Tough Question #: When Jesus was on the cross why does he say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus’ question from the cross causes us some confusion. Jesus is fulfilling his mission. He is accomplishing the work God has requested from him. Our understanding is that Jesus and the Father are “one” and their purposes are never contrary to each other. When Jesus calls out to God in this moment it seems as though there is some separation between them. If that is the case, what other questions arise?
Was Jesus an unwilling participant in God’s plan of redemption? Was God not pleased with Jesus’ sacrifice? Can God be good if he allowed Jesus to suffer and then turn his back on Jesus? These are just of few of the questions that one might have. How do we answer?
The answer comes in understanding exactly what Jesus was saying in the moment. To understand it we need a little context and a little theology. The effort is well worth it because it is on the cross and in this moment that Jesus stands in our place. He is substituted for us. The suffering he endured and even the separation from the Father in that moment was due to us as the just consequences for our transgressions. Even in that moment though, Jesus is reminding us that this terrible thing he is suffering on our behalf is for the purpose of our redemption and his glory. That is where the context comes in. The question Jesus asks on the cross is actually a quote of Psalm 22. It is a Psalm full of desperation and hopelessness that ends with incredible victory and redemption. This is the truth about our sin and redemption. Our sin is great and causes great suffering. God’s victory over sin is even greater. This truth is seen perfectly in the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lo