The mystery of salvation has implications that may be difficult to understand without the exercise of faith: the incarnation of the Son of God, the descent of the Godhead, the notions of substitution, atonement, death, and leaving the Father; all may be incomprehensible mysteries. But, as Paul says, these mysteries have been revealed through Jesus’ words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
In the terrible torments endured by the Savior of the World, at about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) If His glory had flashed from the cloud, every human being who had watched the scene would have been destroyed. And, in that awful moment, the Lord Christ could not be comforted by the Father’s presence.
In the dramatic scenes of Christ’s passion, the supernatural is intimately linked to the harshest reality of the suffering, the unbearable agony, and ultimately the death endured by the Son of Man. Christ’s cry on the cross surprises us: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Did the beloved Saviour have to endure all this suffering and death alone?
What were the last words Jesus cried out on the cross?
With the celebration of the Feast of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, we have entered the Great Week of the Passover, which will culminate in the Feast of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Many events took place during this special week two thousand years ago, but in what follows, we want to focus on the last words of Jesus spoken on the cross. Jesus’ last words were, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
According to the Bible, when Jesus took the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished,’ his last words. Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:28-30) From the beginning of His ministry on earth, Jesus knew its culmination would be at the cross. He was born to suffer and die.
The terrible sufferings of our Lord are over. Jesus will never again experience such torments and pains inflicted by wicked men. Never again will Jesus have to take upon himself the sins of all mankind. Never again, not even for a moment, will Jesus be separated from God the Father.
Biography of Jesus
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Biblical places from the times of Jesus Christ
What is the meaning when Jesus says it is finished?
Our sins were transferred to the Lord Jesus when He hung on the cross between heaven and earth, and His righteousness was transmitted to us. This was when Jesus said, “It is finished!” God’s plan was worked out and put into action, a dream fulfilled at Calvary.
The meaning of Jesus’ words: It finished referring to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. The Son of God will be given into sinners’ hands and put to death on the cross. How clearly He expressed the essential. How that divine sign appeared in his eyes, the mystery of which even the angels would have liked to understand. It was clear to Him, while the wise were confounded and those who looked on were astonished. All things concerning His body were fulfilled. Let the spiritual power and determination with which He was filled when He bound His body—the dark past with the bright present.
Satan’s dominion over mankind has also begun. Jesus dealt a decisive blow to the devil and his servants on Calvary, on the cross. Hebrews 2:14 says that through death, Jesus destroyed the one who has the power of death, the devil. Therefore we no longer have to be slaves to sin because Jesus’ death on the cross ended Satan’s authority over a man.
What does Eli, Eli Lama Sabachthani mean?
The Son of God became man. He lived a pure life, a life of total self-denial. People despised and rejected him; He knew worry and pain. His enemies were numerous, He had few friends, and they lost their courage. Eventually, he fell into the hands of those who hated him. They caught him as he was praying. They brought him before a court of spiritual and worldly judgment. And clothed Him, to make fun of Him; then they stripped Him naked, to shame Him.
“Eli, Eli Lama Sabcthani” symbolizes the depth of the words, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” These words contain all the horror of the world. As He hung there in a death struggle with sin and Satan, His heart was breaking; His members could no longer perform their functions. Heaven gave up on Him, for the sun was covered with darkness. The earth did not want Him, for His disciples forsook Him and fled.
With mockery, they called Him king, and then they scourged Him on the torture rack. They admitted that He was innocent, but the judge delivered Him into the hands of men, even though He was supposed to protect Him from His persecutors. They carried him to the place of crucifixion and mercilessly nailed him to the wood. The sun was burning over Him. The fever of His wounds made His body shiver. God left Him alone, so He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Meaning of Matthew 27:46
Since Matthew was writing mainly to Jews and wanted to emphasize that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. As for Psalm 22, most scholars agree that it is not from yesterday but from today. That is a messianic psalm. Possibly Jesus hoped until the last moment that God would intervene and save him. The OT’s teaching about the ascension of the son of man, which he preached, involved humiliation, possibly a threatening situation, but not necessarily death.
The meaning of Matthew 27:46 is that Jesus felt unspeakably alone. Those last hours before Easter were critical in the timeline of the announced kingdom. Time was running out. Jesus had taken the messianic challenge to the Jews and God to its outbreak. Either recognize me as the true messiah or condemn me as false, and God will have to intervene. He ended up being sentenced to death and hung on wood. The leaders ridiculed him, telling him to save himself as he saved others if he was the Christ. This meant that God had to intervene, at least now, to give a sign from heaven publicly confirming him as messiah.
