Monday, January 13, 2014

Was Jesus Forsaken? A Study on Psalm 22

The common view of Christians, at least in America is that when Jesus was on the cross, God the Father turned His back on the Son, when the sins of the world were applied to Him, and that is why the whole world grew dark.  Well the LORD showed me something that will challenge that conventional belief.

So when Jesus was hanging upon the cross, he cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me? (Ps. 22:1)"  Most Chrisitans assume that the Father turned His back on Jesus because He could not bear to look upon all the sins of the world being laid upon His only begotten Son.  It's sweet sentiment, but is it Biblical?  Where do we see in the scriptures that the Father turned away from the Son, and stopping His gaze from being upon Him?  We don't.  It's not in there!

What Jesus was doing when He cried out the first verse of Psalm 22, is that as a good Rabbi, He was calling the attention of His students, His disciples, to Psalm 22, which the Jews of that era knew was a Messianic Psalter.  If we continue to go through this Psalm, not only does it foretell precisely what happened to Jesus as He was crucified, with the nails through His hands and feet (Ps. 22:16), to His physical appearance (v. 17), the centurions gambling for his clothes, the Psalm goes on to tell us more.

Verse 22 the Psalm shifts to the subject person of the Psalm moving to praise God, and tell of His great name.  But verse 24 tells us: "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard."

As I was reading this Psalm, thinking that the Psalm is a prophecy about Jesus, I identified "the afflicted" with Jesus.  He is the subject of this Psalm, and to shift the meaning from the Messiah, to the world, or  to the poor, is to wrongfully interpret the meaning of the Psalm.

But verse 24 tells us that God "has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor has He hidden His face from him"!  We always say "When Jesus was on the cross, God turned His back on Him."  But that's not in there!  That's not Biblical!  Psalm 22:24 says that God indeed DID NOT turn His back on Yeshua!

So why did Yeshua cry out, "My God My God, why have You forsaken Me?"  We know that when the disciples or others addressed Jesus, they referred to him as Rabbi, but sometimes we lose sight of the fact that this is indeed what and who Jesus of Nazareth is.  He is the Rabbi of all rabbis!  He IS the living Word of God, that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  We also need to remember that the chapter and verse numerical arrangement is a historically recent thing, and did not exist in the time of Jesus and the Jewish Tanakh (their Bible).  So whenever a Rabbi wanted to tell others about a certain passage of scripture, he would call out the first verse of that section.

Rabbi Yeshua  was calling people to turn to Psalm 22, which was all about Him, and prophesied of the very event they had all just witnessed, from the times of King David, circa 3,000 B.C.  

So why did the skies grow dark while Jesus was on the cross?  What does the Bible have to say about dark clouds?  For what reason do they appear?  

2 Samuel 22:12   "And He made darkness canopies around Him, A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky. 


Psalm 97:1-2  The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad.  2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. 

So why did the sky become Dark when Yeshua was upon the cross as a propitiation for our sins (Rom.3:25)?  From what scripture declares, that the LORD surrounds Himself with clouds and thick darkness, it seems that the Father was not far away, turning His back in grief and disgust at the sin, but He was RIGHT THERE, Enthroned on the first row, carefully and lovingly watching over His Son who willingly laid down His life (John 10:18).

Coming Soon:  Was Jesus Forsaken? A Study... Part 2

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