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"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34) appears to be a quote from Tehillim 22.2. Was Jesus saying G-D had forsaken him? Or was he merely quoting from Tehillim (Psalms) 22.2 (as an expression of Praise in his hour of death)?

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  • Why do you say merely ?
    – Lucian
    Jan 22 '18 at 11:59

15 Answers 15

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Jesus is directly quoting the first line of Psalm 22:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

Psalm 22: ESV

The Psalm describes crucifixion centuries before the Romans developed it as a method of capital punishment. It also forecasts details which were out of the ordinary in the case of Jesus' crucifixion.

Compare 22:7,8 with Matthew 27:41-43

All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” -- Ps 22:7,8

Finds its fulfillment in:

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” -- Matt 27:41-43

A pre-Roman description of crucifixion

In 22:14,15 the description in the Psalm is an apt description of crucifixion which includes disjointed shoulders and dehydration

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. -- Ps 22:14,15

This finds fulfillment in John 19:28. Notice the John points out Jesus is fulfilling scripture by thirsting.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” -- John 19:28

Noteworthy details in the case of Jesus

In another very striking parallel, Gentiles gamble for his clothes (Dogs is a slur for Gentiles) after piercing his hands and feet. Compare 22:16,17 with Matthew 27:35

For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. -- Ps 22:16,17

This finds fulfillment when the Roman soldiers decide not to tear his one-piece garment, but rather cast lots for it while he hangs, naked on a cross.

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. -- Matt 27:35

Is Jesus is prophesying and fulfilling prophecy?

It may be that Jesus is prophesying. He is calling his countrymen's attention to the fact that he is literally fulfilling the scriptures as they watch. During much of his teaching Jesus is aware that he is fulfilling the scriptures and claims to be doing so. Perhaps this is one extraordinary example.

Is Jesus crying out to God because he feels forsaken?

Surely. Jesus is expressing the same anguish expressed by David in his Psalm. After all, the weight of the world is upon him.

Has the Father abandoned him?

It should not be made too much of that he says "why have you forsaken me?" because this is a Psalm of lament, a genre which expresses human emotions such as despair rather than makes full theological statements.

It is common in the Psalms to ask why God has done something and then reaffirm that God is faithful. It is an emotional poetic form which expresses doubt and then answers that doubt by reaffirming God's character.

Wikipedia (quoting John Day in his commentary of the Psalms), describing Psalms of Lament: "They typically open with an invocation of Yahweh, followed by the lament itself and pleas for help, and often ending with an expression of confidence. A subset is the psalm of confidence, in which the psalmist expresses confidence that God will deliver him from evils and enemies."

The expression of confidence happens in verse 24:

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. --Ps 22:24

This is one good reason not build an entire doctrine (God has forsaken Jesus) on a single emotional expression.

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  • Excellent answer
    – snoopy
    Mar 20 at 23:38
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The key to understanding Matt 27:46 is found in Ps 5:4 -

For You are not a God who delights in wickedness; no evil can dwell with You.

At the moment Jesus cried out, " ... why have you forsaken me?" he had become "sin for us" as per 2 Cor 5:21 -

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

This is known, in technical "theology-speak" as "Christ's imputed sin" via the great divine exchange. We see this referenced several times in Scripture as:

  • Heb 9:28 - so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him. [That is, at the cross, Jesus was sent to "bear sins of many".]
  • Isa 53: 4, 5, 12 - Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. ... because He has poured out His life unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors. Yet He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
  • Gal 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.

That is, Jesus was treated as we deserve so that we can be treated as He deserved.

Thus, Jesus' "becoming sin" means that God (as per Ps 5:4 quoted above) turned His face away. The wicked who do not accept Jesus' atonement on their behalf do not have this benefit and thus a frightened by the presence of God, unlike the righteous who are delighted. Note the difference between the two groups as described when Jesus returns:

  • Righteous: Isa 25:9 - In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."
  • Wicked: Rev 6:15-17 - Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”

As the bearer of sin, Christ felt what every unsaved sinner would experience without the grace and atonement of Christ - separation from the Father.

