My God, My God why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)
We all have heard this line; we have seen it in the movies and heard it in Church. And most of us think we understand it, to us, we use it to show that Jesus also felt that God had forsaken him also, that God had forgotten about His son.
The line is dripping with despair, and we can see Jesus yelling this in anger and distress. Jesus up on that cross allowing his humanity to fully come out, stating to God that he feels that God has let him down, that God has forgotten all about him, left him to die on the cross.
This one line in the bible, this one show of Jesus’ humanity, is probably the most misunderstood line in the bible. I know that I did, that I used it to show that even Jesus felt that God has forgotten about him. As a human, as someone who is not perfect, I often feel that God “Has forsaken me”, that God has pushed me to the side.
The feeling of being forgotten is a deeply felt human emotion, one that all of us feel at one time in our life or another. We all want to be wanted; we all need to feel needed. And that one line in the bible seems to sum it all up, we can hear the anger in Jesus’ voice, we can see the pain in His eyes and hear the laboring breath of our savior hanging from the cross.
I think in some way we want Jesus to feel that way, we want Jesus to have the failings of us, and we want to feel closer to him not by our holiness but rather our failures. We feel more comfortable with Jesus in failure then in Holiness. We think this makes Jesus more human, we feel that Jesus must have all the same feelings as we do. But we forget that Jesus was also God, that he was sinless. We fail to remember that we are of a fallen nature and we sin.
Yes Jesus could have sinned, he was human, but he did not, he died sinless. Too question Gods love for us, to think that God would forsake us would be a response form a human of a fallen nature. We have broken our connection to God through our sins. With each sin we clutter up our view of God, with each sin we find it harder to see God in all things. So for us, as humans of a fallen nature, we find it easy to feel that God has forsaken us, but for Jesus, who has no sins, this idea of God forsaking him, or anyone, is not even conceivable. God’s love is not conditional, our love is conditional.
So if Jesus didn’t mean what we think he meant, what did he mean?
Read Psalm 22
Jesus was quoting the Old Testament, Psalm 22, this psalm is about Jesus, about his sacrifice. To the Jewish people who heard Jesus cry from the cross, they would have known what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was drawing the parallel between this passage and His Passion, Death and Resurrection. He basically was telling who ever heard him, see I am the Christ, and see I am fulfilling the Old Testament passage.
Our job is not to try to fit Jesus in to our molds of life, but rather for us to fit in to His. So it’s not that Jesus felt like we sometimes feel that God has forsaken Him, that’s our hang up, not His. Rather it’s more like how do we fit in to His emotion of God I have done your will; I have dies unto myself for others. How do we do that, how do we become more like Jesus and allow God to work through us, and allow God to sacrifice us for the sake of others, so one day we to can say “My God My God why have you forsaken me” .
p.s.: I just want to make it clear that I am not stating that we will become a god, but rather that we are to follow in God’s ways, and that we may one day be like Jesus, a good and holy person, whom God has used and we have allowed God to use for his glory.