I have heard preachers, and read essays and sermons discussing Matt 27:46 (or Mark 15:34).
Some say that the Father actually totally turned away from Jesus as he died on the cross. Jesus cried out this verse from Psalm 22 because God really had abandoned him. The Father had forsaken him, because Jesus took the sin of humanity upon himself. They say that God cannot “look on sin” because he is perfectly and infinitely holy. (Where did this come from in Scripture? I can’t find it. It seems that God has looked on sin throughout history. If God can’t “look on sin” then how has He related to humanity since the first sin?) This forsaking teaching bothers me more the more I think about it.
1. How can God forsake God?
2. Isn’t it true that God DID “look on sin?” In fact, didn’t God bear our sin in Jesus Christ?!
3. If we say that God didn’t, isn’t that contradictory to what we know about the nature of Jesus Christ, who is truly God/truly man and of one substance with the Father. Did Jesus divide the fully God part out in order to not look at himself?!!
4. This teaching seems to require either an almost polytheistic (in contrast to Trinitarian) view of the Father and Son (where they can actually be completely separated) or a divided nature in Jesus.
When did this teaching first become common? Who first taught it? Does it go back to the early church Fathers? Have others had the same problems with it that I have?
I have also heard/read others who say that Jesus wasn’t forsaken by the Father. He was praying Psalm 22 as he was dying. He was crying out the first verse so that it would be heard. This view makes sense to me. It doesn’t contradict the human or divine natures of Jesus. And it doesn’t divide the unity of our Triune God.
When Jesus prayed Psalm 22, he was also teaching, even as He died. He was also making it known that Psalm 22 referred to Him. He knew that it appeared that God had forsaken Him. Bystanders were even shouting that at Him (Matt 27: 43.) But Psalm 22 makes it clear that Jesus was not forsaken. The very important lesson in this interpretation is that God NEVER forsakes us, even if it seems like it to us. God is ALWAYS faithful and loving, no matter how disgusting, depraved, or vile our sin might be. The Father was still with Jesus (and Jesus was still God), even when Jesus bore the sin of all humanity! Psalm 22:24 says this, “For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” It appears from Scripture that Jesus died very shortly after this, perhaps right after he finished praying Psalm 22. Jesus’ work was finished. The lesson had been taught. Our salvation was accomplished. Jesus had shown perfect trust. And our Father had shown perfect love.