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  • @ Dottard : Psalm 5:4 Says about God, “No one bad may reside for any time with you.” Why, then, did God allow Satan to remain in heaven for millenniums and even to come into His presence on occasion?​ Jesus’ cry of agony may have brought to his listeners’ minds the many things prophesied about him in the rest of Ps 22​—that he would be mocked, derided, and attacked in his hands and feet and that his garments would be divided by lot.​—Ps 22:6-8, 16, 18. I did not downvote. Sep 8 at 9:19
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I don't believe Jesus Christ was forsaken at all, He felt forsaken. On that cross Jesus quoted Psalm 22, specifically verse 1 which is referenced at Matthew 27:46.

Although the words of this Psalm were indeed prophetic of Christ's future crucifixion, it is important to note that David's immediate reason for writing them was to describe his own feelings of forsakeness while he was being hunted down and persecuted by King Saul.

Just to highlight some of David's words. Vs7, "All who see me sneer at me. Vs12, Many bulls surround me." Vs14, I am poured out like water; And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me." Vs15, "My tongue clings to my jaws." Vs16, "For the dogs have surrounded me." They pierced my hands and feet." Vs18, "They divide my garments."

Verse 19, "But Thou O Lord, be not far off; O Thou my help hasten to my assistance. Vs21, "Save me from the lion's mouth; And from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me." David now begins to praise the Lord. Vs22, I will tell of Thy name to my brethren." VS24, "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; NEITHER HAS HE HIDDEN HIS FACE FROM HIM." But when he cried to Him for help, He heard."

How many of us have been in situations of "peril" crying out to God thinking He is not there and has abandoned us? I know I have when I was in Vietnam in 1968, it was absolutely horrible most of the time.

What did Jesus say at John 16:32? "Behold, the hour is coming and has already come; for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone, and yet I AM NOT ALONE, BECAUSE THE FATHER IS WITH ME." 2 Corinthians 5:19, "namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."

And yes, I to was taught the idea that God the Father could not look upon sin, and He turned His back on His Son. I believe it's based on 2 Corinthians 5:21. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." This means that God the Father treated the sinless Son as though He were a sinner.

Romans 8:3, "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemmned sin in the flesh." Finally, there is one more view point on this issue. That is that Jesus on that cross is saying to His Father, "Why did you forsake to this cross?" It's a rhetorical question.

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  • It's a rhetorical question. Yeah, sure, about to die on the cross, pierced hands and feet, Jesus had the leasure for a "rhetorical question" ... Jun 20 at 8:20
  • I question the veracity of your opening statements in view of the fact that the sun was darkened for 3 hours as evidence of God turning away.
    – Dottard
    Jun 20 at 12:18
  • I believe you are spot on! Most people do not keep reading in the psalm; context, context, context! This psalm is like others that go from lament to praise for I believe that they model the truth of humanity and deity within the person of Messiah. In His humanity, of course it would feel like He was forsaken but as the psalm goes on the psalmist understands the character of His God and asserts that no way has He turned His face away. Just because Jesus audibly quotes verse 1 does not mean He didn't pray verse 24. Good answer! +1
    – alb
    Jun 20 at 13:26
  • @Dottard Your entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to mine. I found the following article to be informative. Please let me know what you think. easyenglish.bible/bible-study/jesus-life/…
    – Mr. Bond
    Jun 20 at 18:46
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Matthew 27:46

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

In what sense did the Father forsake Son?

By saying those words Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy Psalm 22:1 "My God, my God, why have You forsaken."NASB. Secondly, Jesus' words made it clear that God was not keeping a protective hedge around his son. And that his Father had released him fully into the hands of his enemies so that he could be tested to the limit

Job 1:10 NET

10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land.

