Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46 – Yeshua Cries Out at His Death

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POSTED 04 NOVEMBER, 2017

At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, ‘ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ which is translated, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’ [Psalm 22:1](Mark 15:34).

“About the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’ [Psalm 22:1](Matthew 27:46).

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

As Yeshua was being executed on the tree, He spoke forth the words from Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”, witnessed in both Mark 15:34[1] and Matthew 27:46.[2] Psalm 22 is actually attributed to David of his entreating God for His vindication of righteous action (Psalm 22:23-31). The text has some definite parallels with specific actions involving the humiliation and death of Yeshua, including a reference to garments being divided up after lots are cast (Psalm 22:18-19; cf. Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24). Likewise, the words “let Him [God] deliver him” (Psalm 22:8) were hurled at Yeshua as He was dying on the cross (Matthew 27:39-43).[3]

Within discussions about the Messiahship of Yeshua, a conclusion drawn is that the quotation of Psalm 22:1 should serve as a necessary referent to the contents of all of Psalm 22. In the estimation of Walter C. Kaiser, in his book The Messiah in the Old Testament, “In antiquity, there were no chapter numbers, verses, or even titles of books to refer to or quote from; instead, the first line was generally used to refer to the whole poem.”[4] It is not just enough to conclude that from Psalm 22:1 quoted in Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46, and focusing on the negative condition that has manifest itself as the sin of all humanity has caused some rupture to emerge between the Father and the Son—the Psalm includes a decisive word of God’s Divine intervention at the end: “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard. From You comes my praise in the great assembly” (Psalm 22:24-25a). This is the kind of accolade that we should expect from a narrative later involving the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead and subsequent declaration of the good news to both the Jewish people and the world at large. As Watts appropriately summarizes in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible,

“Jesus’ extreme anguish at being separated from God should not be minimized…But neither does his anguish nullify his confident declarations of subsequent resurrection….His cry is the final and clearest echo of Ps 22…which proceeds from David’s certainty of God’s faithfulness to hear and vindicate his own…Jesus thus sees his death as the Messianic fulfillment of David’s deepest experience of divine abandonment (Ps 22:1-18)—in a way that no human could ever understand—but his death will just as surely result in glorious vindication and subsequent universal worship of God (Ps 22:19-31…).”[5]

That the quotation of Psalm 22:1, while Yeshua is dying on the cross, is a prompt for readers of Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46 to go and decompress the material of Psalm 22 for Messianic importance, should be clear enough. That Yeshua the Messiah, in His capacity as the Son of David, is identifying with a Psalm of David, in quoting Psalm 22:1, should also be clear enough. But are there to be any deductions made about Yeshua addressing His Father with, “My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?” (Mark 15:34, CJB/CJSB). Usually, proponents of a high Christology of Yeshua being God, in instances where Yeshua is seen to call His Father, “God,” will conclude that the venue being witnessed is Yeshua operative via His incarnated humanity—which surely did take place at the scene of His execution and subsequent death. Commenting in The Apologetics Study Bible on Mark 15:34, Alan Hultberg says,

“The greatest mystery of the gospel is that Jesus was both God and man in one person. Though the Gospels do not tell us, we can deduce from the rest of Scripture that Jesus was forsaken by God due to His bearing the sin of the world on the cross (Is 59:2; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24). The rupture in relationship was between God and Jesus in His humanity.”[6]


NOTES

[1] Erwin Nestle and Kurt Aland, eds., Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition (New York: American Bible Society, 1993), 145; Kurt Aland, et. al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Stuttgart: Deutche Bibelgesellschaft/United Bible Societies, 1998), 187; Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, eds., Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart, 2012), 171.

[2] Nestle and Aland, GNT, 84; Aland, GNT, 112; Aland, Karavidopoulos, Martini, Metzger, GNT, 98.

[3] A Summary of Messianic fulfillment of Psalm 22 is available in Walter C. Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), pp 111-118; Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 3: Messianic Prophecy Objections (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), pp 122-133.

[4] Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 117.

[5] NIV Zondervan Study Bible, 2057.

[6] Alan Hultberg, “Mark,” in The Apologetics Study Bible, 1501.


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