I’ve been troubled these past weeks. I’ve felt a disconnect in my relationship with God. I’m still seeking Him but I’m not hearing Him. It is disturbing to say the least. It is actually much more than that for me. As we near Easter, I can’t help but think of Jesus in relation to my dilemma. If I’m having troubles with feeling a separation from God, what must it have been like for Jesus? Heart-wrenching, overwhelming and soul crushing I imagine.
Jesus was not only separated from God but first from those he considered friends. He knew he would be betrayed, denied and denounced. “This very night you will all fall away on account of me” were Jesus’ words to his disciples. (Matt 26:31a) Here he was going into the toughest trial of his life, the reason he became human, and he was separated from those closest to him. His words came true. The disciples “scattered” (Matt. 26:31b) when Jesus was taken. He was now physically alone in the world. But not spiritually.
What must it have felt like to willingly leave the garden of Gethsemane knowing all that would befall him in such a short amount of time? At this point, Jesus still had a connection to God. Would he have been able to continue if his separation had happened before he was put on the cross? “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34) This is the point we can be sure a separation has occurred. Jesus withstood so many trials and physical assaults without complaint. Yet, here, he shows a vulnerable side. That is one word I don’t think could be said about Jesus before this point. He controlled everything at all times. If something happened to him it was because he allowed it. Yet, here he is in another situation he has allowed and he’s crying out to the Father. Jesus had asked God to provide another way if possible. To take his cup. (Matt 26:39, 42, 44; Mark 14:36, 39; Luke 42) He walked away with the understanding that his death was the only way for salvation to come for all. His death was the only way to save us. Talk about the ultimate sacrifice.
Which brings up another point. Jesus had been sinless until the cross. Even then, he had never committed a sin, yet he took all our sins upon himself and thus, the Son’s separation from the Father. What feelings have you had after committing what you knew was a sin? They were unpleasant, weren’t they? What about the big sins? Do you still carry around the guilt for those? Imagine, those feelings multiplied so many times you can’t even count them and that is probably what Jesus was feeling at that time. Not only a separation from God but another feeling he had never experienced before- the guilt of the sins of the world, of the past, present and future. Yours and mine.
I don’t really know what is causing my disconnect with God. Jesus knew where his came from. I’m just grateful to know that whether or not I feel Him, God is always with me. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) This I know- it’s not him, it is me.
McKinney Memorial Bible Church is following the final hours of Jesus' life in the next weeks leading up to Easter. If you would like to attend, there are two services every Sunday. One at 9:30 and the other at 10:15. You can view the first sermon in this series, When the Hour Comes, on their website.