Fourth of the Seven Last Words

My God,my God, why have you forsaken me? My God,my God, why have you forsak
Matthew 27:45 and Mark 15:34

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From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
 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?”).

Matthew 27:45

 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

 Mark 15:34

 I want to begin today by making a list of things I notice about the Fourth Saying, “The Word of Abandonment,” spoken by Jesus.

  • This is the only phrase found in two gospels, and it is the only one noted by Matthew and Mark. (3 others are in Luke and 3 in John)
  • Part of the saying is recorded in Aramaic, Jesus’ native language.
  • There is now a shift in Jesus’ words to focus upon himself rather than the people around him.
  • The specific time of day when Jesus spoke these words is documented in the scriptures. (from noon until 3 o’clock in the afternoon the sky was dark!)
  • Here is the only Word of Jesus that asks a question. (and the question is never answered)
  • This is the only place in scripture where Jesus refers to his Heavenly Father as God. (all other times it is Father)

Since Jesus’ words take the form of a question, it puts me in a questioning mood. I think my blog is going to take the form of a question and answer debate because I have some questions of my own.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 Although Jesus had lived as God incarnate for the last 33 years, here is where I see the genuineness of his humanity. When Jesus asked this question he was experiencing sorrow, grief and pain to the fullest extent physically and as well as being forsaken by his Father spiritually. He was feeling the full impact of God’s wrath toward sin. This created a separation he had never experienced before and it caused him to ask a question he had never needed to ask previously.

Why did Jesus feel the need to ask this question?

 This is not a question I have found answered in any commentaries I have read. I am totally thinking on my own right now! I know Jesus knew he came to this earth to die in order to save me and all mankind, but I wonder if he thought about his need to be separated from his Heavenly Father. Jesus said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” As Jesus talked with his disciples shortly before his arrest, he emphasized this fact in John 14 and 15. Also, in John 16:22 Jesus said, “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” Jesus had never known what it was like to be separated from his Father even though he was living on the earth and his Father was in heaven. I suspect Jesus was counting on his Father to help him spiritually encounter the physical pain he would endure. It is interesting to note that this is the only reference in scripture where Jesus calls out to God rather than Father.

Why didn’t God answer Jesus’ question?

 I find it interesting that God did not answer Jesus’ question of “Why?” It had to be an extremely difficult time for God to look down from heaven and see His Son suffering so greatly and not be able to do anything for him. However, because He is a holy God, He could not answer Jesus’ question even if He had wanted to explain. In Habakkuk 1:13, it is said of God, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” However, once the penalty for sin had been paid, God turned back to His Son and he was no longer forsaken. Jesus may not have had his question answered at the moment of suffering but his time of abandonment was limited and he and the Father were again one.

Do I know why Jesus was forsaken?

 Today I find the answer to the question Jesus asked on the cross over 2000 years ago. Paul states in II Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” and II Corinthians 5:15, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” How valuable the Bible is to help me gain a deeper understanding!

What happens when I ask the “Why” question?

 Like many believers, I often ask “why” when something happens. Sometimes the reason is revealed and other times it is not. If God did not give Jesus an answer to the why question, why do I think He should give me a direct answer? Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” To know God is more important than to know why. Knowing God alleviates the need of knowing why.

Have I ever experienced the need to ask,
 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Yes! I must begin by identifying with Paul in Romans 7: 14-25. I quote verse 15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I have no ability to comprehend the utterly horrific experience of having all the sins of the world put upon me as did Jesus! My own sinful nature is more than enough for me. However, I do want to try to personalize these words of abandonment felt by Jesus. There have been times when I have wondered where God was at in the midst of situations I have encountered. I have wondered how and why God allowed me to struggle with particular things. However, I can always cling to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Yes, the fact that God had to turn His back upon His son on the cross makes me very aware that God will turn His back on those who are covered with sin. However, because Jesus endured this for me I know I can be assured of His presence and help in my life. That is why He is called Savior. Jesus cooperated with God the Father to save me from my sinful nature by taking my nature upon himself so He could in turn give me his sinless nature. I never need to experience what Jesus experienced on the cross!

Do you ever feel forsaken?

My Reader, have you ever felt like you could identify with these words of Jesus? Do you ever cry out to God asking why He has forsaken you? Do you ever ask Him why you are enduring a specific trial? Embrace the cross and embrace the reality that God is always with you. You are not forsaken!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

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