How Does God Forsake God?

shutterstock_47015560Matthew 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Since there is only One God, why did Jesus ask, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Was He schizophrenic? Did He suffer Dissociative Identity Disorder and experience multiple personalities?

Jesus was our vicarious sacrifice. “Vicarious” comes from the Latin word that means, “substitute.” Just as the sacrificed lambs, bulls, goats, and doves were substitutes for those who kept the Old Covenant; Jesus’ sacrifice became the substitute for those who kept the New Covenant.

When Jesus died on the cross, the Spirit of GOD did not leave His flesh and blood body, or abandoned Him on the cross. Furthermore, a “comforting influence” did not depart from Him in increments so that He would feel fear and abandonment.

When Jesus said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” was He saying this as a suffering and abandoned Christ screaming out in terror? If you believe in One God, then such a scenario would be impossible. The answer is, when Jesus said “My God, my God…,” He was saying this to cause His listeners to remember the following Bible passage:

Psalms 22:1  To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

Why would Jesus quote this particular scripture? Simply because all prophesied in Psalms 22 was being fulfilled while He hung on the cross. Him shouting, “My God, my God…,” brought that to the attention of His Jewish listeners. Such fulfillment thus helped confirm that He is the promised Messiah!

In Matthew 27Mark 15Luke 23, and John 19, Jesus doesn’t cry out until after the Jews had mocked Him on the cross. Psalm 22 has the “my God, my God,” listed first, with a description of the mockery following. The New Testament gospel accounts do this differently. They have the mockery happening first, and Jesus crying out afterward. Therefore, these verses depict the religious Jews fulfilling that which was prophesied by King David and then Jesus confirming that by speaking the first verse of Psalms 22 (“ELOI ELOI LAMA SABACHTHANI”). All one has to do to see this is look at how David’s prophecy and these passages in the New Testament perfectly complement each another…

 Messiah is Mocked

  • Matthew 27:37-39 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
  • Mark 15:29-32 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
  • Psalms 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

 Messiah is Told to Save Himself

  • Matthew 27:42-43 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
  • Psalms 22:8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

 Messiah’s Garments are Taken

  • Matthew 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
  • Mark 15:24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
  • Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
  • John 19:24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
  • Psalms 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

The Roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders, and His bewildered believers all heard Jesus make His loud proclamation. To see why He did this we must remember that there is only One God, Jesus. Therefore, He could not be calling out to another God due to feeling forsaken. He is also the “almighty” God, so He certainly could not have been afraid. All that’s necessary to see what did occur is to remember that Psalms 22 prophetically spoke of Jesus’ contempt and crucifixion, and because so, Jesus was using the words found in Psalms 22 as a reminder to His hearers that its prophecy was being fulfilled right before their eyes.

Jesus used other prophecies similarly. Some examples of this are found here:

Messiah Thirsts

  • John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
  • Psalms 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
  • Psalms 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

 All Things Written is Fulfilled

  • Luke 18:31  Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
  • Luke 22:37  For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

Jesus didn’t die spiritually; He didn’t lose His physical life until He gave up the Ghost. This occurrence on the cross was not “God the Father” turning His face from “God the Son.” It was God (Jesus) speaking into fulfillment that which He inspired David to prophesy.

Psalms 22:20-31  Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

After Psalm 22 speaks of the mockery and crucifixion, it then changes to speaking of delivering power. This type power is what Jesus’ crucifixion brought to mankind.

Therefore, Jesus’ cry from the cross was not Him calling out to “His Father,” but rather it was Him alerting His audience to the fact that they were witnessing the fulfillment of what is prophesied in Psalms 22. Those who realized this understood this fulfillment was evidence that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. This same fulfillment proves the same for us today.


Copyright © 2009 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.