose Jesus made me have hope because I recently chose Him too before she died (talk about that later.). There was a peace knowing I would see her again.
I have experienced separation on a more mild level by moving from family and friends to a new state that I now call home. But those feelings of separation overwhelm my heart at times when I sit and think about my family and the feelings of missing out on being with them and their children. My sisters know because I tend to call them at my weak points of missing home.
There is a verse in the Bible that pulled at my heart strings this morning. It is a verse of ultimate separation that Jesus experienced like never before. I’d like you to look up this section of scripture first and read it, having in mind that Jesus is God’s Only Son. That He and His Father have been together for eternity past up to this point. Their relationship has never been interrupted by anyone or anything.
Here you can see Jesus being mocked, beaten, mistreated, nailed to the cross, and put on public display as a “criminal”. He was in complete agony, physically, as he was nailed to the cross. Crucifixion was the worst and most inhumane way to put someone to death. And here we see Jesus, the King of the World, dying this way.
Did Jesus commit a crime? No, He did not. He claimed to be the Messiah and Son of God. That was really the only crime they could pin on Him while He was living among the people. Pilate could find no wrong in Him, but allowed the people to decide who to go, a murderer named Barabbas or Jesus. Barabbas was declared freedom and Jesus was not given prison but an execution.
As Jesus is dying on the cross, the Roman soldiers and even the robbers he is crucified in between, mock Him. They say loudly in verse 42, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. VERSE 43, “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God,'”
The soldiers didn’t realize that Jesus COULD save Himself, but rather He wanted to save THEM. They didn’t see that there was a whole spiritual warfare taking place that is invisible to the human eye. Jesus CHOSE to die. He CHOSE to hang there and take the insults, the pain, the agony, the public shame. He took it all for them and for us. Matthew said in the sixth hour until the ninth hour (noon to about 3pm) was how long Jesus was on the cross. At about that ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice the verse that is shaking my world. (46)
“ELI, ELI LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is , “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Jesus experiences for the first time, separation from His Father. He experiences the shame and guilt of sin as He hung on the cross and became the sin offering for the world. A sin offering so great that God Himself had to judicially turn away. But why did God turn away? I used to think God was forsaking Jesus too. It has made me think, ‘Wow, God would even turn away from His Son! Why do I think He wouldn’t turn from me?” But that was the human emotional side to that verse.
Paul writes in Romans 3:25,26 “who God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith to demonstrate His (God’s) righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God’s purpose in Christ’s death was to demonstrate His justice.
I have heard the question before, “Why would a loving God send people to Hell.” When I used to think and ask this question, I was looking at it with the perspective that it isn’t “fair” that people go to Hell. Good people. But as I grow and study God’s word the more I see myself in light of God and the more I see I do deserve Hell. God is not a hateful God. He is a God that is holy and just. His judicial system is not flawed and we can see through the death and sacrifice that Jesus made, God was never partial to the sin that Jesus had to bear on the cross, for us. He had to look away because He is just! He had to look away so that He could allow His will to go through, His will to allow Salvation to enter through Jesus’ death. Can you imagine the pain God must have felt? This was HIS SON! God is just as gracious as He is just.
So Jesus is experiencing a separation like He has never before from His Father. He can feel it overwhelm His soul. He can take it no longer and yells out to God. The only time he yells on the cross (that is recorded). He doesn’t yell because of people mocking Him or from the pain. He yells because His soul in in total agony over being separated from the Father.
So today as I sit here and type this up, I can’t help but think about my own soul and yours. I made a choice in 1994 on my bed that I needed Jesus to save my soul. I realized that in light of Who God is and who I am, I am a wicked person who can never be righteous enough on my own to EVER come to God. I cannot do enough good things or give enough money to church or charities to earn my way to heaven. I realized because of what Jesus, the perfect Son of God, did on the cross by bearing my sins and having to be separated from the Father, was for me. It was a choice then for me to accept it or deny and reject it as my way to God. I accepted it. And by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, died for my sins, and rose again from the dead on my behalf, I can then and ONLY then be apart of God’s family. I can only then when I die, go to heaven. (John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, 1John 1:9. John 14:6 <—verses you can look up!)
So the question is, is your soul separated from God? Have you ever trusted Him to be your Savior? Do you believe that because of your sin, you deserve Hell because He is truly just and righteous? It’s a hard question to answer, but when we do see that God is loving and just it makes all the more sense to say, YES I NEED HIM! It’s not the question of “why would God send people to Hell?” it’s “why wouldn’t He send people to hell?”
God loves you and I so much that He saw the only way to rescue us from our sins and from the evil will of Satan, was to give us Jesus. He sent Him here for us to see Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. He knew no sin and took on ALL the sin of the world (yours and mine). He was separated from His Father in the most agonizing moment of His life and He did it for you.
My prayer through this is that you will ask Jesus to save your soul. It doesn’t matter what you have done or where you are at now in your life. What an awesome thing it would be for you to start 2018 knowing you are saved by Jesus and will no longer be a slave to Satan and his antics. That when you believe and trust Jesus to be your Savior, you can never EVER lose that salvation. The Bible says we are sealed. It gives illustrations of a court room where our accuser (satan) declares our sins in front of God and our advocate (Jesus) stands and says “They have been bought with my blood. There is no longer any condemnation on them! I have paid their debt in full!” (1John 2:1-2)
If you are a follower of Christ, I would like to encourage you still to remember that your sins have been covered. That doesn’t give us an excuse to keep sinning, but it is a good reminder to remember that we are no longer a slave to sin! We have the ability to ask the Holy Spirit to help us have victory over sin! We have the ability to dig into scripture and ask God to help us understand it and apply it to areas we are lacking. We also must remember when we do allow sin to creep in, it does separate our fellowship from God. It doesn’t mean we lose our salvation, it means that we need to get our hearts right or confess that sin and turn from it, to restore that fellowship or relationship with God. He again is just and righteous. He cannot be near us when we are willfully sinning and not getting it right with Him. I wonder sometimes how much does my soul scream out to Him “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” when I sin.
Some days, I don’t get it right and wonder ‘why does God feel so far away?’ and then I remember that my sin is causing a wall between us. A wall He doesn’t want and will continue to pursue after my heart but cannot fully have a relationship with me because of my willingness to put that wall there. It is then I have to make my heart right before Him by simply asking Him to forgive and help me be more discerning when to make a choice or not. That relationship is restored and back to how He desired for it all along.
I know this was long and I could go on and on about what life is like after you make a choice of accepting Jesus as your Savior, but today is mostly to show we have a loving Father, Who gave us the most perfect sacrifice , His Son, so that we could be rescued from a place that was originally made just for Satan and his demons. Hell.
Please choose Jesus. You will not be disappointed.