The following are the notes for the Open Forum scheduled for April 22, 2015, at 11:00 AM CT. We may be making adjustments to these notes. Please keep checking back. Feel free to leave comments below the post which you feel would help us in our study on April 22, 2015. Updates were made on April 21, 2015. (JD)
Open Forum Notes for April 22, 2015
Question: According to Jesus’ use of Psalms 22, did God forsake Jesus when Jesus hung on the cross? (JD) I have added “According to Jesus’ use of Psalms 22” to be a bit more clear regarding our purpose for examining Psalms 22.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-50)
appears toasked God why God had forsaken Him. And from the outset, it appears this is what Jesus felt. There are some who hold strongly to this belief and use various Bible passages to support their assertion that God forsook Jesus. We will address those passages in this open forum scheduled for April 29, 2015.
- There are some who believe God forsook Jesus and uses Jesus’ question (and other Bible passages) to support their assertion that God forsook Jesus. (We will address those other passages in the open forum scheduled for April 29, 2015.) (Edits by JD)
- (JD) – Addition: Is it possible that due to the extreme agony and pain (such as what Jesus went through in the garden), that Jesus felt forsaken at that moment, resulting in a fulfillment of prophecy? (ER: For what it’s worth, this is how I understand it–that Jesus was employing this quotation from psalm 22 to express the anguish he was experiencing.) (I would be in the middle. I don’t think he’s quoting Psalm 22:1 with no application to himself. On the other hand, I don’t believe he has become oblivious due to the pain he is experiencing. I don’t believe he needs any clarity, so I believe it is rhetorical; taking into account the rest of Psalm 22:1 it would be something like, “You have given me up to death that people might live.” -DD)
- Jesus was quoting from Psalms 22:1.
- To better understand Jesus’ statement, it is prudent to examine Psalms 22 and see if it sheds light on why Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”.
- This examination will be in two parts:
- We will consider the psalm as reflecting David’s immediate and personal struggles and as an expression of what he felt.
- We will consider the psalm as a Messianic prophecy.
Psalm 22 – A Psalm of David.
- Verses 1-2 — David appears to question the Lord as to why the Lord has forsaken him.
- It has been suggested that we discuss the word “forsaken” and how it is used.
- [Daniel Duvall] (I think we get bogged down in the term “forsaken” automatically meaning spiritual disfellowship and disunity. I don’t think that is a necessary definition. When you think of its use in Hebrews 10:25, it’s about someone who has the ability to assemble and doesn’t. So, in general the term can simply refer to having the ability to do something but choosing not to act on that ability. The Father had the ability to stop the Son’s suffering, but chose not to act in stopping it. The Father let it continue. In that way, he “forsook” Jesus. When “everyone forsook” Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16, did Paul lose spiritual fellowship and unity with all Christians? No. Simply, he was by himself. The Father didn’t die on the cross; the Holy Spirit didn’t die on the cross; Jesus died by himself which does not imply any more loss of unity than it did for Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16.- DD)
- Verses 3-5 — David acknowledges God’s watchful care over the “fathers.” David writes, “. . . they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.”
- Verses 6-8 — David questions his own worthiness. People are ridiculing David saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him.”
- Verses 9-10 — David acknowledges his being reared to trust in the Lord. Even from his birth, God has been David’s God.
- Verses 11-13 — David prays to God for help because there are none who will help David.
- Verses 14-15 – David’s despair is truly great, feeling he is near the point of death.
- Verses 16-18 – Not only is no one willing to help David, he also states he is surrounded by his enemies who seek to abuse and consume David.
- Verses 19-21 – David appeals to the Lord for help. David then acknowledges the Lord has answered his pleas by saying, “You have answered me.”
- Verses 22-26 – David praises the Lord and acknowledges why the Lord should be praised.
- David will declare the name of the Lord.
- Those who fear the Lord are to praise the Lord.
- The descendants of Jacob are to glorify the Lord.
- The offspring of Israel is to fear the Lord.
- God has NOT despised the afflicted.
- God has NOT hidden His face from the afflicted.
- God HAS heard the cry of the afflicted.
- David will praise the Lord in the “great assembly.”
- Those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
- Verses 27-31 – David closes the psalm by proclaiming the rule of God and the glory of God. David ends by saying, “They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.”
Psalm 22 – A Messianic Psalm.
- The Messianic aspect of this psalm is fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ. (The following information was provided by Seth McDonald.)
- verse 1 – “My God, My God” — seen in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.
- verse 7 – Enemies Sneer with Wagging Heads — seen in Matthew 27:39.
- verse 8 – Words of the Enemies — seen in Matthew 27:43.
- verse 15 – Concept of Thirst — seen in Matthew 27:48 and John 19:29.