A Christian will try to harmonize the gospels and make one big, unifying gospel. Textual critics, however, comparing them, have realized that this cannot be done without compromise, so they analyze each one separately. Viewed as works in their own right, the gospels differ substantially in their portrayal of various aspects of Jesus’ life.
Key Verse related to Jesus’ question on the cross
“About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”
What psalm says my God, why have you forsaken Me?
A special place in the Book of Psalms is occupied by the messianic psalms, those literary works that go far beyond the scope of David’s experiences and life. Even though they are based on the experiences of their author, their message goes beyond the man who wrote them, referring over the centuries to aspects of the Messiah’s life and ministry, especially those events related to his passion and death.
According to the Bible, Psalm 22 speaks of Jesus saying My God, My God, why do you forsake Me? Psalm 22 has been commented on by many Church fathers. If Eusebius of Caesarea saw the foundation of the Church of Christ in this psalm, the Jewish community of Qumran understood its message as representing the fractured and suffering history of the Jewish people awaiting the Messianic deliverance.
About a thousand years before the crucifixion scenes of the Saviour, David had no way of knowing all these details: the crucifixion, the mockery, the words spoken by Jesus on the cross, the drawing of lots for his clothes, the physical pain, described in great detail, and many other details of Jesus’ passion and death. Only God is above time and space, and only He could have inspired the psalmist to describe the scenes of the crucifixion with such accuracy, down to the smallest detail.
Why did Jesus say, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
God allowed His Son to bear our sins, die in torment, and wash them away with His, MY GOD, blood, all so that we could be reconciled to God. “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabahtani” is the cry of Christ on the cross. It seems incomprehensible that Christ, the Son of God, should utter these words to experience God’s departure.
Jesus said, “My God, my God, why do you leave Me?” He looked around, but there was no help. There was no one to share his burden and pain everywhere he looked. Alone he walked the teacup; not even his men were with him. Thus He walked, step by step, tireless, ready to empty the cup, which could not pass from Him, fulfilling the Father’s will. Finally, he cried out: It is finished, and He gave up His spirit. Listen, you Christians, listen to this triumph, which still has the same freshness and power today as it had centuries ago.
We would have expected that Christ, He who wronged no man, He who was without sin, would never be without the presence of God. It becomes an even more mysterious His cry if we consider that He was also God and knew He would come again.
- Jesus said these words because God indeed abandoned him and so that we might understand, once and for all, how much God hates sin. There is no lesser sin or greater sin. There is just sin. Moreover, this statement shows us God’s immense love for us.
- All His life, He lived with the Father. From the time he was born in the manger until he was on the cross, Jesus was always in the presence of the Father. We cannot imagine the immense emptiness He felt on the cross in those moments besides the unbearable pain caused by the scourging and crucifixion.
- By the fact that He cried out in the hearing of all, we have yet another parable by which we can see how much God hates sin.
God is holy, and He hates sin. He hates sin more than we can imagine. Jesus bears the burden of all our sins on the cross in those moments. Do you realize that He had billions upon billions upon billions of sins on His shoulders?
We could say in quotes that in those moments, Jesus was the most sinful man in history because He had my sins and yours and all people’s sins on His shoulders. Could a holy God be near a sinner or His beloved Son who endures the most terrible torments? When we meditate on Christ’s suffering and death on Calvary, the disturbing realism of these scenes makes us realize that none of this could have happened without an infinite love for humanity, for us.
If you enjoyed reading our article, play the following Quizlet to test your biblical knowledge about Jesus and His trial on the cross. May God bless you!
Quizlet about Messiah
Explanation of biblical words
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- Duguid, I. M. (2013). Is Jesus in the Old Testament?. P & R Publishing.
- Murray, D. (2013). Jesus on every page: 10 simple ways to seek and find Christ in the Old Testament . Thomas Nelson.
- Moyise, S. (2011). Jesus and Scripture: Studying the New Testament Use of the Old Testament . Baker Books.
- Wright, C. J. (2014). Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament. InterVarsity Press.
- Walvoord, J. F. (1969). Jesus Christ, Our Lord . Moody Publishers.