In the ultimate act of selflessness and love, Jesus was separated from His Father for six hours. That’s how long He hung on a cross, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a Friday. Jesus, the Creator in the flesh carrying all of humanity’s sins, past, present, and future, on His shoulders, had allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified just as prophets had foretold hundreds of years before.
Without this act of separation, heaven for us would not happen. During those six hours, Jesus, though He Himself was sinless, was banished from the presence of His Father. The reason? Until Jesus died, all those sins He carried were unforgiven, and could not be in God’s presence. And so, “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Jesus knew the answer. He knew this separation was caused by the sin he was carrying, and he knew that sin could not enter the presence of the Holy One. But in His distress, and still being in the form of a man, Jesus reacted the same way anyone would who felt abandoned by someone they loved. But in a complete act of submission He uttered the words “Not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Next came Jesus’ three days of separation from His followers. What a time of intense confusion it must have been as His disciples reflected on Christ’s teachings and His words that He would rise again after three days (Mark 9:30-32). What a time of sadness and abandonment they must have felt after losing the One who they had seen raise the dead, give sight to the blind, calm the storm, feed the 5,000, walk on water, allow Peter to walk on water, and so many more miracles that were not recorded (John 20:30-31). The disciples’ fears were multiplied by the fact that even though Jesus had told them He would rise again, they didn’t understand.
I wonder if Christ’s three-day separation from nature had any effect on creation. I wonder if the animals, sky, seas, rocks, and mountains knew that the body of their Creator was buried behind a stone. Psalm 150:6, Job 12:7-10, and Luke 19:40 indicate that humans are not the only part of God’s creation that knows Him.
Jesus’ separation from God for six hours, and Jesus’ separation from His creation for three days were two of the darkest times in history for Him and all of creation. But without either of these events, there would have been no resurrection, no celebration of a new life, and no hope for us. Thank You, Jesus, for taking on a job that no one else and nothing else could have accomplished, the sacrifice and separation of yourself from those You loved, making salvation possible for all.
Have a great week!
Barrett Vanlandingham is the Youth Minister at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ. Reach him at (918) 478-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.