“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Psalm 22:1 KJV
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Psalm 22:1 NASB
There were seven cries of the Lord Jesus from the cross, as recorded in the four Gospel records. The first three reveal the sympathy of the Lord’s heart as He prayed for His enemies, committed His mother to John, and assured the thief of His salvation. The last two tell of His satisfaction and confidence: “It is finished” and “Into Thy hands …”
But the middle two are the cries which give us some insight into His suffering. “I thirst” reveals His physical sufferings. In the words cited above, quoted from Psalm 22 and repeated in Matthew and Mark, we are afforded a window into His deepest sufferings. In these words, we see:
There existed up until those six hours on the cross, the enjoyment of unbroken fellowship between the persons in the Godhead. Eternity, as well as thirty-some years of earthly sojourn had not lessened that enjoyment. The Lord moved in the consciousness of the approval and pleasure He was bringing to His Father God; the heart of God found a continual feast in the life of His Son.
We who know so little of fellowship with divine persons cannot begin to measure what each moment of that fellowship meant to Him.
An Interruption that was Painful
Since we cannot measure the heights of joy that were experienced between God in heaven and His Son on earth, we cannot plumb the depths of His sorrow when He was forsaken on the tree and there was an interruption, for the first time in all eternity, of the conscious enjoyment of fellowship between God in heaven and Christ on earth. The Spirit of God has attempted to give us some understanding in the vivid imagery of Psalms 22 and 69. At best, we gain a small appreciation.
An Insight Provided
The words of the Lord Jesus were not a complaint. He went to the cross in complete agreement with the will of God and the necessity for the cross. When He broke the bread in the upper room, He was thanking God for the opportunity to give His body. It was not a question in the sense that He did not know the answer. He alone knew the reason, a reason that not even the disciples appreciated at the moment.
Why then the words from His lips? Who among us would have ever thought that sin is so heinous an entity that God would have to forsake His Son on the cross? Who would have ever dared think that anything could interrupt the enjoyment of that eternal fellowship if the Word of God had not told us?
Perhaps we get some inkling of this in the types seen in the offerings, but the dreadful reality would likely have escaped us without Psalm 22, Matthew 27:46, and Mark 15:34.
It is in His words out of the darkness that we learn how great our guilt, how vast the ransom, and how deep the love.
Notice the three occasions in Psalm 22 when the word “far” is used.