Why did God abandon Jesus on the cross?

Matthew and Mark, the only Gospels that record this incident in detail, note that Jesus Christ felt forsaken by God without explaining why (see Matthew 26: 46; Mark 15:34).

Later, commentators began to explore the imponderable; suggesting a variety of explanations why Jesus Christ, innocent and guiltless, experienced complete separation from the Father at this horrific moment.

Some scholars and theologians suggest that the Father could not bear to witness the death of His beloved Son and therefore, turned aside at the moment of Jesus’ final suffering. Others hypothesize that the Father had to leave, a divine fiat, so Jesus Christ could accomplish the atonement completely alone. Finally, some postulate that Jesus was completely abandoned by God the same as all sinners because Jesus Christ suffered and died in our place (see Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).

Why the Father forsook Jesus Christ, as He died a terrible death on the cross, is worthy of continued thoughtful reflection. What is clearly the case, regardless of what we may not yet fully answer, is that the Father is perfect in every attribute–and He would not allow that forsaken moment had it not been to work to His unchanging purpose: the eternal good of His Son and all of His children, including each one of us.