Jesus cry "My God, MY God", calling out loud to his Heavenly Father, acknowledging him as his God, Jesus fulfilled, Psalm 21: 1-6. 16,18 Please Read :

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms%2022%20%3A1-6%2C%2016%2C18&version=NASB,ESV,AMP

Jesus’ cry of agony may have brought to his listeners’ minds the many things prophesied about him in the rest of Ps 22​—that he would be mocked, derided, and attacked in his hands and feet and that his garments would be divided by lot.​—

Did Jesus’ words “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” indicate a lack of faith on his part? No. While we cannot be sure of Jesus’ motives for saying this, his words may indicate that Jesus recognized that God had taken His protection away so that His Son’s integrity could be fully tested. It is also possible that Jesus said this because he wanted to fulfill what Psalm 22:1 foretold regarding him.​

Footnotes Amplified Bible, Paslm 22

Psalm 22:1 This psalm may have been prayed by Jesus when He was on the cross. It begins with, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” and ends with a thought of finality. The psalm is quoted in Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34; and alluded to in Matt 27:35, 39, 43 and John 19:23, 24, 28 as being fulfilled at Christ’s crucifixion.

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He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears ...

Of course Jesus felt abandoned on the cross, of course he cried and shed tears, just as we read! Only eisegesis, warped theology and peculiar prejudice prevent some from seeing what we plainly read.

If we denied that Jesus suffered, not only physically, but also mentally, we would simply deny that he was truly man.

Otherwise, inevitably, we transform Incarnation itself in some kind of "sacred representation", of "comedy", "pedagogical action" by God towards Humanity, without any true sharing of "human condition", in spite of every well-meaning apologetic effort. We have to confront the apparent notion of "cruelty" in God the Father, even towards His Beloved Son.

This apparent "cruelty" is the true key to understanding the Sacrifice of the Cross. We must think of Jesus who, as reads the Letter to the Hebrews, "Although he was a son, he learned [emathen] obedience through the things he suffered [epathen]" (Heb 5:8), who at Gethsemane prays that He be spared the bitter cup (but only "if it is still possible"), who reminds one of those with him at the Gethsemane (probably Peter) that he could ask the Father to send 12 legions of angels to free Him, but "How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?” (Matt 26:53-54). Jesus who in the supreme moment does not resort to His relationship with God the Father in any form other than obedience. Who affirms His Regality only by means of His Word. Who knows well the precariousness and unreliability of every human solidarity, even from one’s most trusted friends. Who finally, so His humanity can manifest itself in the fullness of its limits, is and feels totally abandoned by God to death, and like every human being faces the supreme moment with that fear of the unknown that every human being must experience and that God Father, abandoning Him totally to death, interrupting the intimacy with which He has always supported Him, lets Him taste in all its horror.

This is the Jesus who, "approved by God”, is resurrected by God. He has defied death and He has conquered it not because, inasmuch as Son of God, He could only win, but because, "first of the resurrected" God has put Him as a Guide of Humanity until the final Victory. Jesus has received from God, His Father, a mission to accomplish. He has gradually understood it and freely accepted it, up to the Sacrifice of His Life. We must think that Jesus could have failed, but that he endured to the end, for our Love.

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This statement was taken directly from the first verse of Davids Psalm 22 which acts as a prophetic foretelling of Christ crucification - and resurrection

22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Its important that you understand Jesus is quoting from scripture when he makes this statement and the statement shouldn't be understood on its own but rather in the full context of the total message of Psalm 22 which he is referencing. It is basically him "pointing" to the scripture which prophesises what is happening

The Psalm starts out from a state of persecution, total overwhelming pain and a cry out to God as to why he has allowed this. The exact point Jesus is when he says this. From this perspective you could say God has "temporarily forsaken" him - to allow his being given over into torment and death. But this was a requirement for his Messianic mission - that he be tortured and die to take on the consequence of sin - and one he took on willingly but God did have to release protection around him in order for it to take place. Jesus is calling out from this point when his torture and punishment has reached its climax in order to point towards the prophetic Psalm 22.

The next lines of the Psalm then goes on to specifically list out the things that subsequently happen to Jesus. His torture, the piercing of his hands and feet to fix him to the cross, the casting of lots for his clothes and finally his death.

13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. 15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce[e] my hands and my feet. 17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

But the Psalm then transitions from his torture, torment and death on the cross - to his resurection and exhaultation stating that even though Jesus dies God has not hidden his face from him but has heard his cries and exhaulted him to the highest place. It goes on to list how all of the ends will bow before him and praise him and he will be exhaulted and have dominon over all nations. That everyone who dies - and goes down into the dust will have to kneel before him.

