For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
That terrible cry from the beginning of this psalm echoes through each verse—”My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And now enclosed by a hostile crowd spewing hatred at Him, in the midst of people who wanted Him dead, who mocked Him, spit on Him, rejected Him so soundly, on top of the agonizing pain from the wounds in His hands and His feet, is this greater ache, the greater pain of His Father turning away from Him. All these other things were so overwhelming, yet He endured, but this separation was unbearable. This was true agony, to be rent from the God who was a part of Him.
It was such a wretched mass of humanity that surrounded Jesus as He died upon that cross. The vilest hearts of men were revealed that day: convicted robbers, bloodthirsty religious leaders, the common people joining in, the dutiful soldiers born from an empire with a taste for cruelty. And all of our sin was part of that despicable sea that pursued Jesus to the cross and hammered in the nails. The wickedness of men clashed with the righteousness of God in a hillside battle for the souls of men.
The people stood beholding, literally surrounding Him, much different from the multitudes who’d thronged Him in the streets, trying to get a glimpse or a touch. Now He was untouchable. Nobody would come close. Now He let His power lie dormant as He submitted to the cross. All those others He had reached out to in love to heal, comfort, and soothe, and He had none of that for Himself—just those bleeding wounds and the empty place where His Father should be.
And He didn’t even deserve any of that. He was holy and righteous, sin-free, without a spot or blemish. He was perfection itself being so mangled for us, but that horde of people was not worthless to Him. He was there because of them, because of us. His love flowed red that day as He gave His all. Surely He understands pain and agony. Surely He understands suffering. Surely He understands what it is to be utterly alone in the midst of a crowd. So, yes, He will be with us when we experience those kinds of things ourselves. But much more than that, He died so we could be united with the Father and never have to experience that heartbreaking separation from Him ourselves.