Please Explain The Words Of Jesus On The Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” What Does This Mean? Did God Actually Forsake Jesus On The Cross?
These words of Jesus on the cross are perhaps the most heart wrenching words our Lord spoke in the hours of his execution. We know that throughout his life and ministry Jesus was in constant fellowship and communion with His Father. Yet here our Lord seems to be saying that God the Father has turned His back on God the Son.
In saying these sorrowful words our Lord is quoting Psalm 22:1 and echoing David’s lament. Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm that points to the cross. Some have postulated that in uttering these sorrowful words, our Lord was, with amazing grace, teaching even as He suffered. Jesus here quoted a psalm that would surely point listeners to His identity as Messiah. Surely this is the case. Our Lord was constantly seeking to draw us unto Him. But this is more than just a call to harken to the words of Psalm 22. This is a heart’s cry. Indeed, as Jesus echoes these words of David, our Lord intimately and ultimately identifies with the words He quotes.
Did the Father abandon the Son? Scripture seems to say so. In Galatians 3:13 (ESV) we see that Jesus became a curse for us: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” And again we see in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV): “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We must assume that our Lord would not make such a dynamic statement about the very nature of God and God’s relationship with the Son without that statement being accurate. Jesus is the truth and thus every word He says is true. The Son is not simply feeling forsaken on the cross, and surely he must have felt this deeply. He is, in fact, forsaken.
On the cross our Lord bore that which He hated. He bore that which separated those He made from the very thing they were made for. On the cross He keenly felt the weight and depravity of the very thing that separated God from man. On the cross He bore the cause of His own heartbreak. He who was guiltless bore our guilt. He who was sinless bore our sin. He who deserved no punishment, He who deserved no disfellowship, no abandonment, was, at that moment, abandoned. He was forsaken. He was stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
“He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6 ESV).
Jesus cried this because this is what He suffered. He was forsaken so that we might not be. There is no greater love.
Pastor Brian TorresMarch 7, 2018