When Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” He was not asking, “Why have you left me forever?” Jesus knew He was leaving the world and going to the Father (John 14:28, 16:10, 17). Jesus was not rejecting God. He repeats, “My God.” Jesus knew that He was dying for our sins.
Jesus’ cry is a quotation from Psalm 22, a Psalm in which the psalmist asks why God is so far from helping him, why God delays in rescuing him.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.
Jesus, in his human nature, knew He would have to suffer and to die. But in his human consciousness He probably didn’t know how long the suffering would take. To bear the guilt of millions for a moment would cause great anguish. To face the wrath of God for an instant would be more than any of us could bear. But Jesus’ suffering was not for a minute, or a couple minutes, or even half an hour. In His humanity, He didn’t know when it would end. Hour after hour, the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus. Jesus, I believe, is asking, “Why must this go on for so long? Will it ever end?”
Then finally, He had borne all the wrath of the Father against our sins. God’s wrath on sin was appeased. He knew all that remained was to give up His spirit and die. At that point, He cried out in victory, “It is finished!” which means “Paid in Full.” At the cross, the wrath of God was fully satisfied. Then Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” and breathed his last (Luke 23:46).
Our salvation is free…but oh, so costly. We must never take our purchase price for granted.