24 For he 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. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

The last line of the Psalm is "He has done it". But I think Jesus said it best ..... it is finished.

In conclusion this statement said by Jesus on the cross should essentially be understood as him pointing to the totality of Psalm 22 which explains exactly what it is he has done through the cross and why he has done it not simply him saying God had forsaken him.

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  • Well said - however you might add something to specifically answer the Q for the sake of clarity. And Welcome! +1
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 11:33
  • How does this answer the question?
    – Dottard
    Jun 21 at 21:37
  • Its explcitly stated in the third paragraph. God had to temporarily forsake Jesus to allow him to die as part of the messianic mission. Its important though to highlight Jesus statement was not primarily about that. Jesus was quoting a very specific prophetic scripture - this is the first line from that scripture. You need to understand the totality of that scripture to actually understand what he was pointing too through the statement. Its like someone quoting the first line to a poem - and you getting fixated on one line not realizing he wants you to read and understand the whole thing.
    – Marshall
    Jun 23 at 16:27
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I don't think it's to find any support for the former option in the rest of the New Testament. (In penal substitution atonement theory, I believe there is some sense in which the Son was separated from the Father, but this can only be justified on external grounds, not from the writings of the New Testament.)

It seems far more likely that Jesus is quoting the Psalm, and not just that verse, but the entirety of it. Christ's immediate situation fits Psalm 22:1 quite well, but I think more significantly he is looking forward especially to the realization of verses 27 through 31, which speak to Israel's vocation as a light to all nations, and their eventual repentance.

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In one patristic Christian understanding, Jesus quotes the Psalm here to show that He is truly human.

Theophylact summarizes:

[He shows] that He was truly man, and not just in appearance. For man avidly desires life and has a physical appetite for it. Just as Christ agonized and was sorely troubled before the cross, showing the fear that is ours by nature, so now He says, "Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" displaying our natural thirst for life. For He was truly man and like us in all respects, but without sins.1

An alternative explanation (also summarized by Theophylact) is that He was speaking out as a lament for the Jews, who would be handed over to destruction for what they had done:

For as Christ was one of the Jews, He said, "forsaken Me," meaning, "Why hast thou forsaken my kinsmen, My people, that they should bring such a great evil upon themselves.2


1. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew (Chrysostom Press, 1992), p.248
2. Ibid.

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I guess, the discussion of the passage should start from the Christological premises: who is Jesus and can He be abandoned by the Father, and if no, in what sense, and if yes, in what sense?

From the Gospels we know that He is God's only-Begotten Son, the term "only-Begotten" meaning that He is not a part of the creation, for all the rest - even the highest angels, seraphs and cherubs etc. and all the heavenly hosts + humans - are not "begotten" but created, and that He is always together with the Father in Heavens even after the Incarnation (in fact, John 3:13: "the Son of Man, who is in Heaven" is said with exactly the same power as Matt. 6:9 "Our Father, who are in Heaven"). Moreover, the Fathership and Sonship of divine Persons denote pre-creational relationship, and as such, pre-temporal, or supra-temporal, i.e. eternal one, for the time came to existence only together with the created universe measured by it, and since that unbreachable relationship is eternal, it is also necessary, and thus the Son is God in no lesser sense than the Father (John 1:1-2). Thus, it is ontologically impossible for the divine Person, Hypostasis of the Son to be abandoned by the Divine Hypostasis of the Father.

Having established that, we can move to the analysis of the passage, and multiple plausible interpretations are possible. For example, as being fully man, for He accepted the entire human nature, He can speak as a man, that He as a man is abandoned by the justice and mercy of God, which every man should have from other men: that is to say, God cannot wish a just man to be sadistically killed on a cross; God cannot wish that a judicial authority - the procurator Pilate - would act unjustly by condemning to death a person, while being convinced in his innocence (Luke 23:4); God cannot wish that people, instead of showing mercy and compassion to the one, who did so many good deeds on their behalf, callously deride him at the time of his torture, as it is described in the Gospels.

