Was Jesus Forsaken by His Father?

Question

Was Jesus forsaken by his Father?

Answer

"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?" (Matthew 27:46)

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. The English word "forsake" means to renounce or turn away from entirely. Strong's Greek Dictionary defines the word forsake, used in Matthew 27:46, as egkataleipo. It means to leave behind in some place, i.e. (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad one) to desert:–forsake, leave.

"Leaving behind" could not mean any type of break or division in the essence of the Father and Son. We must be careful in thinking of any type of separation that includes a division in the unity that Jesus has with the Father. The unity between Father and Son could not have been broken at that time, nor can it ever be broken. Their union is eternal. Since we cannot fully understand the Triune nature of God, it is of no surprise that we cannot fully understand what this term forsaken might have meant. But we must understand that it does not mean a break in the unity of the Triune God. Each Person of the Triune Godhead is co-existent and co-eternal with the other two.This is a perfect and eternal union. We must understand that the Triune God is One God and yet each Person of the Godhead is a distinct Person, and in His incarnation Jesus was fully man yet fully God. Again, there can never be any break in the union between Father and Son or the Godhead would have ceased to be eternally triune. (Read "How Can I Understand the Trinity?")

We might not be able to fully understand this, but I 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 refers to His Father as "God." The only time! Could this mean that God the Father, at that moment, was no longer His Father? And why would Jesus call His Father, "My God?" The Father is the God of Israel, but is He Jesus’ God? Since Jesus is God, can God have a God? This seems to explain why Jesus always called God the Father simply “Father.” He spoke in terms of their relationship, not of the essence of their being.

[You can finish reading the rest of this article at Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Click here.]