39 of 100: “God forsaken by God — who can understand it?” – Martin Luther & about atonement

God forsaken by God

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamasabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34

1. It is said that Martin Luther once sat down to prepare a sermon on this same text. He sat at his desk, chewing on the meaning of these words for quite some time. Every once in a while someone would poke their head into his office to see if he was okay, because hours would pass and he still hand’t budged an inch. Finally, they say that Luther threw his hands up in the air, exclaimed,

“God forsaken by God — who can understand it?”

and went about some other business.

That mystery is so great and imponderable that it is not surprising that Martin Luther is said to have gone into seclusion for a long time trying to understand it and came away as confused as when he began. – http://www.gty.org/resources/print/bible-qna/BQ032913

2. The famous 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote:

“I think I can understand the words ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ as they are spoken by David in Psalm 22. But how they came to be uttered by Christ on the cross I will never comprehend.” – http://christlodi.org/god-forsaken-by-god/

The atoning work of the Christ

When Jesus cried out ‘My God, My God’ he literally meant that. To deny Jesus’ God is to deny Jesus also. He who denies the God & Father of Jesus also denies Jesus his son. He who understands the Father understands the son. He who struggles against the authority of the  God of Jesus also struggles against the son as the son always honoured his God.

This is a scene when the opponents of Jesus gloat over the God’s anointed. The invisible God has not intervened. The son hangs and the wicked are vindicated.

Rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” (Luk 23:35 )

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Mat 27:39,40) 

And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” (Luk 23:35)

Jesus experienced a defeat. But he trusted in God that he would be brought back to life by his God and concludes his life:

Luk 23:46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!“And having said this he breathed his last.

This is what humans are called to do – to fully trust in their God even as Jesus did “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!

Jesus’ trust was justified when he was resurrected and as a mere son of man was exalted to the right hand of God. This is the gospel message concerning faith and hope!

  • Faith: Jesus trusted his God
  • Hope: He would see life again and be rewarded. Jesus experienced poverty but he believed he would experience eternal riches. Jesus’ joy was his hope and his hope was eternal life and heavenly riches.

Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here is the atoning work of Jesus – His love, hope and faith. For faith and hope will not succeed unless they are motivated by love.

The brutal murder of a righteous man was not new for from the time of Abel many a  righteous men have been cut off by the wicked. The prophets of God were thrust into danger because of the love of God for the wicked that the wicked should not perish since they are also his creation.

Atonement is about love, faith and hope. It is not about animal, human or a God being sacrificed. The Atoning sacrifice of the son was reverent submission, even a brutal death on the cross that opened the flood gates of eternal life. A man locked the way to the tree of life, so took another man to unlock the path to eternal life.

becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him (Php 2:8, 9)

Substitution, ransom, blood (or life) have to be understood symbolically as they are a consequence of his obedience (sacrifice). Jesus then becomes a ‘template’ for humans to base their life upon – example Stephen who was stoned.

Rom 5:17  For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Rom 5:18  Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

It is not a divine being that atones but a man through his righteous way.

Rom 5:19  For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

The gospel message of life is to be righteous like Jesus, as Jesus was righteous like his Father. But before Yahweh’s Christ was exalted he was tested, tired, suffered, gloated upon and was murdered – yet in all this he proved his love – and thereby obedience that flowed from that love. So the first command is to love the Father with all our heart, mind and soul.

Analysing Psalms 22

Psa 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”

Before the ordeal of the cross, Jesus had prayed that it be taken away:

Mat 26:39 “And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus was also extremely sad that he would have to undergo the crucifix:

Mat 26:38 “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me.”

So, Jesus like any human was anxious and troubled. He prays to God, but does not get a favourable answer. His fate was to be like that of the prophets before him who were murdered unjustly starting with Abel and the likes of prophet Zachariah.

Jesus had to go through the process of appealing to the Jews in patience to change them, even at the cost of his own life. Greater love God cannot show to his people – letting his prophets suffer/die and lastly his own son died appealing to the people to repent and change.

Jesus was murdered on account of jealousy of the leaders.

Jesus goes through the motions of staying obedient. On the cross the agony is unexplainable and he cries out echoing the Psalm: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The shear agony causes him to remember what is written about him. His whole body is subject to extreme torture that one feels betrayed, however Jesus is remembering how the Psalm is being played out and reflects how one ought to feel. Jesus does not loose faith or sight, but a sorrowful sigh, that he has been trapped in the hands of the wicked and his God as abandoned hm to be sport of the merciless.

Psa 22:2 “O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou answerest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”

For most Christians this is a strange prophecy concerning the son. Especially for those who think he is God whose prayers are constantly rejected. It seems to be the focus of his prayer to be delivered from his enemies. However God had better plans for him, that he would be exalted far above all and made the central figure of mankind by which men should be saved. Jesus; trust serves as a an example to his followers.

The writer to the Hebrew writes:

Heb 5:7 “Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear,”

Jesus was a man of prayer, day or night, he committed himself to his God.
His God eventually delivered him death and seated him next to him. This then gives confidence to the followers of Jesus of the great blessings that lie ahead for following their Master.

Psa 22:3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Psa 22:4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
Psa 22:5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not ashamed.

ps 22 mothers womb my god trust Yahweh

Jesus never lost focus. He knew from past experiences of his heritage his God could be trusted.
He knew there is hope of deliverance.
He would be indeed delivered, but not in this life, but in next life through resurrection.

Psa 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Psa 22:7 All those who see me mock me. They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,
Psa 22:8 “He trusts in Yahweh. Let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him.

While the gospels record his fame, it also records the intense arguments he had with the leaders. He had conflict with various sects – scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Lawyers, etc.
While it may sound obvious that God’s anointed should be honoured he was brutally rejected.
Even worse, he was handed over to his enemies to be mocked. They mocked him on the cross feeling justified that God was not on his side:

Mar 15:31 “Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, “He saved others. He can’t save himself.”
Luk 23:35 “The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!””

His murderes felt vindicated, for they reasoned Lord Yahweh’s Christ could not be crucified. This was a very trying moment for Jesus, being humiliated to the depths. He was shamed, murdered and buried!

Psa 22:9 But thou art he that took me out the womb: thou didst make me trust when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
Psa 22:10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Jesus was divinely appointed from birth. He was raised up specifically to be God’s special Christ.
This was also true of his cousin John:

Luk 1:15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

John was brought forth from heaven for a special purpose:

1. Luk 1:16 He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God.
2. Luk 1:17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”

The Prophet Jeremiah had a special calling and was from above:

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

I.e. Jeremiah’s appointed took place in heaven even before he was born.

So, we see Jesus being instilled with trust from his birth. His birth itself was a miracle in that the power of God caused him to come into existence.

Jesus’ life was very consistent:
“thou art my God from my mother’s belly”

Psalm 22, shows how Jewish a man Jesus was and there is no hint of trinity. He was one who was divinely anointed and one who puts his trust in his God for deliverance, leaving no room for any form of trinity or oneness nor was he an angel in his supposed previous avatar!

Psa 22:11 “Don’t be far from me, for trouble is near. For there is no one to help.

Its a pretty useless statement for a God to say “For there is no one to help.”.
This is faith!
Faith of a sincere man.

The makers and custodians of trinity claim Jesus had no faith for he had ‘beatific vision’. How wrong they are for they engage in mysticism and are far removed from Jesus’ Jewish roots and the God of Israel.

Psa 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
Psa 22:13 They open their mouths wide against me, lions tearing prey and roaring.
Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.

These words would be strange that a king appointed by the Almighty should feel like this.

These verses have to be read in context. Let us build the scene in the case of the prophet Jeremiah who preached the deeds of the people were evil – Result:
Jer 38:6 “Then took they Jeremiah and threw him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard. They let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.”

His enemies – the leaders of the day:

Jer 38:1 Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchijah
Jer 38:4 Then the princes said to the king, “Please let this man be put to death; because he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words to them: for this man doesn’t seek the welfare of this people, but harm.”

So, this was not a new phenomenon that the chosen of God are actually chosen to rescue the people from their sinful ways. Appealing to sinful people in leadership is appealing to thugs and has its consequences. yet the love of the Father is so great that he wants his righteous prophets to appeal to thugs who will not hear.

Jer 7:27 “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.
Jer 7:28 You shall tell them, ‘This is the nation that has not listened to Yahweh their God’s voice, nor received instruction. Truth has perished, and is cut off from their mouth.’

So the phrase ‘God so loved the world’ comes to life in its true context that Lord yahweh always loved the children of Israel and sacrifices his prophets and lastly sacrificed his beloved son.

So the love of God and the sincere obedience and zeal of the servant, causes him to mourn, groan and be very bitter in spirit.

Psa 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me. A company of evildoers have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
Psa 22:17 I can count all of my bones. They look and stare at me.
Psa 22:18 They divide my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.

These words come true literally when they crucified him.

Psa 22:19 But don’t be far off, Yahweh. You are my help: hurry to help me.
Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.
Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth! Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me.

The obedient servant puts all his hope in his God is spite of his dire circumstances.
Therefore Jesus by his example of trust and obedience has become the saviour of mankind.
He is the truth, way and life and only by following his ways of trust is one found pleasing in the sight of God.

Are we able to say:

Yahweh. You are my help

If you struggle to say those words Jesus said of his God you are not of God!

Psa 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers. Among the assembly, I will praise you.
Psa 22:23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
Psa 22:24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.

The psalm suddenly changes to a period of rejoicing, for the resurrection has occurred.
it is very important never to loose the immediate context of Jesus the Jew:

“All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!” – Psa 22:23

He appeals to like minded people who like himself fear Lord Yahweh.
The song ‘How deep the Father’s love for us’ goes:
“The Father turns His face away”

Jesus with his true brothers says:
“Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard”

The trinity and its associated teachings gets almost everything wrong w.r.t Sovereign Yahweh’s anointed and his God.

Since the story of the suffering prophets is a common theme in scriptures the author to Hebrews interprets thus:

Heb 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

‘the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings’ thereby becoming a supreme example for all mankind.

having gone through the ordeal himself he knows what it was for Paul to be put in prison and what it was for Stephen to be stoned to death:

Heb 2:17 Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

Hebrews quotes thus:

Heb 2:11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
Heb 2:12 saying, “I will declare your name to my brothers. Among the congregation I will sing your praise.
Heb 2:13 Again, “I will put my trust in him.” Again, “Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me.”

The phrase:
“Therefore he was obligated in ALL things to be made like his brothers”
destroys all theology of the highly controversial hypostatic union.

Psa 22:25 “Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.”

Reject trinity. The scriptures is about reaching out to Yahweh God, even as Jesus reached out.
He praises God, he seeks God, he loves and longs for his God.

The message of Jesus for believers:

Psa 22:26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.
Psa 22:27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.
Psa 22:28 For the kingdom is Yahweh’s. He is the ruler over the nations.
Psa 22:29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can’t keep his soul alive.

(If you know Jesus he will lead you to the Father for the Father appointed him to declare his name to the Jews and gentiles. Jesus was never a member of the trinity)

The song of Jesus (and co authored by Moses):

“They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty! Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. Who wouldn’t fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you only are holy. For all the nations will come and worship before you. For your righteous acts have been revealed.”” Rev 15:3-4

Rev 15_3 song of jesus and mosesRev 15_4 song of jesus and moses

Psa 22:30 Posterity shall serve him. Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
Psa 22:31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, for he has done it.

“Posterity shall serve him” I.e. Jesus will be made the Father of everlasting. He is not the Father should be obvious!

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