- verse 16 – Piercing of Hands and Feet Foretold (Centuries before Crucifixion was Common) — seen in John 20:25.
- verse 18 – Divided Garments and Cast Lots for Vesture — seen in Mark 15:24 and Luke 23:34 and John 19:23.
- verse 22 – Praising God In The Midst of The Assembly — seen in Hebrews 2:12.
- verses 24, 31 – God Strengthens When He Cries For Help — seen in Luke 22:43-44 and Hebrews 5:7.
- verse 31 – “It is finish” or “He Has Performed It” — seen in John 19:30.
- [Seth McDonald] – Notice all of the prophecies in Psalm 22 that are fulfilled on that exact same day. While on the cross, Jesus did not have the time nor the breath to preach a 30 minute sermon about what was happening. He quotes the first verse and the last verse and expects us to know everything in between.
- Additional thought: Jesus referencing this psalm with such brevity should not be too surprising. Consider the simplicity of the parables and yet many refused to hear what Jesus was teaching.
- [Seth McDonald] Here is the two main and only questions for me: If Jesus had not quoted the first verse of Psalm 22, then . . .
- Would the idea of “God forsaking Jesus on the cross” even exist? (ER – Perhaps not, but Jesus did quote it.)
- If we study Psalm 22 without knowledge of Jesus quoting it, would we have considered the Psalmist to be truly forsaken by God?
- It seems to me the point of the Psalm is that not only does God NEVER forsakes the righteous, but Him suffers along side of them. (ER: Where does David mention God suffering with him?)
- [Bob Myhan] It seems to me that God’s general promise is that He will not forsake the faithful (cf. Josh. 1:5, et al) though He might from time to time “bear long with them” (Luke 18:1-7) (for clarity on the NKJV rendering, “bear long with them” means “have patience with them”- DD). If we forsake Him, He will cast us off forever. (1 Chron. 28.9)
Two Opposing Views:
- God did forsake Jesus, “turning His back” to Jesus.
- One key reason for God forsaking Jesus is as follows: Jesus took on (bore) the guilt of mankind’s sin. As a result, Jesus became sin, the very thing God hated. Therefore, in the moments prior to Jesus’ death, God turned His back on Jesus. Once Jesus died, the price for sin having been paid, God turned back towards Jesus and raised Him from the dead.
- Resulting questions:
- Did Jesus become the only person to bear the full guilt of another man’s sins?
- Is Jesus the only person to bear the guilt of sin without taking the necessary steps to be forgiven of those sins?
- When Jesus died for man’s sins, did He also die for the guilt of those sins He had taken on?
- God did not forsake Jesus.
- Jesus’ death, and subsequent resurrection and victory was the fulfillment of Psalms 22, the beginning of which is the passage quoted by Jesus on the cross.
Jesus paid the price for mankind’s sins by being the perfect sacrifice. He was persecuted. He suffered a humiliating death, giving His life as a sin offering for mankind’s sins. He was the perfect sacrifice because He was sinless.(Is this point relevant to whether or not he was forsaken? ER) (JD – Good point. This point is more relevant to next week’s discussion and will be discussed then. I will strike this point.)
- (ER) Another interpretation. In psalm 22 David begins by expressing anguish at being abandoned to suffer. He then calls for God to not be far away, but to come to his rescue. In the end, God hears his cry for help and delivers him. David praises God. When Jesus quotes verse 1, he is in the midst of suffering. It was not yet over. He had not yet been delivered. I believe he was expressing the extreme pain, humiliation, sadness, etc., that he was feeling in that moment. To think of it another way, all the negative things Jesus experienced on the cross are not found in the presence of God (Rev. 21:3-4).
- “Will believing either position jeopardize a Christian’s soul?” Yes believing error will jeopardize a Christian’s soul (BG)
- (JD) So, if incorrect, then the one who understands from Jesus statement that God forsook Jesus will lose his soul if he does not correct his belief?
- (JD) So, if incorrect, then the one who believes God did not forsake Jesus will lose his soul if he does not correct his belief?
- (JD) When will believing error separate one from fellowship with God?
- Keep in mind one’s soul cannot be in jeopardy unless that one is out of fellowship with God, a result of sin?
- Keep in mind any misunderstanding or incorrect understanding would have to qualify as error when compared to the correct understanding of a given passage.
- I would suggest believing error jeopardizes a person’s soul when that error leads that person into a sinful decision or path.
- (ER) Perhaps even more important than our interpretation is having the right attitude toward the word. Jesus said “why have you forsaken me,” therefore I would rather say I am not sure what Jesus meant by this than to say “Jesus was not forsaken.” Remember Jesus’ rebuke to Peter when Peter flatly contradicted what Jesus said would happen to him (Matt. 16:22-23).
