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Why Have You Forsaken Me?, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
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April 17, 2023 9:00 am

Why Have You Forsaken Me?, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 17, 2023 9:00 am

In the Garden of Gethsemane, we witness one of the most shocking moments in all of history. God the Father turned his face away from his Son so that he could welcome us into his presence.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. You must stand amazed at his love for you in his darkest hour. The circumstances of the cross were designed to put God's love for you on display.

God turned his back on his most beloved son because God so loved the world. You. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today we're looking at what is possibly the most shocking moment in all of scripture when God the Father turned his face away from his son, Jesus. And why did he choose to do that? So that by his son's sacrifice, he could ultimately welcome us into his presence someday. It's part of our new teaching series called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus.

And if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can hear them free of charge at Today we'll hear the conclusion of a message we began last week titled Why Have You Forsaken Me? Mark chapter 14 verse 32. And they, that is the disciples and Jesus, went to a place called Gethsemane, which literally in Aramaic means oil press. And Jesus said to his disciples, sit here while I pray.

And he took with him Peter and James and John, and he began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And going on a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, Daddy, all things are possible for you.

Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Here is the Son of God, who spoke the worlds into existence, who created universes as easily as you and I speak words, who walked on top of angry waves, who spoke to storms and they dissipated, who would speak to a legion of demons and they would flee, who spoke to people with the gravest diseases and they would be healed, who called to dead men in their graves and they got up. Here is that Son of God crying out under such strain that the capillaries in his face begin to burst.

What did he see? Keep reading, verse 36. Notice what he prays, Abba, Father, Daddy, all things are possible for you.

Remove this cup from me. But look at this. For the first time in his life, for the first time in eternity, there is no response. See in verse 37? Actually, what you don't see in verse 37, silence. You see, I'd always thought that what made Jesus' death so bad were the physical horrors that went along with it.

And they were terrible. Jesus was nailed up on a cross, naked in a public place in the full light of day. So, yes, the physical horrors of the cross were terrible.

But listen, that is not, in Gethsemane, what made Jesus stagger. It was the abandonment by God that he faced. That was the horror of the cross for him. In Gethsemane, Jesus looked full into the cup of God's wrath and it overwhelmed him so badly that it almost killed him.

Jesus stood in the way of the wrath of God. He took the cup. He took it in our place. He drank it to the dregs.

He turned it over, set it down, and said, it is finished. By the way, would you really entertain the idea that there are multiple ways to God? As if God, you know, Jesus says to God, if there's any other way, let the cup pass from me. And God's like, well, actually, there is another way.

There's actually lots of other ways. You just got to be a good person, be sincere. You'll be there fine.

You'll be there fine. What greater insult could you possibly give to Jesus Christ? Here he is in the hour when he calls out for his daddy, if there's any other way, then God said, there is no other way. God had determined to save us and this was the only way. If you and I had been in that garden and we had stood beside Jesus and said, no, no, don't touch this. Jesus would have said, I have to, this cup is your cup.

And I'm drinking it in your place so that you will not have to. He was despised and rejected of men. He was in this garden, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely though, he was bearing our sorrows. Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted, but he was wounded for our transgressions.

He was bruised for our iniquities. The price of our peace was upon him so that by his stripes, we would be healed. All we like sheep, you see, had gone astray. We had turned everyone to our own way. So the Lord laid on him in that moment, the iniquity of us all.

He drank that cup in my place so that not a drop would be left for me. You see, that's what the gospel is. In its purest essence, the gospel is one word, substitution.

The way we say it around here is four words. Jesus in my place. Jesus drank the cup that I deserved. He had lived the life that I should have lived.

He died the death that I should have died. He drank this cup in my place so that no condemnation will be left for me because now I'm in Christ Jesus. It's not that God is just feeling merciful to me now. It's not that he's in a good mood. It's that every bit of the condemnation got poured onto Jesus. So there's nothing left for me and it's offered to you and I as a gift.

Here's the question. Have you received it personally? Because it's a gift. It's a gift where somebody will pay for your sin. Either you will drink this cup on your own, a cup that was so bad that it almost killed Jesus just looking at it or Jesus will take it in your place.

Have you received it as your own? That's what Gethsemane meant for you and what it meant for your salvation. Now let me tell you what it means for you as you walk through the dark valleys of pain and loneliness. And then I want to tell you really quickly right toward the end what it means for us as we think about the mission that God has given to us.

Here's number one. I'm going to borrow the words of another pastor here for this first point. Number one, you must stand amazed at his love for you in his darkest hour.

