This is one of the most well known phrases in the Bible. Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 record this as one of our Lord Jesus’s 7 utterances while He hung on the cross of Calvary. It means ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’
But turn with me to my favourite psalm. Psalm 22, positioned in the Bible just before the well-known soothing and reassuring psalm 23
Psalm 22 starts with the words
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Yes, King David penned these words in around 700BC. Centuries before the Roman Empire existed and before they invented crucifixion as a method of execution
I love this verse and the following prophetic psalm for re-affirming faith in the authenticity of the Bible as being God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16). It’s especially helpful in talking to Christians whose faith may be wavering. In the following verses, it becomes clear that the psalm covers the thoughts and suffering of our Lord Jesus on the cross after He had been crucified. It even goes into detail about the soldiers gambling for His clothing (Mat 27:35)
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture
I also like to share this psalm with Christians who don’t see much value in reading the Old Testament. Where in the New Testament can you find our Lord’s very thoughts at that moment He was on the cross? You can’t but it’s there in the Old Testment. There are so many treasures in the Old Testament, which expand on teachings in the New Testament
I am especially moved by verses 22 and 25
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
Even at that point of maximal suffering, our Lord obeyed the command in Philippuans 4:6 to give thanks in all situations. Verse 1 tells us He felt abandoned because at the point He was representing us, the sinner by using the title ‘My God’ rather than ‘Father’ as He does in some other utterances on the cross when He’s speaking as God the Son. However, His faith allows Him to continue to give praise to God. What an example. Any time I feel sorry for myself, I come back to read how our Lord Jesus praised His Father even at this point of maximal feeling of abandonment
Psalm 22 blows my mind every time I read it. It’s such an affirmation of the Bible and therefore my faith
After the pain of psalm 22, we can carry onto psalm 23 to salve those raw wounds. I believe they should be read as a pair