Strange. Startling.  Shocking.  All of these words and more describe this plaintive cry of Christ from the cross.  They are unsettling.  They confound us.  They even appall us.  What were they? 

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

Forsaken is a strong word. A tragic word.  It conjures up images of abandonment.  Desertion.  Emptiness.  We think of a child abandoned by his parents.  Or a husband who deserts his wife.  Or a friend that forsakes you when you need them the most.

You mean Jesus, the beloved from the bosom of the Father, was now forsaken?  The One who shared communion and commonalty with Deity was now abandoned?  Heaven’s High Priest, its greatest messenger, He who was the Father’s glory and delight has now been left desolate?

I admit it’s difficult to explain.

Jesus was crucified at 9:00 AM.  For three hours he hung on the cross in the light of day.  But miraculously at noon darkness covered the land.  For three more hours Jesus hung there. Suspended between heaven and earth.  Rejected by his own.  And now abandoned by the Father.  He who was “made sin for us” must bear the cross alone.  Man would not rescue him.  And God could not save him.  One writer suggested the sight was too awful for a holy God to look upon and so he turned his face.

It was also a mournful cry of loneliness.

Dr. Charles Stanley observed, “Loneliness is one of the most crushing human emotions. The feelings of abandonment and isolation create an overwhelming sense of helplessness and despair. People in the throes of a heightened state of loneliness often fall prey to temptations or behaviors that are extremely atypical. It is a dangerous place to be.”

Judas betrayed.  Peter denied. Pilate passed. The disciples dispersed.  Jesus was left alone.  All alone.  Yet, He did not wilt under questioning.  Or retaliate at their mocking.  He endured the merciless beating. And bore the agony of the cross.  But under the canopy of darkness, when the Father’s face looked the other way, the parched lips of Jesus cried out, “My God!  My God!”  Forsaken!  Abandoned!  Lonely!


To fulfill David’s prophetic statement?  To bring the old law to an end?  To accomplish God’s will?  To complete the promise to Abraham?  Sure, all of these are answers.  But the greatest answer lies in this fact.  Jesus loves me!  Jesus came to experience human emotion.  Hurt. Trauma.  Temptation. And even the isolation of abandonment  and loneliness.  His love compelled him to die.  For me.  And in my place.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained?  When I feel lonely? Rejected?  Abandoned?   YES!  He cares.  And He knows how I feel.

But remember this.  That was Friday. On Sunday Jesus’ isolation ended.  His rejection resulted in resurrection. His abandonment became adulation.  And his loneliness culminated in heaven’s victory party!   And so will ours…on the Sunday of our resurrection!

–Ken Weliever, the Preacherman


Filed under Cross, It's Friday. But Sunday's Coming!, Jesus

6 responses to “IT’S FRIDAY. BUT SUNDAY’S COMING! Words of Anguish

  1. Judy Bertram

    As Jesus knew and felt all the things we do as humans, I had really never thought about how He had never felt the agony of true lonliness and abandonment till the Father turned HIs face; at that point He had completely felt all we do. He always had that connection with HIs Father even when others had abandoned Him. I never thought about that before your thoughts today. He truly felt what it was like to be alone. I think maybe that was the worst part of the whole experience.

  2. Bill Hood

    Thanks, Ken.. A great reminder that life at it’s worst, even in the face of death, cannot deprive us of God’s love and promise.

  3. Lauren Griggs

    So I must say this blog has been the most thought provoking, which is always a good thing 🙂 So i have heard this verse many times and with the little i knew about the scripture at the time i believed that God had turned His face from Jesus due to Jesus carrying the sins of the world. But after reading this today and discussing it with a co-woker we began to look at the words of David and found something quite interesting.
    Now please give me some feedback if you disagree.

    This may not have been a statement of despiration but possibly a statment of hope. The words that Jesus says on the cross are a quote from Psalm 22 as most of us already know. After reading this Psalm I noticed that although the psalmist begins with cries about why God has forsaken Him and is so far from saving Him, He comes to a place where He says these words “…You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel! For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help…”
    Now from what i understand, Jesus may have been doing 2 things by saying “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” :

    1) Fulfilling prophecy- In Pslam 22:1 David states the exact words of Jesus on the cross and then if you look at verses 16-18 you have David speaking of the situation Jesus was in and then in verse 31 you have the end of the story ” It is done” (NIV version). So Jesus was saying this to remind the people around Him that this proohecy is being fulfilled.

    2) Giving himself hope – If you read the entire Pslam 22 you see the verse shown above revealing that God would not hide His face from those that cry out to Him. Jesus would be saying this to remind Himself or give Himself hope that God, His father, is always with Him, especially in His time of need. The people listening would know this Psalm by heart and hear the hope in His words. Where as we do not have the scripture in our minds like they did and only hear the despiration that if placed in that situation we would feel.

    So i am not sure if he actually felt loneliness because he had full faith in God and His promise to not hide His face from those that cry out to Him. I think we as sinners feel lonely due to our lack of faith in God’s word and lack of relationship with God, and i believe that saying Jesus felt loneliness would mean He had a lack of faith in His Father or lack of relationship with God and this is not true. (this is the part i am unsure of so if you have any comments please let me know )

    So I am not sure if my thought process is completely accurate but i just wanted to share my thoughts and hopefully provoke the thoughts of others who have not fully studied this verse. Thank you Ken for a really great blog 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughts Lauren!   It is a difficult passage and there are several interpretations as to the exact meaning underlying Jesus’ cry.  Obviously it is a fulfillment of Ps 22, which runs through this entire scene.  I will have a bit more to say about this when I get to the phrase “It is finished.’   I appreciate your thoughts.  They are very good.  And I thank you for taking the time to share them with me and others. 

      Ken Weliever 400 NW Highcliffe Dr Lee’s Summit, MO 64081 Home Phone: 816-600-5001 Cell Phone: 813-507-1726 Church Office: 816-761-2659 web site: blog: Church web site:


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