The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: F

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"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psa 22:1).
These words are quoted by Jesus as he hung on the cross (Mat 27:46; Mar 15:34; Luk 24:44). But was this literally true? Was Jesus actually abandoned by his Father? The answer must be: "NO!":

  1. In quoting Psa 22, Jesus switched from the Hebrew azavtani (which means "forsaken me") to the Aramaic sabachthani (which may mean "entangled me": the same word occurs in Gen 22:13 for the "thicket" in which the sacrificial ram was found). So perhaps this should be read: 'My God, my God, thou hast [an assertion, not a question!] ensnared and provided ME as the sacrificial victim!'
  2. If Jesus were abandoned by his Father, then the vivid and twice-repeated type of Gen 22 -- which is suggested by the above -- is quite misleading! "They went both of them together (the Father and the Son)" (Gen 22:6,8). The Father went with the Son to the cross (cp Rom 8:31,32, which is citing Gen 22:12).
  3. The idea that God abandoned His Son is so important, if true, that it ought to be supported by more than one solitary verse.
  4. Psa 22:24 is explicit that Jesus was NOT left without divine help.
  5. The emphasis of such passages as Psa 18:4-17 is so strong as to require not desertion, but actually its very opposite.
  6. Other Messianic psalms speak of alarm or doubt such as is natural to human weakness (Psa 94:17-19, RV mg; Psa 71:9-12; 73:13,17,21,22; 42:5; 116:11). As lesser mortals experience a sense of loneliness and helplessness, so also must have Jesus. But in neither their case nor his was it true.
  7. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" was spoken to the first "Jesus" (Joshua: Jos 1:5), and applied to those in Christ (Heb 13:5). Then, is it conceivable that the servant is greater than his Lord?
  8. Psa 22:1 may carry the meaning: 'Why does my God LET IT APPEAR to these my enemies that I am utterly forsaken?' This is the very idea in Isa 49:14,15.
  9. Jesus cites "My God, my God, why have... " as simply a reference to the psalm itself, to call the attention of those nearby to the whole of the psalm that was being fulfilled before their eyes.
  10. Other possibilities? Ever since Gethsemane, there had been no angels to strengthen or sustain him.
  11. Or... Jesus felt the removal of the Holy Spirit.
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