Why have you forsaken me?   1 comment

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

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

These were the words spoken out by the one who did not deny that He was the King of the Jews and claimed to be the Son of God. However, the Jews were outraged by what Jesus said. Many of the Jews hated Jesus because He claimed to be God(John 10:33). They considered it blasphemy. The Jews reckoned that such assertions deserved death penalty – crucifixion.

We considered that it was a deserved punishment by God.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53

Taken in the another perspective, this was true not because He sinned but because He was the only blameless man.

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin” Isaiah 53:10

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was punished.” Isaiah 53:8.

Who protested? Everyone shouted vehemently that this man deserved death. Rejected and despised He was (Isaiah 53:3). Moreover, God’s punishment and wrath felt on Him. Our iniquities were laid on Him because we have all gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).

Is there anything worst than to be crushed by an almighty God?

He was considered a criminal on that cross but a hero in heaven. Were not the heavenly creatures in sorrow and scandalized to see their God despised, insulted, agonising, beaten and suffering? In amazement the angels were at seeing God’s act of love on the cross.

Moral suffering sometimes cause more pain than physical suffering.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22

This man hanging on the cross still had God in His mouth. My God, my God He said. The Hebrew word ‘El’ used here refers to the almighty God. He knew that this God was almighty and could deliver Him. Extreme pain did not blur His trust in His God.

  • WHY

His disciples left Him, they were just humans and feared. This could still be understandable. But YOU God? YOU abandon me? Many times we cry out to God “WHY?” and we are still left with no answers from heaven. In these times we should say as Job “The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken away! May the name of the LORD be praised” Job 1:21

A unique filial love relationship He enjoyed with God the Father since eternity past. Perfect love. Why would a Father go to the extreme of allowing His perfect Son die on the cross for bad people? Not only that, He knows this Father is all powerful to deliver Him. He is God and He could stop all this in a twinkle of an eye. But there was no other way man from his sins lest He surrendered and offered His life.

God the Father so loved the world that He gave what He loved the most – His Son.

Not only that, not a reply from heaven in His suffering. Total silence! A Father not here to support? This Father with whom He has been for eternity in perfect union abandoned Him? Hard to digest is not it?

  • HAVE YOU

Why have YOU forsaken me?

Judas betrayed Him for 30 silver coins. Peter denied Him 3 times (even if he said he was ready to die for him). Peter feared for his life and Judas was taken by the sin of greed. “I can understand that they were but feeble sinful men who have forsaken me.  But YOU my God, you’re Holy, why have you forsaken me?”

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. ” Mat 26:56

Jesus has been saying many times that He is one with the Father and now we see the Father abandoning, crushing Him and leaving Him with no reply! Why such a sudden separation? Separation from God is the worst thing that can happen to a being. Hell was made because of that! Why this temporary separation?  Because our High Priest bore our gross sins on Him. He went into the Most Holy place in heaven to make the expiation of the sins. The Son was God’s provision, He is the Lamb which takes away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29).

  • FORSAKEN

What a hard separation! Everyone left Him on earth. Perhaps calling to heaven could bring some relief. But no it was absolute silence day and night.


It was crystal clear that He knew that the God He was calling out to was Holy.This unfair penalty did not lead Him to curse God but rather to continue exalt Him as the Holy One of Israel. He said:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;you are the one Israel praises.

Job did not curse God in his ailments even if he lost all his possessions, his family and even his health. Job still had the most precious gift – life, which God spared. But our Lord could not even keep His life because our lives were at stake! He did not curse God amidst this hard time but acknowledged His Holiness and Sovereignty. May His attitude in this solemn moment teach us to glorify God in our afflictions even if heaven is silent!

It was this God to whom Moses, Abraham, Joshua and Elijah called out to and were blessed. God did no leave Moses alone in front of the red sea when he called out. In front of the enemies, Joshua called out to God and the battle was won. None of these people were confused or deceived when they called out to God. Not only God replied them, but He also did miracles.

In you our ancestors put their trust;they trusted and you delivered them.To you they cried out and were saved;in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” Ps 22:4

  • ME

But when God’s Son calls out, even no reply? To imperfect man God showed His faithfulness, but to the perfect One agonising on the cross there’s no comfort. No deliverance and even no answers? He taught how to pray to the Father(Mat 6:9), about perseverance in prayer (Luke 18:1), about faith(Luke 17:6) and trusting God (Mat 6:27). In this moment, there was no one on earth who prayed more fervently than Him, no one had greater faith and trusted in God more than Him but still He got no replies and His life was not spared! There must have been valid reasons for God not to answer this simple prayer of His agonizing Holy Son. It was not lack of faith or lack of perseverance but sin, our sins.

This is what the scoffers said:

Is this the one who relies on the Lord?Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much,let the Lord rescue him!” Ps 22:8

He has done no wrong but He took what He hated most on Him – sin.The 2 criminals by His side deserved their punishment and were not in such agony. Prior to the cross, in Gethsemane there He was already agonising and asking God to help Him. Was it the coming suffering or the separation which was worst? This King said:

My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Obedient till death He was. He knew that His death was the only way to save man. So He obediently and voluntarily laid down His life.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17

  • Why have you forsaken me?

Do not be far from me,for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me;strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. ” Psalm 22:12

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me;they pierce my hands and my feet.All my bones are on display;people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment“. Psalm 22:16

They spitted on Him and mocked Him. Like bulls probably were the harsh and insulting words of the Pharisees and Romans. He was like a defenseless lamb attached to a tree surrounded by hungry wild beast tearing him down with rage! No respect shown to a dying man. To animals we would not do that. But to Jesus, we humans trodden on Him like crushing a worm. He saw himself less than a man, we treated Him like a meaningless parasite – a  worm.

But I am a worm and not a man,scorned by everyone, despised by the people.All who see me mock me;they hurl insults, shaking their heads.“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,“let the Lord rescue him.Let him deliver him,since he delights in him.” Ps 22:6

Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6

Like enraged dogs were the Romans who were torturing our Lord. He was left alone by His Father amidst these dogs and bulls. His Father was not here when He needed Him most. He saw His own blood pouring out like water and slowly He witnessed His life departing. Yet not even a word of sympathy from heaven(v19)!

At this same time, were not angels and powerful creatures in heaven in indignation with all these shameful words said to their God whom they worshiped since eternity past ?

In an instant angels could have annihilated all these scoffers if Jesus wished.

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53

But no it was not the Savior’s prayer. He did not want anyone to perish. His prayer was: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34.

Adapted from commentaries of  Ps 22 of the Treasury of David – C. H. Spurgeon.

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One response to “Why have you forsaken me?

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  1. “He was considered a criminal on that cross but a hero in heaven.” I find this sentence beautiful. it’s simple but it also reflect an amazing truth

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