Why Did Jesus Suffer So Much on the Cross?

Jesus' suffering on the cross was surely in part physical.  The tortures to which his body was subjected must have felt indescribably painful, to say the least.  The son of God being tortured by us humans, all of us sinners who were 'not good enough even to carry his sandals' [from  Matthew 3:11] and 'a people of unclean lips' [from Isaiah 6:5] must also have been a horrifying concept mentally. However, this is not the sum total of the incalculable sacrifice that was made when Jesus died for us. Instead, by far biggest suffering must have been the spiritual pain experienced when his Father had seemed to desert him in his final moments on the cross: 
At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?"
Mark 15:34

Jesus had clearly had more than an inkling of how horrible this would be, because he had previously prayed in the Garden of Gesthemane to have God's work done some alternative way if it was consistent with what God wanted (it wasn't):
"Father", he prayed, "my Father! All things are possible for you.  Take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet not what I want, but what you want."
Mark 14:36

What happened on the cross is that Jesus took on all the sins of the world.  Imagine how this would look to God (and Jesus), both of them sinless perfect beings.  It would be absolutely horrifying.  It seems far less scary to us because we are already full of sin.  God turned himself away from Jesus because he could not bear to look.  How you would feel if your own father had to turn away from you in horror and disgust? The spiritual abandonment Jesus experienced at that moment was worse than any amount of physical torture.  This is why Jesus suffered so much on the cross.

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