- (JD) The following has been removed due to lack of relevance to this open forum.
Could this be a subject wherein God has not given us enough information to truly understand what took place, thereby leaving us to accept what we do have, neither adding to nor taking away from God’s word?
Additional Material for Consideration.
- While the goal of this open forum was to see whether or not Jesus was claiming to have been forsaken by God based upon His use of Psalms 22, some additional material on the question of whether or not God forsook Jesus has been provided below by Bryan Garlock and Bobby Myhan.
- Additional Notes (BG & BM)
- The Father and the Son are ONE: John 8.28-29; 16.32; 18.4; John 10.30; cf. Deut. 6.4 (JD) How are the Father and Son ONE? This may be a good question to answer at this point.
- Did Jesus keep His own Word? John 8.51
- Jesus knew from eternity past that this moment would come: John 12.27 Jesus forgot the Father would have to forsake Him and why. Jesus was a confused, bewildered sinner – not knowing what was going on or why!
- (JD) BG writes, “Jesus forgot the Father would have to forsake Him and why. Jesus was a confused, bewildered sinner – not knowing what was going on or why!”
- (JD) I think BG is stating what would have had to have been the case if truly God forsook Jesus because Jesus was guilty of all the sins of mankind. BG, correct me if I’m wrong.
- The Father always hears His Son: John 11.42; Heb. 5.7
- “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…” (Col 2.9 NKJV) When Jesus was full of sin, did He still have the fullness of the Godhead bodily? Christ is God (John 1.1). Did God impute sin to God?
- Was the Godhead fractured? If yes, did Jesus cease to be God? If no, God was full of sin (1 John 1.5). Incidentally, what was the role of the Holy Spirit in this alleged separation? Did He also separate FROM Christ? Whose side did He take?
- He CANNOT be God AND sin AT THE SAME TIME: 1 John 1.5; John 8.12
- Every question Jesus asked was to teach or provoke thought because He knew the answer already!
- Did Jesus have this promise? Deut. 31.6; Josh. 1.5; Psalm 37.28; 1 Chron. 28.9; Heb. 13.5
- Was Jesus forsaken from the foundation of the world? Rev. 13.8 Has the Son has always been separated from His Father since He had always been sacrificed in the Father’s mind? (Obviously, Revelation 13:8 does not mean Jesus was literally and actually slain 4,000 years prior but speaking of the death of Christ as a redemptive sacrifice decreed in the counsels of eternity- DD)
- Is to bear to possess? Did Jesus grieve as a result of “bearing” the griefs of others? Did he become sorrowful as a result of “carrying” the sorrows of others? Did Jesus get a fever when he cured Peter’s mother-in-law? Did demons possess Jesus when he cast them out of others? Did Jesus get sick as a result of healing those who were sick? Matt. 8.17
- Imputation of sins: When man’s sins were imputed TO Christ, were they not imputed FROM man? Would this not leave man SINLESS? How did Jesus get rid of the sins? Did the sins that were imputed to Christ disappear?
- If the Father had literally imputed all human sin to Christ: At what point were all humans without sin (righteous)? At what point did the Father impute righteousness again to Christ? At what point did the Father impute sin again to humans? How is the imputation of sin consistent with divine justice? What is the purpose of God imputing our sins TO Jesus IF they were going to be imputed BACK to us? If they were not imputed back to us, why the need for forgiveness?
- 1 Peter 2.24: The meaning is that Jesus REMOVED our sins in His own body. He TOOK our sins by His sacrifice: John 1.29
- Who lied? John or Peter? 1 Peter 2.24; 1 John 3.5
- Who punished/killed Jesus? God or man? “He was despised and rejected by men…” “…as one from whom men hide their faces…” “…he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (ER: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief” Isa. 53:10. Jesus asked the Father to let the cup pass from him because he knew that only the Father could do so. It was the Father’s will that the Son suffer and die.) (2nd ER’s comment: Yahweh put him to grief and desired to crush him; John 3:16; Romans 8:32, God gave his Son, not man took his soon-DD)
- Jesus was not forsaken according to Psalm 34.15-22 and John 19.32-37
- Sinless sacrifice or sinful substitute? Can He be both? Simultaneously? (Can Paul be both child, mother, and father in the same chapter in 1 Thessalonians 2? Yes. Metaphors are not meant to necessarily be merged- DD)
- Why did Jesus quote Psalm 22.1? He knew about Psalm 22 long before He came to earth. He inspired David to write Psalm 22. How could He have been surprised at His Father’s actions at any time? How could He have been unsure of His Father’s motives at any time?