You must stand amazed at his love for you in his darkest hour. The cross, Paul says, put on display for us the depth of the love of God. That's why the angels, Peter said, long to look into it because in there they saw something about the love of God that could not be captured in words. The angels who look into God's face every day long to get a greater glimpse into what you and I are looking into right now. Jonathan Edwards asked this question.

Think about this. He said, why is it that the Father gave Jesus this glimpse before he got to the cross? Why show Jesus in Gethsemane? Why give him a glimpse of it before he gets there? In fact, he said, if you think about it, it's actually kind of dangerous because maybe Jesus could have changed his mind having seen it. Why did he give Jesus a glimpse before? Why not wait until he was securely fastened to the cross before giving him that glimpse?

Here was his answer. It was so, watch this, we could see Jesus go to the cross voluntarily knowing full well what he was about to experience so that his love for us would be put on display even more. The circumstances of the cross were designed to put God's love for you on display. God turned his back on his most beloved son because God so loved the world.

You. The Gospel of Luke says that right toward the end of this encounter an angel came to minister to Jesus. How did the angel minister to Jesus in that moment? We don't know. We don't know what the angel said.

But I wonder if Hebrews 12 2 gives us a hint. Hebrews 12 2, for the joy, listen to this, for the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the cross. Joy. Maybe he said something that helped give Jesus joy as he went to the cross. Well, the joy of what?

Well, here's another way of asking that. What was the one thing that Jesus would have after the cross that he did not have before? What was the joy set before him that gave him the capacity to endure? What would he obtain on that side of the cross that he did not have on this side of the cross? What was that thing?

The approval of God, the pleasure of God? Already had that. The kingship of the universe.

Already his. What was the one thing that he would have after the cross that he did not have before it? You.

You. He was doing this to save you. Isaiah 43 says he went to the cross because we were precious in his sight. Precious. I told you that word means you give up anything else on earth for it. I told you my kids are precious to me. There's nothing on earth that I have that I would not give up for my children if I found out that my children had a disease, a disease that could not be cured except by one medicine, a medicine that had not been approved by insurance, and the doctor said, to get this medicine you're going to have to sell everything that you ever had, everything you're ever going to have, and go into debt for the rest of your life. Without the slightest hesitation, I would turn my back on all of it to obtain that medicine.

Why? Because my children are precious to me. Isaiah 43, the God who created the universe, who could have created 10 million more universes with just a word. That God thought of you as precious.

Isaiah 43, I gave up the world for you. First John 3, 1, behold what manner of love the father has given unto us that we should be called the children of God. See, sometimes there's not extra love in the world. There's not extra love because sometimes there's not explanation.

That's what John said. You just behold it. You just behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree, and the stead of ruined sinners hangs the lamb in victory. And can it be that I should gain an interest in my savior's blood, died he for me who caused his pain, for me who him to death pursued? Amazing love. How can it be that thou, my God, should die for me?

Or an older him that we don't sing much anymore? Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, where every stalk on earth a quill, and every man ascribed by trade, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky? There is no explanation. You just kind of feel it, and you get a sense of it.

The moment in your life that you have experienced this the most. Maybe it came to another person. Maybe it was the love. He had a good father.

Maybe it was a good father's love, and you thought this is something like the love of God. Let's see what it reminds me of. It reminds me of when I'm with my kids at the beach. And you know, they're young. They're not great swimmers.

Yeah, not strong swimmers. And so we go out, and all of a sudden the wave comes, and it comes over their head, and they're kind of distraught. And one of them will say to me, Daddy, too deep, too deep. Daddy, how deep? It's just too deep out here. And I'm like, we're in four and a half feet of water. And about, you know, not far out that way, it's six miles down. You're thinking four and a half feet is deep.

You have no concept of the depth. The greatest you've ever experienced this is like one of my children saying that when the love of God is deeper and wider and longer and richer than you and I have ever possibly comprehended, you stand amazed by His love for you in His darkest hour. This is Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Before we return to today's teaching, I want to share with you an exciting new resource that we're offering to our listeners this month, and it's called The Gospel Flipbook. As Pastor J.D. often reminds us, the gospel isn't just the diving board into Christianity.

It's actually the whole pool. And that's why we've created this spiral-bound collection of flashcards to help you dive deeper into the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Inside the flipbook, you'll find a reading plan that takes you through all four gospels, information about the authors, key passages, important memory verses and reflective prayers. This is an excellent tool to help you grow in your understanding of the gospel and apply it to your daily life. We'd love to send you a copy with your gift to this ministry today. So just give us a call at 866-335-5220, or visit to get your copy of The Gospel Flipbook.

Now let's return to today's teaching on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Number two, you believe in His love for you in your darkest hour. You believe in His love for you in your darkest hour. You see, because Jesus faced utter aloneness, because He was rejected by God in my place, I, listen, never have to fear really being forsaken by God.

Because that's what the whole idea of substitution is. He took my place. He took my condemnation. He took any rejection, any aloneness that I deserved. He took it so now I can say, there is no condemnation for me who is in Christ Jesus.

Why? Because all the condemnation, the entire cup was taken by Jesus. For God to give me a cup of condemnation would act like Jesus hadn't done it. So now I say, there's no condemnation. It's not that God has just favorably disposed to me.

It's that there's nothing left. He took it all in my place so that now when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I can say, I fear no evil. Why? Because you are with me and you took the evil in my place. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Why? Because evil and wrath were taken by Jesus so goodness and mercy would be left for me. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

That's not a nursery rhyme. That is a reflection on what happened to Gethsemane. There's nothing left for me but goodness and mercy.

Nothing. I know many of you have gone through some tremendously terrible things and I knew that during those times it felt like God had abandoned you, like you were alone. You weren't.

This shows it. It's even popular among Christians. I've heard some say this, I'm just going through my Gethsemane. I do not mean to minimize your pain, but no, you are not. You will never have a Gethsemane.

Never. Because Jesus went through the only one. You will never be forsaken because he was forsaken so that you would never be. So when you say, where is God? Why didn't he stop this? Why didn't he do something?

I talked to a guy this week who said that. Where was God when my dad died? Where was God when the church that I was a part of turned its back on my mother, now a widow? Where was God?

Why wasn't he doing something about that? Gethsemane shows you that the one thing you never need to doubt is his love. This is where he was. John Owen said that in light of the cross, the greatest unkindness you could ever give to God is to doubt the intensity of his love for you. We do not understand all that God is doing in our darkest hour any more than the disciples understood what was happening here.

But we can never, we must never doubt his love. While we slept in sin, he voluntarily went into hell for us. You ever feel like God's sleeping in your life? You feel like, where's God? I feel like he's asleep.

See, what this garden shows you is actually the opposite. While you and I were sleeping comfortably in sin, that's the very moment that Jesus was awake all by himself. And that's where he went into hell voluntarily while you slept. So when you feel alone, when you feel like nobody cares, when you feel like you are forgotten, look to the God of Gethsemane. If God did not abandon you at this point, when hell was literally squeezing the life out of him, do you really think he would abandon you now? If you feel abandoned by God, you're wrong.

You have to be. You see, on a sunny hillside in Galilee, Jesus taught us to pray, our Father, who art in heaven. And then in the dark garden of Gethsemane, he taught us to pray, our Father, my Father, who has went through hell for me.

Therefore, I know that he can never forsake me. He never could because he didn't do it at this moment. Isaiah would ask it this way. Can a mother forget the baby at her breast or have no compassion on the child she's born?

Is that even possible? That's what Isaiah is asking. Is it even possible for a woman who just gave birth to a baby to be so callous and hard toward that baby that she forgets that baby? Isaiah answers this question, though she may forget. Maybe there's a situation where even that tender of a relationship, maybe there has been a situation where even that relationship had been forfeited, yet I will not ever forget you.

See, I've engraved you on the palms of my hands. You see, maybe you have been forgotten or forsaken by the most tender human relationship. Maybe it was your mother. Maybe it was your father. Maybe it was a spouse. Maybe it was a friend.

Maybe it was your child. But your God, your Father, this Savior, cannot and will not. He went through Gethsemane. He went through hell, and he has literally engraved you on the palms of his hands.

See from his head, his hands, his feet. Sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did e'er such love and sorrow meet? Or joy composed so rich a crown. Joy.

Joy of obtaining you. And so when you are discouraged and when you feel alone, when you feel abandoned, when you feel despondent, you have to come here. You have to come to the Garden of Gethsemane, and you have to preach the gospel that is presented here to yourself.

You've got to tell yourself, I feel abandoned, but I am not. The Gospel of Gethsemane proves it. When we say preach the gospel to yourself, that's what we're talking about. David modeled this for us in Psalm 103.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Some psalms are written to God. Some psalms are written to other people. Bless the Lord, all you people. Who did David write this psalm to?

Himself. Bless the Lord, not all my people or all my God, but bless the Lord, O my soul. Don't you forget his benefits, he's telling himself. What you've got to do is you got to come and say, bless the Lord, all my soul, don't forget his benefits. Like when I was asleep in sin, that's when he went into hell for me. When I was condemned, that's when he took my condemnation. And you've got to say to yourself, if he did not withhold his son in this moment, how would he not also freely with him give all things?

Is there any good thing he would withhold from those of us who know him? Can anything separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? You've got to preach the gospel to your despondent self. You need to stop listening, listen, you need to stop listening to your fearful, doubting heart and start preaching the gospel to it.

Listen, here's what people say. They're like, oh, well, you got to get in touch with yourself and kind of get down. That's the last thing you need to be getting in touch with. You don't want to be listening to what's going on out in there because that's a fallen heart and it will lie to you every single time. You've got to stop listening to your fearful heart and you've got to start preaching Gethsemane to your heart and do not mumble when you do it. Be long-winded if you have to.

Be longer winded than I am. And you defy those feelings of despondency with faith in the gospel of Gethsemane. And then you'll start to say things like this with Paul, in pain, though the outward man perishes, the inward man is being renewed day by day. Though I am poor, yet in him I am rich. Though I have nothing, yet in him I possess all things.

You stand amazed at his love for you demonstrated in his darkest hour, then you believe in his love for you in your darkest hour. Number three, what it means for our mission. We must read the Great Commission through the lens of Gethsemane. We've got to read the Great Commission through the lens of Gethsemane.

The Great Commission is that we would go and make disciples of all the nations. Many of you are going to have a chance to be able to engage somebody that is outside of God, outside of Christ with the gospel, with the invitation to come here and hear the gospel. And you need to understand that the God you are asking to give you help is the Savior of Gethsemane. Is there anything that you could ask that would exhaust the limits of his matchless love?

Do you realize what Gethsemane shows you about his willingness to save sinners? Is there anything too great to ask him? Is there any help you could not call on his name for? You and I do not honor Jesus by asking for small things. When he has gone through Gethsemane, we honor him by asking for large things. That's why John Newton, the writer of Amazing Grace, said, Thou art coming to a king, so with thee large petitions bring. For his grace and power are such that none can ever ask too much. Is there anything that you could not ask him that he would not give you help? Do you want to see him work in the life of your friends?

You want to see him work in your school? Why don't you come and take the gospel of Gethsemane seriously? And why don't you realize that this is the Savior who said, Ask of me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance. Is this Savior not ready?

Is he not worthy? Is he not willing to see the nations worship? Isaiah 53-11, God says, I will see the suffering of his soul and I will be satisfied.

You know what that means? It means there's nothing else you need to present to God that would coerce him to begin to work here on earth. He's satisfied in Jesus. There was one time I heard about one of our unreached people groups that it was a person not who wasn't from our church, but a person, a Christian servant over there that was martyred. And I was praying for that unreached people group shortly after that. And I said this to God, I said, God, this person has sacrificed their life.

Please on their behalf now, please pour out your power. It was one of those moments where I heard the Holy Spirit of God speak to my heart and he said this, I understand what you're going for. Do not insult my son by acting like there was something else that would move my heart for these people that was greater than the sacrifice my son gave. I will see the suffering of his soul and I will be satisfied. Jesus Christ shed his blood to the nations would worship.

So here's my question for you, Summit Church. Do the size of your prayers mirror the size of his sacrifice? Jesus did not die so that you could ask him small things. He died so that you could ask him large things. He did not die so you could ask him for trinkets.

He died so you could ask him for treasures. Do you pray boldly for big things? It's time to pray fearlessly for God's glory to be shown. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. If you happen to join us a little late today, you can listen to this entire message again when you visit us online at We have a wonderful new resource available to you today.

I told you about it a little earlier. It's called the Gospel Flip Book. Whether you've never read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, or maybe you've read them a hundred times, either way, we want to equip you to see the scriptures that tell us about Jesus and his ministry in a fresh, insightful way. This new flip book features a 40-day reading plan, details about the authors of the books and to whom they were written, key truths gleaned from each gospel, and some reflection questions and memory verses to help you apply the book's message to your life. We'll send you a copy of the Gospel Flip Book as our way of saying thanks for your generous support. You can also request the book when you make your first gift as a monthly gospel partner.

Gospel partners commit to regular giving and in a real sense, they're the backbone of this ministry. If you've been growing through this program, then why not join the team today? Give us a call at 866-335-5220. That number again is 866-335-5220.

Or you can give and request the book online at Your support is essential to our mission and we're so grateful for every contribution. I'm Molly Vidovich inviting you to join us tomorrow when we'll look at one of the most misunderstood statements that Jesus ever made. That's Tuesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 12:39:58 / 2023-04-17 12:50:41 / 11

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