Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Some of us have been having a discussion about Jesus ‘ words from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I grew up hearing preachers describe the scene like this: “Jesus was taking all of the sins of the world upon Himself, and it was so bad that God could not stand to look upon all that sin, so He literally had to turn His back on His Son, forsaking him” (usually it was much more detailed and dramatic than that, but you get the idea). I probably even preached something like that in my early days.

After more study, and listening to some respected teachers, my view has changed. Jesus was quoting the beginning of Psalm 22 (which gives an amazingly detailed description of the crucifixion). Could Jesus, in referencing that Psalm, have been essentially saying, “Psalm 22 is now being fulfilled”? In addition, If God the Father had literally forsaken/abandoned His Son, then who was Jesus talking to when He said, “Father forgive them….” and “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”?

What do you think?


William Mckinley Dyer said...

I believe also he was declaring Psalms 22 fulfilled. But that doesn't take away from the fact that God forsook him. The question is not did God forsake him but how did God forsake him? The answer to that i do not think anyone will be able to answer. The inter-workings of the Trinity is hard to understand bc God doesn't give us a lot of info on it and it goes beyond anything we have every experienced before so it is hard to comprehend. Plus correct me if im wrong but it seems that Jesus asked God to forgive them before he cried out the quote from Psalms 22?

Soren said...

You are correct Billy. Scripture records that Jesus cried "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" at the ninth hour, but he also said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" right about that same time.

William Mckinley Dyer said...

Yea its hard to figure out which one came first as i was looking at it.

Anonymous said...

I think you're onto something, Mike. When you dig into the different facets of the cross, it doesn't quite jive that God simply "turned His back" on Jesus. If anything, He was pouring out His wrath on Jesus.

Good post.

David H. Willis said...

Far be it from me to defend the traditional position, but what about "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."? The wrath of God was upon the Son so the initmacy & connection was broken w/the Father. It mirrors exactly what will happen to those of us who die in our sins. Factor in the infinite (Jesus) suffering for a finite period being equivalent to finite beings (us) suffering infinitely and you have the doctrine of the atonement. If Christ didn't experiencing some kind of seperation then he didn't suffer fully in our place (if that makes sense). Committing his spirit to the Father doesn't conflict with a break in fellowship in the trinity. We're still in "God's hands" so to speak when we die whether we're saved or lost.

John A. Scott said...

Yes Mike I agree with you and others on that view. I first heard that view point from Ken Filkins at the Northmen.
Good job of saying it the way you have.