This was a cry uttered by our Lord while at the cross (Matt.27:46 Mk 15:34) and lifted out from Psalm 22:1 which was King David’s faint expression while reflecting on his difficulties in life. There are several ideas attached to this passage by various Bible students which are the following:
- Jesus declared that there is one true God, the Father;
- Jesus Christ in the form of flesh lived the perfect life of the obedient Adam;
- Jesus as the NT anti-type of an OT typical Davidic trust in the midst of persecution;
- Jesus uttered this to further prove that He was the fulfillment of an OT prophecy;
- This is hell’s penalty for all humanity for billions of years in eternity abbreviated in three hours borne by one person, Jesus Christ, at the cross in Calvary.
To this writer, it is not an “either one or the other” of the five items above. It is all of the above and more particularly focused on item number 5.
Jesus as human needed the help of God so that he could bear the pain and suffering that should have been ours, yours and mine, to carry. Jesus as the second Adam, the perfect Adam, proved to God and to us and to the First Adam, that it is possible to obey God, with trust in God’s help, even in suffering.
In my long hours and years of reflecting on the passage, the idea of quantified sin heaped upon the human Jesus comes to me. In my hours of contemplation, I speculate on the weight one soul carries as a punishment in hell, and the amount of loneliness one feels in hell. Suppose the discomfort of a single soul in hell is equivalent to the discomfort of carrying the weight of 20 kilos of rice carried day and night. And suppose there were 100 billion souls born from the first Cain down to the last Cain the total weight would be 2,000 billion kilos. And since the weight is not distributed throughout eternity, but concentrated in 3 hours at the cross, the weight would become heavier. Let’s say the weight increases to 200,000 billion kilos. Can anyone compute the degree of pain on the physical body when the weight of 200,000 billion kilos is dropped on a single person??? Anyone who is pressed down with that weight can’t avoid crying to God for help. The human-divine Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He carried an impossible weight.
God allowed the Lord Jesus to carry that gargantuan load and pain for humanity. Divine justice demands the punishment of crime. Justice has to be satisfied. After three hours of suffering intense pain and discomfort, Jesus paid all the demands of divine justice. So he cried, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
To me the above explanation is most reasonable to give meaning to the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
To INC preachers, this line is used to deny the deity of Jesus because the Lord recognized God’s existence. This was the human Jesus in pain. You may read the whole Psalm 22 and you find several expressions of Jesus’ humanity fulfilled anti-typically: verses 4, 9, 10, 16, 18. (Eusebio Tanicala)