Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

Jesus forsaken

Matthew 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Before considering the possible reasons why Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I want to address a common misinterpretation of the word forsaken. Our English word “forsake” means to renounce or turn away from entirely.  However, the Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines the Greek word “egkataleipo” (the word we translate “forsake”) as meaning “to leave behind in some place, i.e. (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad one) to desert:–forsake, leave.”  

First, we must understand that “leaving behind” could not mean any type of break or division in the essence of the Father and Son.   And, we must be careful and not think Jesus was separated from His Father.  When Jesus hung on the cross, the unity between Father and Son could not have been broken —  not even for the shortest moment of time.  Their union was, is, and always will be eternal and without any type of separation. 

Since we cannot fully understand the Triune nature of God, it is no surprise that we cannot fully understand what took place when Jesus cried out on the cross.  But we must understand that it does not mean a break in the unity of the Triune God.  

The Triune God

Each Person of the Triune Godhead is co-existent and co-eternal with the other two Persons.  This is a perfect and eternal union. Also, we must understand that the Triune God is One God, and yet each Person of the Godhead is distinct  (Read “How Can I Understand the Trinity?”).  

Some try to say that Jesus was separated from God in His humanity only. However, in His incarnation, Jesus was fully man and fully God–yet one person.  On the cross He was still fully man and fully God and to suggest His humanity could be separated from His divinity is not biblically supported.  Again, there can never be a separation in the union between Father and Son or the Godhead would have ceased to be eternally triune.  Therefore, Jesus could not have been forsaken in the meaning of being separated.

This is also true of us.  Just as God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit are eternally united, we are eternally united in Christ. Ephesians 4:30 tells that we are sealed unto the day of redemption.  And if (that’s a hypothetical “if”) the Father had been able to separate Himself from the Son, then we also could be separated from God.  That’s just not possible.  We have eternal life, life without end, and without any separation.

Yes, Jesus felt some type of distance from God.  There was a turning away from the Son by the Father. But be very careful not to use the word “separation” or imply any type of division between Father and Son.   I would like to suggest that the Bible presents another possible reason why Jesus might have cried…

“My God, My God. . .”

 This is the only time in which Jesus referred to His Father as “God.”  The only time!!!  This raises a number of questions:

  • Could it mean, that during the time Jesus hung on the cross, God the Father was no longer His Father?  
  • And why would Jesus call His Father, “My God?”  
  • We know that the Father is the God of Israel, but is He Jesus’ God?  Since Jesus is God, can God have a God? 
  • By always calling God simply “Father,”  Jesus spoke in terms of their relationship, not of the essence of their being [one God]. So why in the last moments of His life did Jesus call the Father, “My God?”

A Reason to Consider

Remember that Jesus cried out these words at “about the ninth hour” and with a “loud voice.”  Even though Jesus was experiencing extreme physical pain and agony, this was not a cry of defeat. Before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus knew exactly what He would be facing and exactly what His death would accomplish (as evidenced by the blood He sweat in the garden before His arrest).  Jesus gave Himself willingly in accordance to the wishes of His Father, knowing His Father’s plan was perfect, and that His death would be a victory over sin.

I present, for your consideration, another possible reason why Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 

We know that when Satan tempted Jesus three times in the wilderness, Jesus responded each time by quoting Scripture.  I believe that Jesus was doing the very same thing here. As Jesus hung on the cross, shortly before He gave up His life,  Jesus spoke the first few words of Psalm 22:1.  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Psalm 22

 Psalm 22 is known as the first of the three Shepherd Psalms.  Most Christians are very familiar with Psalm 23, the second of the Shepherd Psalms, that speaks of the Great Shepherd who lives for His sheep.  And Psalm 24, completes the trilogy of Shepherd Psalms by speaking of the Chief Shepherd who will return for His sheep. But the first in the trilogy of Shepherd Psalms is different. The worlds sound as if they were spoken by Jesus while hanging on the cross.  Psalm 22 speaks of a shepherd who dies for his sheep and it points us toward the Good Shepherd, Jesus.   (Read: Following the Good, Great, and Chief Shepherd)

 “…why hast thou forsaken me?”

