Questions From Readers
● Why, while hanging on the stake, did Jesus Christ cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—U.S.A.
Jesus’ question was a quotation from a psalm of David. (Ps. 22:1) In David’s case the question related to a momentary condition of abandonment. Surrounded by enemies, David found himself in a situation that made it appear that he was completely forsaken by Jehovah. The tremendous strain resulting therefrom moved David to ask why it had happened despite his being unaware of any guilt. But David had not lost faith, for in the same psalm he prayed: “Do make haste to my assistance.”—Ps. 22:16-19.
Similarly, when uttering the words of Psalm 22:1, Jesus keenly sensed that his Father had momentarily withdrawn his protection and “forsaken” or released him into the hands of his enemies, to die as an accursed criminal on a stake. (Gal. 3:13) In asking “why,” Jesus did not imply that he did not know the reason for this abandonment nor was he expecting an answer from his Father. The situation is comparable to that of a Christian who knows the reason for human suffering but is moved, under the weight of intense difficulties, to ask “why” either silently or audibly. The questioner thereby reveals that he has no reason to think that the suffering is due to his transgressions. Thus, besides fulfilling Psalm 22:1, Jesus’ outcry evidently served to confirm his innocence and focused on the real purpose for his suffering.—Matt. 27:46; compare John 12:27, 28, 33.