I have heard a million sermons about the nails and the thorns, and granted, the physical agony of crucifixion is a ghastly thing, but there have been thousands of people who have died on the cross and who have had more horrible painful excruciating deaths than that. But only one has received the full measure of the curse of death. I doubt that Jesus is even aware of the nails and the spear, He was so overwhelmed by the outer darkness. Dear friends, on the cross Jesus is in Hell! Right there. Totally bereft of the grace and presence of God, utterly separated from all blessedness of the Father. He becomes a curse for you, so that you someday will be able to see the face of God. So that the light of his countenance will fall on you, God turned His back on His Son. No wonder He screamed, He screamed from the depths of His soul.
- R C Sproul
His sufferings were far from consisting in mere corporal afflictions, with such impressions upon his soul and spirit as were the effects and issues only of them. It was no more nor less than the curse of the law of God which he underwent for us: for he freed us from the curse by being made a curse.
- John Owen
The whole of it evinces the truth of Christ's human nature, that he was in all things made like unto his brethren; that he had a human soul, and endured sorrows and sufferings in it, of which this of desertion was not the least: the heinousness of sin may be learnt from hence, which not only drove the angels out of heaven, and Adam out of the garden, and separates, with respect to communion, between God and his children; but even caused him to hide his face from his own Son, whilst he was bearing, and suffering for the sins of his people.
- John Gill
Had there been no deeper and more awful sufferings, it would be difficult to see why Jesus should have shrunk from these sorrows, and used such a remarkable expression. Isaiah tells us, (Isa 53:4,5) "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, Gal 3:13, he was made a sin-offering, 2Cor 5:21 he died in our place, on our account, that he might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, which caused his intense sufferings. It was the manifestation of God's hatred of sin to his soul, in some way which he has not explained, that he experienced in that dread hour. It was suffering, endured by him, that was due to us; and suffering by which, and by which alone, we can be saved from eternal death.
- Albert Barnes
"Why hast thou forsaken me?" We must lay the emphasis on every word of this saddest of all utterances. "Why?" what is the great cause of such a strange fact as for
God to leave his own Son at such a time and in such a plight? There was no cause in him, why then was he deserted? Hast:" it is done, and the Saviour is feeling its dread effect as he asks the question; it is surely true, but how mysterious! It was no threatening of forsaking which made the great Surety cry aloud, he endured that forsaking in very deed. "Thou:" I can understand why traitorous Judas and timid Peter should be gone, but thou, my God, my faithful friend, how canst thou leave me? This is worst of all, yea, worse than all put together. Hell itself has for its fiercest flame the separation of the soul from God. "Forsaken: " if thou hadst chastened I might bear it, for thy face would shine; but to forsake me utterly, ah! why is this? "Me: " thine innocent, obedient, suffering Son, why leavest thou me to perish? A sight of self seen by penitence, and of Jesus on the cross seen by faith will best expound this question. Jesus is forsaken because our sins had separated between us and our God.
- Charles Spurgeon