The psalms are written in Hebrew and the Hebrew word, translated in English as “forsaken,” is “azab.” Strong’s Dictionary defines it as: to loosen, i.e. relinquish, permit, etc.:–commit self, fail, forsake, fortify, help, leave (destitute, off), refuse, surely.  There’s no division or separation suggested by the Hebrew word.

I suggest that when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” from Psalm 22, He was continuing to teach and minister to those at the foot of the cross.  Perhaps that is why Jesus said, “My God,” instead of “Father.”  Perhaps, instead of crying out to His Father, He was simply quoting David’s words.  Jesus was still the Good Shepherd, who had come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 15:24), and He was still leading His sheep.  

As Jesus spoke the words of David’s psalm, the people should have recognized the words and realized that what David had prophesied in his psalm was unfolding before their eyes.   It was common for Jews to quote a few words from a Psalm, but not the entire Psalm.  The words spoken would evoke the remaining words.  This was similar to how we quote a few words of a Bible verse and good students of the Bible will recall the entire verse or even the passage that contains the verse.  Quoting the first few words of Psalm 22  should have called to mind the remaining words the psalm and that could have helped them to see the prophecy and fulfillment of David’s words. 

A Plausible Reasoning, But Not Proof

We cannot prove that Jesus was trying to open the eyes of those who stood at the foot of His cross when He cried out the words of Psalm 22. However, if that was the case, even until His very last breath Jesus was the Good Shepherd who had come to save the lost sheep of the House of Israel.  He came to teach them and to reveal Himself as the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Redeemer.  If that was what Jesus was doing, and had any of those present remembered the words of David, they would have fallen on their faces knowing that the One on the cross was the One whom God sent to save them.

Put Yourself at the Foot of the Cross

Take a few minutes to stand at the foot of the cross and “see” Jesus bruised for your transgressions. Take some time to remember all that Jesus did for you when He offered Himself in your place.  Now read the rest of Psalm 22. These are words that the Jews should have recalled, and they are words that we should never forget, when Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Ps 22: 1-8

…Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?  O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent.  But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed. 

But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”  

Ps 22:9-11

But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help.

Ps 22:12-18

Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet. I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.

Ps 22:19-31

But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.

I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.

For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive. A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, they will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.

 Jesus entered the awful darkness that I might walk in the light;
He drank the cup of woe that I might drink the cup of joy;
He was forsaken that I might be forgiven.¹


A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.


    About Lent

    ***Lent: 40 Titles for 40 Days (Download NOW: 40 Titles for Lenten Devotions)
    What is Lent? Should I Give Up Something? (Article and Video)
    This Time Called Lent (Video)
    Prepare for Lent (Video)
    Lent Reflections (Video)
    How Should You Observe Lent? (Article)
    How Should You Observe Lent? (Reflect and Prepare short video)
    Have You Sat At The Master’s Table? (John 13-17) 
    What's Wrong with This FB Lenten Fast?

    About Holy Week

    Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection

    Palm Sunday
    Blessed is the King -- A Palm Sunday video
    Hosanna -- Palm Sunday (Jesus Wept) (video)
    Walking with Jesus – Tested by the Chief Priests and Elders

    The Last Supper
    What is Maundy Thursday?  The Basin & The Towel 
    What Was the Seating Arrangement at the Last Supper?
    Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday (video)
    What’s your Judas experience? The Pain of Betrayal
    What Do We Know about Judas? This Might Surprise You.
    The Last Supper was NOT a Passover Seder?
    A Maundy Thursday Devotion

