Tuesday Teaching Tips episode 251 |

Today I answer a question from a friend.

“I have a hard time believing that God deserted Jesus when he was on the cross. It seems to contradict Gods very nature. The main reason people say he left Jesus is because of the phrase “my God my God why have you forsaken me “ from Psalms 22. But no one believes that God forsook David, so why do we assume he forsook Jesus?”

Let me bring you the views of Jürgen Moltmann. He claimed that if we really believe that Christ was human and God and that God exists in a trinity of persons, then Jesus’ ‘suffering’ for sins was NOT just the ‘human’ Jesus suffering; rather, in Jesus’s suffering, the second person of the Trinity, God was also suffering! Thus, God chooses NOT to be aloof from human suffering but rather really takes it on himself. Moltmann would say, if you are really trinitarian, you must believe this. His views received praise and cries of heresy.

Consider also Ex 10:21-22 where darkness descending is a sign of God’s judgment upon those who reject God. (See Amos 8:9)

“Darkness at noon, by its paradoxical nature, was a fitting sign for God the Creator to give to whose who had rejected the light of the world.”

Cole, Mark, Tyndale, 325.

This is the only time in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus addresses God without calling him ‘Father’.

“Perhaps this cry tells us less of Jesus’ feelings at this point and more of the theological significance of the event, but it is hard to read it and imagine the event without seeing it as a personal statement of anguish caused by the reality of his impending separation from the Father.”

(Hurtado, 268)

This is not a cry of nihilistic despair. Even at this point of anguish Jesus is still talking to God, believing in God and calling on God. Ps 22 is a cry of victory, not hopelessness, so it is reasonable to think that Jesus chose this scripture (as opposed to many that would express greater hopelessness) because of its victorious stance. It was a willing drinking of the cup his Father willed him to drink

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm