3/10/19 - The Cry of Jesus to Heaven
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?...” (Psalms 22:1a)
When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out these very words to the Father in Heaven (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). This passage has generated much controversy over the years as to what was the intent of Jesus when He quoted this passage in the midst of His great suffering. Was Jesus feeling forsaken? Was Jesus actually forsaken? Does this show Jesus’ fear or His resolve?
First, let’s get rid of some misconceptions. Was Jesus actually forsaken by the Father as He hung on the cross? NO! He was not! Some have supposed that since God cannot tolerate sin in His presence, since Jesus was taking on all the sin of the world, and since the sun was darkened for three hours, it indicates that God turned away His face, causing Jesus to cry out. That is too great a leap of reason. No Scripture states or indicates that God was anything but supportive of His obedient Beloved Son.
Was Jesus feeling forsaken? Had He given up hope? Again, NO! He knew the will of the Heavenly Father and He knew the love of the Heavenly Father. That took away nothing from the agony of His suffering, and feelings He endured as He bore our sin. As the Lamb of God, He laid down His life, bringing forgiveness and peace with God. “By His stripes, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). In the garden, Jesus had pled with the Father for deliverance, but He also prayed for the Father’s will to be done. His resolve to do the Father’s will and His commitment to our salvation continued to motivate Him to die and rise again for us.
Consider one more thing. The words above were frequently used in the temple and in the Jewish synagogues as a call to worship. When Jesus uttered these words shortly before His life would come to an end, it was a call to all those who were godly to pay special attention to what was about to happen. The redemption of all mankind was about to be consummated in the death of Jesus, the Savior. Some of those around Him, who should have been touched with His words, were still so filled with their impious, blasphemous vitriol that that could not or would not acknowledge Him.
David’s psalm began with this cry for help but quickly turned to be a message of trust in God for His help and deliverance. The words of doubt are soon replaced with a message of humility and confidence in the power of God. David goes on to give God praise.
It is also worthy to remember that Psalm 22 is followed by Psalm 23. When you have the least bit of question about whether God has forsaken you, read the rest of the psalm and the one that follows. Cry out to God, knowing that He is holy (22:3), we are weak (22:6), and that the Lord is to be praised (22:25,27). Also remember that our Shepherd (Psalm 23) will take care of us. He will never, ever forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).