    Crucifixion Day
    Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
    Thursday Crucifixion? Do these two reasons “nail” it?
    Why do we call it good [Friday]?
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
    How is Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the Crimson Worm? A Remez In Psalm 22?
    Who do you need to reconcile with today?
    Who Killed Jesus?
    Since Jesus was the Passover LAMB, Why Didn't God Provide a Lamb in Genesis 22?
    Did Pilate Proclaim Jesus to be God?
    Was Jesus Forsaken by His Father?
    The centurion's song from the foot of the cross: “Surely This Was a Righteous Man”
    Journey to the Cross: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
    How Do We Know Psalm 22 Is About The Cross?
    Q & A: Thursday Crucifixion Discussion

    Three Days in the Heart of the Earth
    The Days of Darkness 
    Sadness and Despair: The Darkest Days of All Time
    Obituary of Jesus: Body Stolen or Risen? What do you say?

    About Easter and Resurrection Life

    The Father's, Son's and Believer's Perspectives of the Cross
    Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow (video)
    Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia  (video)
    A Place in the Sun (Son) (video)
    You'll Never Walk Alone (video)
    How to Close Your Eyes and Really SEE Jesus!
    Open Your Eyes to The Full Gospel
    Are you glad to see Jesus?
    Ponder the Prophecies of Jesus’ Mission (video and downloadable file)
    What If We Skipped Easter This Year?
    He’s back….and it changed everything!
    The Lord is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!
    Because He Rose: The resurrection changed everything!  (video)
    What’s the Meaning of the Folded Napkin in the tomb?
    Keep Easter Alive in Your Heart: He Came Back (video)
    The Only Soul-Saver, Sin-Forgiver, Chain-Breaker, Pain-Taker, Way-Maker, Hope-Giver: Jesus
    Keep Looking Up
    Praise God, He’s Alive
    Christian Internet Forwards? The Rest of “The Birdcage” Story? (video)
    Ways to Glorify God - Bookmark

    Watch NOW...You will be blessed.

    Read:  Is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a Christian Song?*******

    ¹  A.W. Pink. The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross


    Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

    At  Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we are committed to equipping, encouraging, and empowering Christians to know Jesus better, love Him more, and share their faith. We also reach the lost through our Salvation Page. 

    With your support, we can continue to provide valuable resources and engaging content.  Please join us in our mission by donating today. Your generous contribution helps us expand our outreach of sharing biblical truths and hope in Jesus.  Thank you for your kindness and for being an integral part of our mission.

    Reasons for Hope*Jesus is a 501c3 Ministry
    Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.


    ***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

    Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

    A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

    The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2023 

    1. The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
    2. Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
    3. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?
    4. How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
    5. How long did JOB SUFFER?
    6. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
    7. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
    8. Jesus’ Last Days TIMELINE: the Cross and the Resurrection
    9. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
    10. Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?

    There is much to be learned from those who have gone before us in the faith.  Check out our Cloud of Witnesses category that features the words of departed saints who are now with the Lord in glory.  Their words equip and encourage us even to this day.  Take a few minutes to hear...

    1. ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
    2. “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Frederick M. Lehman (1917)
    3. Prayers from Billy Graham
    4. Who Was Robert Robinson? What’s the Story Behind “Come Thou Fount”
    5. “Immanuel” — A Poem by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
    6. Who Am I? A Poem by Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1905-1945)
    7. Understanding the Everlasting Arms of God, by J.R. Miller (1840–1912)
    8. 24 Reasons Why I Love America, by John Wayne (1907-1979)
    9. Give Me Perpetual Broken-heartedness (from The Valley of Vision)
    10. Abide with Me, by James Smith, 1859

    This remains one of our most popular pages viewed.

    Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

    TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
    1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace 
    2. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
    3. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
    6. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
    8. Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
    9. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share 
    10. Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)


    Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.


    The goal of Reasons for Hope* Jesus is to help you establish your heart and anchor your soul in Jesus, and renew your mind in His Word.


    Get equipped with knowledge!

    Be encouraged in hope!

    Live empowered with love! 

    You have Successfully Subscribed!