Thus, Jesus as the Logos of God is with the Father even while hanging on the cross, but as a man, or more precisely, as the divine Person who made human nature His own, and inseparably so, He is not shown a godly treatment from His own nation, He is abandoned from being treated in a due, godly way - as the Son of God, as the true Messiah and the true King of the Eternal Kingdom.

Thus, "God, why have you abandoned me?" - that is to say, "Why it is that I am not understood by my own people? Not treated as I should be treated according to Your - and My - will? Why, instead, I undergo those horrible sufferings? Why am I abandoned from Your "will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven", and thus on earth is happening that, which cannot be Your - and Our - will, because even a small sin cannot be Your will, but here happens not a small sin, but a sin of an infinite dimension - for they are subjecting to a sadistic torture and death Your only-begotten Son, who showed them innumerable benevolences - healings, feedings, expulsions of demons, forgiveness of sins, resurrections of the dead; and it cannot be God's will that He is abandoned even by His disciples - except for John - who had not enough love towards Him as to comfort Him by their courageous presence at His final hours.

Thus, while saying "God why do You abandon Me", Jesus does not mean that He is abandoned by the Father, for He is not and, moreover, cannot be ever separated from the Father, but that He is abandoned by God's will as working in the people, in humans around Him, for due to the people's stony hearts, God's will is not working in them, and therefore Jesus as man, as the divine Person in human nature is also abandoned by God in this sense, undergoing unspeakable sufferings, which He could have escaped had God's will been done.

Eventually, since His divine Person/Hypostasis is in an integral unity with His human nature ever after the Incarnation, we can say, that "God had suffered" and "God was abandoned" without any qualms and with a full theological justification.

Not to forget about the quotation of the Psalm 22: yes, Jesus definitely quotes it, and with a purpose to show, that the Psalmist prophesied about Him many centuries ago. In fact, Jesus claims that not only here, but in many other passages, that Psalms - and not only Psalms, but other divinely inspired prophetic books of the Jewish tradition - prophesize about Him personally (cf. Luke 24:45, or Matt 22:45), and this particular Psalm is most clearly doing so, for in the same psalm also is said: "they pierced my hands and my feet", and "they divide my clothes and cast lot on my garment" (Psalm 22:16-18) - which all happened with a photographical exactitude, for His hands and feet were pierced by nails, His clothes divided, and on His garment the Roman soldiers threw lots (Matt 27:35). And abandoned He was also, in the sense explained above.

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  • Interesting answer. But what about Psalm 22? That's what the question asked about.
    – cdjc
    Jan 23 '18 at 18:44
  • @cdjc Thanks, I just have concentrated on the theology/ontology of the issue and not the textual prophesy, just as if the question was "Did Plato regard in 6th book of the Republic the idea of Good as beyond existence?" and I have explained how the "beyond existence" differs from "existence", without dealing with specifically that concrete passage of the "Republic". I will add this part also, that Jesus indicates that the Psalmist prophesied about Him (also in other expressions, like "they pierced my hands and feet" and "threw lots on my clothes" as in the same Psalm's 16-18 verses. Jan 23 '18 at 19:24
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At this point in Matthew's narrative (27:39-50) he tells us of the attitudes, ideas and words of those involved with or observing Jesus' death to compare and contrast them to Jesus' own attitudes, ideas and words regarding his death. Ostensibly there is a language barrier but the incident was either concocted or included because the misunderstanding of his prayer allows Matthew to reveal how they didn't "get" what was going on. They all imagined that the Jewish and Roman establishment were in charge and that Jesus wanted to be rescued from death BUT in reality God was in charge Jesus wanted to be rescued by God through death. This passage is tightly coupled with his prayer in Gethsemane and his arrest in the previous chapter.

He was taunted and challenged to escape from his predicament in a challenge with a strong parallel with that of the devil:

Mat 27:39 Those who passed by kept insulting him, shaking their heads, Mat 27:40 and saying, "You who were going to destroy the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days—save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"

Mat 4:2 After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, he finally became hungry. Mat 4:3 Then the tempter came. "Since you are the Son of God," he said, "tell these stones to become loaves of bread." Mat 4:4 But he answered, "It is written, 'One must not live on bread alone, but on every word coming out of the mouth of God.'"

