Every Good Friday, Christian pastors stand in their pulpits and tell the biggest lie of the Christian faith.
In their zeal to overstate the suffering of Jesus – as if being tortured and nailed to a cross for six hours isn’t bad enough – they will attempt to convince people in the pews that Jesus also experienced a spiritual separation from the Father and that, for the first time in all Eternity, the bond between Father and Son was severed.
This is never taught anywhere in the Bible.
Next, they will add one last insult by confidently asserting that the Father turned His face away from Jesus in that same moment because of all of that awful sin – your sins and mine – that were laid upon him.
But…there isn’t one single verse – not one hint, anywhere – that the Father turned away from Jesus at any time.
It’s just not there.
And yet, somehow, in hundreds of thousands of Christian Churches across the globe, where pastors routinely claim to teach/preach ONLY what the Bible says and not what they wish it said, or any man-made doctrines, they will quite ironically do exactly that.
Where is the verse that claims the Father and the Son were ever separated from one another?
Where is the scripture that affirms that the Father turned His face away from the Son?
There aren’t any verses that say these things.
Yet no one ever challenges these outright lies or questions this fabricated narrative.
Every Good Friday, and every Easter, preachers, teachers and pastors repeat this absolute fairy tale theology over and over again until no one questions it and everyone believes it’s the Gospel truth.
But, it’s not. It’s a big, fat, huge lie.
The closest thing to a proof text for these two huge lies is found only in one place, and even then it says nothing even close to what pastors try to make it say.
Here’s the verse: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabaktanei?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
That’s it. One verse found only in one Gospel that never mentions:
*Separation from God
*The Father turning away from Jesus
*The spiritual pain of being separated from God
*Our sins creating a division between God and Jesus
Can you believe it?
What’s even more astounding is what happens when you trace the quote from Jesus here to Psalm 22, where it orginates. Once there you’ll see plenty of other references in that chapter to events that closely mirror the suffering Jesus was undergoing in that moment:
“…they pierce my hands and my feet.” [v. 16]
“…They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” [v.18]
Wow. That’s pretty amazing. Jesus quotes the first line of a well-known Hebrew worship song while on the cross which predicts his own crucifixion.
But, let’s keep reading that same chapter in Psalms to see if there are any other clues about why Jesus might have referenced it. If we do we’ll read this startling statement:
“For God has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” [v.24]
Anyone who halfway tries to study the reference Jesus makes to Psalm 22 cannot help but notice that the Scriptures deny the idea that God would turn his face away from Jesus as they pierce his hands and his feet, and as they divide his clothing and cast lots for his garment. No! It emphatically and decisively proclaims that God HAS NOT HIDDEN HIS FACE FROM HIM!
What more proof do we need?
How about what Jesus himself says?
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” [John 16:32]
So, if your pastor or Sunday School teacher tries to convince you that Jesus experienced separation from God on the cross, or that the Father turned his face away from Jesus as he was being crucified, feel free to challenge their poor scholarship.
Better yet, urge them to preach the truth rather than spread lies. Encourage them to preach what the scriptures actually teach:
“That God was in Christ not counting our sins against us but reconciled the World to Himself” [2 Cor. 5:19]
“God is love and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” [1 John 4:16]
The love of God is higher, wider, longer, deeper and beyond imagination. [See Eph. 3]
Nothing will ever separate you from God’s awesome love. [See Romans 8]
God’s reaction to our sins is not revulsion or rejection or separation. Far from it. God’s reaction to sin is simply this: Forgiveness.
You are forgiven.
The sins of the world have been wiped clean!
The world is now reconciled to God!
That’s Good News. That’s the meaning of Good Friday.
We murdered God’s Son. God and His Son forgave us before it even happened.
Believe the Truth. Accept no substitutes.
Keith Giles is the author of the 7-part best-selling “Jesus Un” book series from Quoir Publishing. His latest -and final book – in this series, Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince Of Peace Disarms Our Violence is available now. Keith is also the host of Second Cup with Keith [a new solo podcast available now on the Ethos Radio App, for Apple and Android and on Spotify; and the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast [along with co-hosts Matthew Distefano, Dr. Katy Valentine, and Derrick Day], and the new Apostate’s Anonymous podcast with Matthew Distefano. He and his wife, Wendy, currently live in El Paso, TX.