Mark 15: When God is far away, yet so near

There is so much in Mark 15 to get into, what jumped out at me was when Jesus called out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (mark 15:34)? It appears like God (the father) is forsaking or abandoning God (the son). My question was… Is that possible? Can God forsake God?

To get the answer I did a little searching. I always like to begin with the context. Remember Jesus is being crucified.

Sometime between 9am and noon some of the religious leaders come through and are mocking Jesus. They say that if he comes down (supernaturally removes Himself from the cross) they will believe Him… This taunt is familiar. Satan tempted Jesus to fling Himself from the temple and angels would hold him up. The problem is that if Jesus comes off the cross He is no longer in perfect obedience to God and He is no longer making a perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Plus he will give them a greater sign by rising 3 days later. It is in this context that Jesus utters, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

My next step is to see if these words have been uttered before in scripture. A quick phrase search now available via modern technology reveals Psalm 22. I dare you to read Mark 15 and then Psalm 22. Psalm 22 was written well before the events of Mark 15, before Rome occupied Israel, before crucifixion was the accepted means of execution, yet it describes Mark 15 perfectly… Including the taunting. It also reveals that the end result of bringing people to worship God.

It appears that Jesus is quoting the scripture in this moment of extreme anguish to point those who are there to the real reason He is on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that God made him who knew no sin, to become sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. There is no doubt that Jesus pleased the Father. He was walking perfectly in God’s will, yet God’s will required Him to bear the sins of the world and for a time to experience the weight of sin and satisfy the wrath of God on our behalf.

So did God abandon God? Not ultimately. Jesus was fulfilling the plan of God, bringing Glory to God, and would be raised from the dead to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Did God abandon God briefly then? Possibly, though it was the plan from before the foundation if the world. Jesus bore our sin debt alone and in this (in my mind) there was a sense of abandonment.

The application for us: Don’t miss the big picture behind the question. God went to great lengths to insure that sinners could be made right and enjoy Him forever. Salvation is free, not because it is cheap, but because it is costly and we could never afford it.

One thought on “Mark 15: When God is far away, yet so near

  1. Good thoughts. Dr. Skinner (Hebrew guru at MABTS) wrote a great paper on “lama” the aramaic for “why.” He argues that it is a demonstrative “why” and not an interrogative. This shifts the view for Jesus questioning, “Oh God why is this happening,” to “God (show them) why this is happening.” When you follow it up with the veil, the earthquakes, and the resurrection of the dead…the argument is pretty compelling.

    Now I have a great deal of trouble with ENglish, so I don’t profess to be an Aramaic scholar…but Doc Skinner…I put him up there with the very best.

    Thanks for faithfully posting and sharing your QT with everyone.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s