My God, my God, why hast thous forsaken me?
By Frank J. Manasseri
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” (Mark 15:33-37).
This section of scripture is often overlooked or attributed to The Father God forsaking Jesus Christ because He became sin for us. I believe there is a deeper explanation for what transpired after the Lord cried with a loud voice saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
The Armaic translates to “My God, My God for this purpose was I spared or kept for this moment.
Jesus of Nazareth knew exactly why, and what, He was doing when He cried out!
These words Jesus cried out are the same exact words of the beginning of Psalm 22:1
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is more than a coincidence.
Jesus was bringing everyone’s attention at the cross to Psalm 22 when He cried with a loud voice saying, “Eli Eli Lemana Shebackthani.
During the time of Jesus, the scriptures were written on scrolls which did not contain chapter headings or verses. Therefore in order to obtain a scroll to read from the Levite priest responsible for the keeping of the scriptures, one would ask for the first sentence of the psalm or book.
For instance when Jesus entered into the synagogue in Nazareth he asked for the scroll of Isaiah and when the priest handed Him the scroll He then proceeded to read from it.
Likewise this would be true for the reading of what we today call Psalm 23. Back in those days one would say to the Levite Priest, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Then the priest would hand the scroll of that Psalm to the person asking. This is why I believe that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, nearing His death at the ninth hour, He called for the reading of what we today call Psalm 22, only He said, “Eloi. Eloi, lama. Sabachthani” which is Aramaic for, “My God, my God, for this purpose thou hast spared or kept me?”
It is interesting to note that Psalm 22 is one of three Psalms (22,23,24) which all Jewish children memorized as most Christians today have memorized the “Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father.,” the Jews had these three Psalms committed to memory.
It is a misunderstanding of scripture when one concludes that God forsook Jesus on the cross. A simple reading of Psalm 22 should clear this up in most everyone’s thinking if they take the time to check out the scriptures for themselves.
The following is a biblical challenge that will prove this interpretation is correct:
Write down the various items from Psalm 22 one side of a piece of paper, and on the other side write down the items mentioned in the four Gospels concerning the crucifixion scene.
Psalm 22:16 “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”
Compare this scripture to:
Matt 27: 35 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”
The prophet referred to in this verse is King David who wrote Psalm 22 over 1000 years before the Romans invented and became experts at crucifixion.
Another point of comparison is the last recorded words of Jesus of Nazareth before He gave up the ghost, “It is finished.”
The last words of Psalm 22:31 are . . .”that he hath done this.”
When Jesus cried with a loud voice,” My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was bringing to everyone’s attention present at the crucifixion scene to Psalm 22. This included the Centurion who said in Matthew Mark 15:39, “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” Luke 23:47 “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.”
In conclusion Psalm 22 is a verbal description of the events of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth therefore when He called for the reading of the Psalm everyone present at the cross realized this is what had just transpired. Even the Centurion confessed that Jesus of Nazareth was “truly the son of God.”
This is very significant because during the days of the Roman Empire all the Officers in the Roman Army were required to know the customs and the religion of the people they conquered.
In our day hearing Psalm 22 would be similar tgo our watching an instant replay of a most extraordinary event. Only in the time of JUesus the instant replay was not on video, but written in words. Imagine what must have gone through the minds of the people present at the cross when they realized what was written in the Psalm had juts transpired right before their very eyes. This included the Roman Centurion
Psalm 22 was written by King David in the first person as if the Lord Jesus was speaking what He would in the future suffer during the horrific events of the crucifixion. The Psalm then moves into confident praise of the deliverance of the Father and closes with the triumphant words of “that he hath done this” or “it is finished.”
Psalm 22 closes with overwhelming proof the Father did not forsake Jesus of Nazareth while dying on the cross.:
Psalm 22:19-31 KJV)
19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.