Why did Jesus cry, "My God, my God..."?

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Jack K, Mar 8, 2014.

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  1. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I've heard and read expositors point out that on the cross, when Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" he switched from addressing God as "Father" (as he did when asking forgiveness of those who crucified him, or praying in Gethsemane) to calling him "God." Invariably, these expositors seem to conclude that this is because "Father" would not fit his relationship with God at that moment since he was being forsaken and suffering separation from God as punishment for our sin. I've interpreted the statement that way myself. But...

    Is that reaching too far? I agree that Jesus was suffering forsakenness, but perhaps his reason for using "God" is simply the fact that he was quoting Psalm 22, which says "God." Isn't that, rather than a reference to a change in the Father/Son relationship, a more obvious reason for the switch in language? What do you think?
  2. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I think our Lord spoke as He did because He was quoting Ps. 22.

    This v. is often mistaken, I fear, to mean something like an essential disruption of the ontological Trinity. Such is not possible, of course, and attributes to sin more disruptive force than it has (sin does not disturb the essential unity of God; if so, it would be greater than God, a manifest blasphemy). Rather, the verse indicates that the wrath of the Father, which burns hot against us because of sin, was directed toward Christ as our sin-bearer, the one who had been constituted judicially guilty on our behalf so that he might atone for our sin and thus propitiate the wrath of His Father (as well as expiate the guilt of our sin).

    The Father forsook the Son in the sense that His displeasure was expressed to Him who had only known the good pleasure of His Father. And He did it all because of His love for us. Thanks be to God!

  3. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Amen, Alan!
  4. Matthew1344

    Matthew1344 Puritan Board Freshman

    yeah i am going with psalm 22
  5. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    It was so we wouldn't have to! :D
  6. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Indeed. And I think one could even say he quoted Psalm 22 so that the writer of Hebrews could say in 2:11-12, "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

    I've noticed time and again that when addressing Hebrews, Jesus, as well as the apostles, would often quote a part of a psalm or other passage, expecting the hearers to know the whole context of the psalm or passage. Jesus, even in his agony, brought his hearers to understand the significance of what was going on, and he as good as said: "what Psalm 22 speaks of, you are witnessing."

    And Psalm 22, after describing the agony of his suffering, switches gears dramatically at verse 22: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee."

    He is calling those who trust in him his brothers. Through his suffering he has promised to stand before the Father, as a High Priest, and pronounce believers to be his brothers and sisters, which means, that these believers are the Father's children.

    It gives me goosebumps to think of such things. All glory to our only true High Priest!
  7. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    I have thought of that phrasing as calling to mind the end of Psalm 22 --Christ taking up the rest of that language He used on the cross (I can't help thinking it sustained His own faith and hope as well testifying something to others?) -- part of what is being cited in Hebrews?

    (And then, Vic, as you say -- His calling on God in these words of the Psalm is actually still a very profound invoking of God as Father, and bringing us into that relationship?)
  8. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Wow. Once again, I am blessed by the depth of insight found on this board. I'd only been bringing Jesus' cry on the cross and Psalm 22 together. Adding in Hebrews 2 and John 20 makes it all so much richer!
  9. MTHall720

    MTHall720 Puritan Board Freshman

    I just recently joined and am greatly blessed from reading the posts by fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. I'm sorry I don't have anything to add but have learned.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  10. FenderPriest

    FenderPriest Puritan Board Junior


    Incidentally I'm working on a rather detailed paper on Psalm 22 in the NT right now - happy to pass it along when its done. That view is something I've come across and find convincing in some ways - since it's quoted in Mark and Matthew, the two Gospels that emphasize Jesus as the Son of God in a way different (but not in contradiction to) the other Gospel Accounts. I imagine John did not record it since his emphasis was to point to Jesus' absolute submission to the Father on his way back to the presence of the Father through the cross. Anyhow, it is important to note that Psalm 22 not only is a Davidic royal psalm, but in vv. 9-10 David calls out God as his father. Clearly the psalm is pregnant for fulfillment in Christ - not to mention the latter third of the psalm. While the latter half is clearly a part of the fulfillment of the psalm, I don't think Jesus was hinting at that in his moment of dereliction. I think, just like David but more profoundly, he was crying out under the weight of God's judgment. The Apostles saw the latter half fulfilled (hence the Heb. 2 use), and clearly Jesus knew that it was pointing to post-resurrection fulfillment, but I don't think that was his intention on the cross. We must, at a certain level, take the words at face value - under the mighty wrath of God, he cried out under judgment and abandonment by the father, whom he had known as the eternal Son for all eternity and as the Davidic son had every right to expect God's provision and nearness. I think Jesus use of the psalm on the cross draws us into the profound reality of the spiritual dimension of the cross: God reconciling sinners to himself at the great cost of his own son's life on their behalf under God's righteous, holy, furious wrath against sin. My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? For this reason - the accomplishment of the Gospel, which he then turns and tells his brothers about in their midst. (Another interesting hint in Psalm 22 that they are brothers - pointing to the grand effect of the derelict of the King, making our adoption into God's family a reality.)

    Anyhow, hope that's helpful in some way. Let me know if you'd be interested in that paper at some point.
  11. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The tune mentioned in the title to Psalm 22 is Aijeleth Shachar, the Hind of the Morning Dawn, and there are a number of references to Christ's enemies as various wild animals and dogs, as it were hunting down this innocent and defenceless creature, not that Christ was defenceless, but He assumed that state because He was representing us.

    The "morning dawn" may refer to the morning of the resurrection which is implied in the Psalm after the night of Christ's suffering.

    Spurgeon points out this possible interpretive aspect of the Psalm, and John Brown may do also, although I haven't read his notes, because in one place he calls Christ our "Aijeleth Shachar".

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  12. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have no doubt that Jesus did mean to communicate that he was being forsaken by God. I'm just not convinced that he chose the word "God" rather than "Father" because "Father" would have been somehow inappropriate at that moment, or because the richness of the moment's meaning is brought out by that switch in how he addresses God. I suspect, rather, that the richness of the moment is brought out in Psalm 22, and Jesus used the word "God" to accurately quote the psalm and draw our (and his) attention there.

    The single thing I find most fascinating about that verse is the way, at the moment of his greatest struggle and suffering, Jesus' mind is drawn to Scripture. He is a Bible-saturated man if this is what comes out at that moment.
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