In both situations Jesus does not save himself, not because he can't but because he mustn't. His obedience was not only "to the cross" but "as far as death on the cross" (Phil 2):

Mat 26:52 Jesus told him, "Put your sword back in its place! Everyone who uses a sword will be killed by a sword. Mat 26:53 Don't you think that I could call on my Father, and he would send me more than twelve legions of angels now? Mat 26:54 How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?"

His failure to be rescued by God (or Elijah) is derided as proof positive that he's not the son of God:

Mat 27:41 In the same way the high priests, along with the scribes and elders, were also making fun of him. They kept saying, Mat 27:42 "He saved others but can't save himself! He is the king of Israel. Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. Mat 27:43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him, if he wants to do so now. After all, he said 'I am the Son of God.'" Mat 27:44 In a similar way, the bandits who were being crucified with him kept insulting him.

In his "darkest hour" he utters a prayer that is mistakenly interpreted as a call to Elijah to come and save him:

Mat 27:45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. Mat 27:46 About three o'clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eli, eli, lema sabachthani?", which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Mat 27:47 When some of the people standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling for Elijah."

But in reality he was praying to God asking him, why, despite his fervent prayers to die quickly he is still alive and suffering. My translation: "My God, my God, why have you left me here in the lurch?":

God's Word translation: Heb 5:7 During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears, and he was heard because of his devotion to God.

Some responded to his "plea" with pity. Again, this shows that they did not understand his mission:

Mat 27:48 So one of the men ran off at once, took a sponge, and soaked it in some sour wine. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink of wine in order to dull his pain. He tasted it but did not drink it.

The fact that he tasted but did not drink becomes a simile of the fact that he would likewise "taste death" but not drink to the dregs the contents of the "cup" of the "pangs of death":

Heb_2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Others either suggested that it was still an open question whether or not he would be saved OR mocked because they believed his death to be inevitable:

Mat 27:49 But the others kept saying, "Wait! Let's see if Elijah will come and save him."

After his prayer and the symbolic "taste", Jesus' prayers were answered and he supernaturally died:

Mat 27:50 Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice again and died.

His death was so inexplicable to the soldiers that it was doubly ensured by piercing his side with a spear:

Mar 15:44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. Mar 15:45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

Joh 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. Joh 19:32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. Joh 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Joh 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. Joh 19:35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. Joh 19:36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken."

So while the reason he was not understood when he uttered his prayer may have been a language issue, an acoustics issue or even a miraculous obstruction, the literary/religious purpose was to show that he was not a "victim" in the sense of being helpless to prevent his misuse but rather committed to obey God to the end and to escape his torment by a supernatural death, and thus fulfill Ps 22:

Psa 22:19 But thou, O Lord, remove not my help afar off: be ready for mine aid. Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten one from the power of the dog. Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth; and regard my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. Psa 22:22 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise to thee. Psa 22:23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye seed of Jacob, glorify him: let all the seed of Israel fear him. Psa 22:24 For he has not despised nor been angry at the supplication of the poor; nor turned away his face from me; but Psa 22:19 But thou, O Lord, remove not my help afar off: be ready for mine aid. Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten one from the power of the dog. Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth; and regard my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. Psa 22:22 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise to thee. Psa 22:23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye seed of Jacob, glorify him: let all the seed of Israel fear him. Psa 22:24 For he has not despised nor been angry at the supplication of the poor; nor turned away his face from me; but when I cried to him, he heard me.

Note that the Psalm specifically rejects the idea that God "turned away" from Jesus (which is the way most understand "why have you forsaken me") but "heard" (answered) his earnest Gethsemane pleas.

Note: I think that all of the quotes are from NIV unless otherwise noted except the last which is KJV. I'm uncertain because I copied this from my answer on another post, here: Why did the bystanders at the cross misunderstand Jesus in Matthew 27:46-47?

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He didn't.

In this answer, the terms 'Father' and 'God' refer to the same entity - meaning Jesus' Father and God are one and the same.

