Summary: When Jesus said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" was he asking a question about God’s presence? Or is it possible that he was making a proclamation? This sermon takes the position that Jesus was making a statement rather than asking a questi
“Forsaken? Or Exalted?”
(Read Matthew 27:46)
Traditional Interpretation: at the moment Christ took upon himself the sin of the world, the Father in Heaven could not look upon the Son, and so he turned away, forsaking his Son.
3 Primary reasons for this view:
1. 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.”
2. Matthew 27:45 – “From the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
3. An effort is made to explain the “darkness” as God’s turning away because “logically speaking” he could not bear to look upon his son as he bore the sins of the world.
While there are some aspects of this traditional interpretation that may be true, it seems to me that this explanation raises more questions than it gives answers. (However, that does not make it a wrong interpretation. But what it does is it leads me to research the passage to see if the Lord leads me to the same conclusion as the traditional teaching).
This morning, I want to share with you another possible interpretation that may better explain what Jesus meant by the statement: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Transition: Before we address the text itself, there is a study principle that we need to be aware of. To understand this principle, turn with me to Mark 1:11.
It is a quote of two O.T. passages which combine the idea of Messiah WITH Suffering Servant.
The “general” understanding of the people of Jesus’ day was that the Messiah would be a conquering king, riding in on a white horse, over-throwing the Roman Empire, uniting the people of God, and re-establishing the Kingdom of David.
When the Father speaks from heaven saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased,” he is quoting two Messianic passages: Psalm 2:7 (Messianic Psalm) and Isaiah 42:1 (Suffering Servant). In so doing, he is revealing the KIND of Messiah Jesus will be. In other words, he will be the Messiah – the anointed one of God, but he will also be a “Suffering Servant.” This was something the people were not expecting.
So, in this passage, the Father is quoting these two O.T. passages, BRINGING TO MIND THE WHOLE CONTEXT OF THOSE VERSES, and declaring Jesus to be FIRST, the Messiah and SECOND, the Suffering Servant.
This is a common biblical principle: There are many times when an O.T. verse is quoted and it is quoted to bring to mind the entire passage. For example, if I were to say to you, “The Lord is my Shepherd” it would bring to mind a whole context of verses. You wouldn’t think of just the Lord as one who watches over me like a shepherd (i.e., I shall not want, he makes me lie down in green pastures, he restores my soul, his rod and staff comfort me, etc.).
Transition: Understanding this hermeneutical principle, let’s look at our passage.
In our text, Jesus says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
I. You will hopefully notice in your cross-references that this is an O.T. verse. In fact, it is a verbatim quote of Psalm 22:1.
II. The question then becomes: Could Jesus have been quoting the 1st verse of Psalm 22 in order to bring to mind the whole context of that Psalm? Or was he really questioning the Father? Was he really experiencing a form of being forsaken by the Father in his most critical hour?
(Before you answer that question, let’s look at Psalm 22).
III. (Read through Psalm 22, noting the SEVERAL parallels between that Psalm and what was happening at the Crucifixion. Note verses 6, 7, 8, 16a, 16b, 17, 18, then especially note 24ff).
IV. Once again: Was Jesus questioning the Father’s forsaking of him? OR was he PROCLAIMING with the Psalmist, “though it may seem like all hope is lost, this is God’s finest hour of deliverance!!!”
V. You might ask the question this way: Was Jesus questioning the Father’s forsaking of him? Or was he calling to the attention of the people present that day, and the readers of this day, that his death on the cross was the fulfillment of Psalm 22?
VI. I find it interesting that just a few moments later Jesus declares with his last breath, “It is finished.”
A. While that is 3 words in English, it is only one in Greek (tetelestai).
B. “Tetelestai” is NOT a word used of someone who has just been defeated or feels forsaken, it is a VICTOR’S SHOUT! It is the cry of a man who has just won through the struggle (Barclay).