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Forsaken
Part 6 of 8 Articles

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in March/April, 1995

Loneliness is a tragic thing to experience. Ask the woman who does her shopping at four food stores, buying a few items at each stop so she can chat for a moment with the clerk. Ask the old man whose wife is deceased and whose children live in faraway places, as he stares listlessly out the window. Ask the teenager whose parents are too busy to give time or show affection.

But, if loneliness is tragic, to be forsaken is far worse. Forsaken means "to be left; to be utterly abandoned." Jesus was forsaken to a degree that no other man has ever known - He was forsaken utterly and utterly forsaken.

John wrote, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3). The Bible opens with the statement, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1). He came to the world He fashioned by the word of His power, but the world said, "No thank you, we're not interested." He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." (John 1:10).

He was from the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the family of David. He was a Jew according to the flesh. If any nation should have been open and responsive to His message and person, it should have been Israel, but, "He came unto his own [creation], and his own [nation] received him not" (John 1:11).

He was called a Nazarene because He lived in the village of Nazareth nestled in the beautiful Galilean hills fifteen miles west of the Sea of Galilee. Here he spent His childhood days running and playing and growing into manhood. Here He doubtless helped His father in the carpentry shop. But in Nazareth, in adulthood, He could do no mighty miracles because they did not believe in Him (Luke 4:23-24). And concerning Nazareth, Jesus would say, "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house." (Matthew 13:57), or put positively, "A prophet has honor except in his own country." In Nazareth, He preached His first recorded sermon (Luke 4:16-24) and left, never to return. And so, He was forsaken by the village in which He lived. Here is an amazing example that all too often "familiarity breeds contempt."

Mary and Joseph had other children. They were half brothers and sisters to Jesus (Matthew 13:55-56). Having been raised in the same house, seeing Him up close, knowing the reality of the Holy Spirit's comment, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52), it would be reasonable to assume that they would have embraced Him. But, the Word of God declares that they did not believe in Him until after His death, burial, and resurrection (John 7:5). Amazingly, He was forsaken by the brothers with whom He grew up.

For three years they ate with Him, slept with Him, were taught by Him. They saw Him feed the hungry, heal the lame, raise the dead, and control the elements. When He declared that all would forsake Him, Peter, with a sincere but all-too-human bravado, proclaimed, "Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended" (Matthew 26:33). A few hours later, and less than a mile away, Peter would respond to an inquiry concerning his association with Jesus by saying, "Woman, I know him not." (Luke 22:57). Nor was the big fisherman alone. Long centuries before, the inspired penman wrote, "Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered" (Zechariah 13:7). And with His death, the disciples fled in fear and defeat - their world had come unglued. He was forsaken by His disciples.

His cup was not yet full. As Christ hung on the cross between Heaven and earth. He had to drink to the bitter dregs the agony of forsakenness. For there on that cruel tree, Jesus was forsaken by His eternal Father. And, in the anguish of that moment, the Son of God cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). The agony, the emotion, the pathos of that event can never be fully comprehended by mortal man. In that instant the sins of the world were placed on the spotless Lamb. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). And, a holy God who is a consuming fire could not look upon His Son who bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).

The Sovereign of the universe, the One who created all things by the word of His power and through whom all things adhere, walked on the Planet Earth and among its people for thirty-three years.

He was forsaken
by the world He created.

He was forsaken
by the nation from which He sprang.

He was forsaken
by the village in which He lived.

He was forsaken
by the brothers with whom He grew up.

He was forsaken
by the disciples He had trained.

He was forsaken
by the Father with whom He had eternally fellowshipped.

Jesus was forsaken
that you and I,
through faith in Him,
need never be forsaken.

Here then, is grace –
grace greater than all our sin.


The next article (7 of 8) is entitled “This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made.”


Forsaken
Part 6 of 8 Articles

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion’s Fire Magazine in March/April, 1995