Some believe Jesus was forsaken by his Father while on the cross. Indeed he felt many things that brought deep pain and anguish in the lead up to the cross. Hard as it was to 'take the cup of suffering', he finally did so because he trusted in his Father - no other reason. Him being forsaken by his Father is completely untrue. When we understand what Jesus was talking about when he quoted scripture, we can understand why he said this.

Jesus was quoting the beginning of Ps 22. He knew that all the Jews knew these Psalms well - perfectly!

Much of the Psalm points to what Jesus experienced.

A disgrace of mankind and despised by the people. All who see me deride me;

You have been my God from my mother’s womb

I am poured out like water, My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a piece of pottery, And my tongue clings to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. They pierced my hands and my feet. They divide my garments among them, And they cast lots for my clothing.

For the kingdom is the LORD’S And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

What we don't see in our bibles is the better rendition of the last phrase.

Only the Amplified seems to show it as follows,

"They will come and declare His righteousness To a people yet to be born—that He has done it [and that it is finished]."

Thus, Jesus had recalled Psalm 22 with the 1st line - and then finished with the last line. Everything in between was relevant to the suffering of men - but specifically Jesus, who suffered for all to bring about a hope and trust in the future of God's creation. The hearers knew these words - entire psalms word for word. He was drawing their attention to this prophetic psalm about him and that it was coming true before their eyes.

Jesus' time on the cross and his death was the culmination of the baby conceived in and born of Mary. Why would the Father abandon or forsake His beloved son - His very word become flesh, at the climax and most glorifying moment? The son whom he loved and the son who obviously loved Him - unto death!

We might think this is possible if Jesus 'became sin' as some passages show.

2 Cor 5:21 For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf

'hamartia' (sin) can be translated as ‘sin’ or ‘sin offering’

This is an error to pick one verse which could be translated another way. There are numerous passages showing Jesus to be a sin offering. Of course he was an offering FOR sin - for ALL sin. God doesn't need Jesus to take on sin himself - just the penalty of sin. His death in place of all ours.

1 John 3:5 And you know that He appeared, so that He might take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

Rom 8:3 God sent His son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering

Heb 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him

Just as every offering, every sacrifice was to cover the sins committed - and so, Jesus covered the sins of all for all time.

Jesus' total dependence on his Father and God is seen in his prayer noted in Heb 5:7-8

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Some say that the Father turned His face away - from the lyrics of "How Deep the Father’s Love". Ps 22:24 dispels this myth. Talk about context!

He has not hidden His face from him, but has attended to his cry for help.

When we understand Jesus, the man sent to be the offering for all creation, who struggled desperately with this onerous role but was ably supported by His God and Father - who raised him to be at His right hand and made him heir of all that He (God) had made and gave him authority over all things in heaven and earth.

No God didn't forsake Jesus in any sense from the moment he was conceived to his final breath. This was the moment when God's plan reached it's zenith - He couldn't have been more pleased with His amazing son.

Copied in part from https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/56291/john-1227-vs-luke-2242-contradiction/56304?r=SearchResults&s=1|8.7296#56304

-1

The words from Matthew 27 (v 46) reveal the depth of Jesus’ suffering that went well beyond just physical pain, excruciating though that must have been. They express what would otherwise have remained hidden - the spiritual suffering that Jesus experienced interiorly, his sense of being forsaken by God or cut off from God’s presence.

This is the hour when Jesus walked in darkness.

Who is among you, fearing Jehovah, Hearkening to the voice of His servant, That hath walked in dark places, And there is no brightness for him? (Is 50:10 YLT)

He sacrificed the life that is in himself, which is his light, to pay the ransom for our sins.

In him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. –Jn 1:4

“I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” –Jn 8:12

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

No one took it away from him; he himself laid it down.

”For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own.” –Jn 10:17-18

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  • Perhaps, seemingly, possibility are not helpful. Please use scripture not supposition and guesses.
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 5:43
  • @user48152 Thank you for reminding me to trust in the words of Scripture rather than rely on my own understanding.
    – Nhi
    Jun 22 at 13:42
  • “He sacrificed the light that is in himself” is not of scripture. It was the light in him that made him the Lamb. He who IS light, cannot become not light.
    – steveowen
    Jun 22 at 21:32
-1

Jesus was not Forsaken – however, there are many contradictions. Many mention that he was heard by God and saved. I will not mention what has already been mentioned but refer you to some passages that contradict the above answers.

“Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear." (Hebrews 5:7)

Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." (John 11:41-42).

Psalm 20:6 6Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand. “O you who lift me up from the gates of death” (Psalms 9:13)

"When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, Even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell… For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion: In the covert of his tabernacle will he hide me." (Psalms 27:2-5)

Psalm 21:2 - You have given him his heart’s desire, And have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah

Psalms 34:20 & 22 - 20He protects all his bones; not one of them will be broken 22 - The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

John 19:36 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken

PSALM 91:10-16 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

Psalm 91:7-9 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come. 8 You need simply watch; the punishment of the wicked you will see. 9 Because you have the LORD for your refuge and have made the Most High your stronghold,

Matthew 4:5-7 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (reference to Psalms 91)

John 13:17-18 (reference to Psalms 41) "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me."

Psalm 41:9-13 9 Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. 10 But may you have mercy on me, LORD; raise me up, that I may repay them. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. 12 Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. 13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Psalm 116:16 16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.

Luke 4:10-12 10 for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee: 11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Luke 24:39 - "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have".

Jonah (prayed and was alive) - 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 22 If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Added:

John 11:41-42 - 41) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42) And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Isaiah 53:10 he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days

Isaiah 53:9 (Contemporary English Version) 9 'He wasn't dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people.' He was not buried but placed in a Tomb & by himself.

Isaiah 53:7 states that "he did not open his mouth" YET "Eloi Eloi lama sabachtani!"

arguably some issues with the prophecies.

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  • @user48152 the passages refer to Jesus and if he was forsaken - they imply that he was not forsaken and was heard by God and saved which contradicts many of those passages referred to in the other answers. Jun 21 at 13:30
-3

My line of reasoning is this: Jesus was both man and God. He showed some reactions as a man(his agony and his thirst) and some as God. Since God won't and can't condone sin, he didn't want to look on Jesus as Jesus took on the sins of the world to pardon us. Jesus was aware of God's thinking and reacted as a man would if his father had just turned away from him. Jesus knew God's plan, but reacted as a man. He didn't have to show agony or thirst, but he did. It was his way of showing us he was both man and God.

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  • 1
    (-1) Hi Randall, thanks for contributing. Unfortunately this Answer doesn't really include any hermeneutical analysis from the passage, and seems to be entirely based on theology, reading other concepts into the passage rather than reading meaning out of it.
    – Steve Taylor
    Feb 1 at 8:39
-5

Contrary to popular Christian thought, the historical Jesus didn’t have any intention on being crucified. His words in Mark 15:34 is indisputable proof of this fact. You simply do not utter these words if you’re supposed die. These words from Jesus while being nailed to a cross tells us that something has went horribly wrong, and he believes that God has abandoned him to die.

Mark 15:34 (KJV)

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

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  • 3
    Jesus' entire life, death, and resurrection oppose the view that Jesus did not know or "want" to be crucified: three foretellings of his crucifixion to his disciples (Matthew 16:21-23, 17:22-23, 20:17-19), body and blood references from the first Lord's Supper in the passover context (Mt 26:26-29), Jesus' prayer in Gethsamane (Mt 26:36-46), Jesus' acknowledging that this was to fulfill scripture (Mt 26:52-56), Jesus' words on the cross (Lk 23:32-49), and especially his words after resurrection (Lk 24:25-26, 44-49).
    – Frank H.
    Feb 6 '18 at 16:08
  • How do you reconcile this with the fact that Jesus is quoting Psalms 22?
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 11 '19 at 0:22
  • @PerryWebb He’s quoting Psalms 22:1 because it’s applicable to his current situation on the cross. Jesus feels abandoned by his God, and he is left to die on the cross. The view that Jesus knew he was supposed to die and quotes this Psalm for the sake of quoting it doesn’t make any sense.
    – brewpixels
    Feb 11 '19 at 0:35

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