Unveiling Christ's Cry: Decoding Messiah's Lamentation on the Cross

At Calvary, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was marked by many significant events. However, one particular moment stands out as a deep mystery – Jesus’ lamentation on the cross, when He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 ESV).

This poignant exclamation from the Son of God, who had been gloriously recognized and honored by His heavenly Father at His baptism and transfiguration, leaves us astonished at His apparent desertion in this crucial moment of yielding up His life on the cross.

In this article, we will explore the time, manner, and nature of Messiah’s complaint, shedding light on the profound meaning behind these words.

The Time and Circumstances of Messiah’s Complaint:

To fully understand the significance of Jesus‘ lamentation, let us first consider the time and circumstances in which it occurred.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, it was about the ninth hour, or three in the afternoon, when Jesus cried out on the cross (Matthew 27:46).

By this time, Jesus had been suspended on the cross for six hours, enduring excruciating pain and facing a slow and lingering death. Darkness had covered the whole land for three hours, and during this time, Jesus had not uttered a single sentence.

However, the long silence is broken, and Jesus cries out with a loud voice, indicating that He is still possessed of full power and that His life cannot be forced from him, but that He has the power to lay it down and take it up again (Matthew 27:46).

This cry is also significant because it fulfills scripture prophecy, specifically Psalm 22, which Jesus had previously referred to during His ministry, when He spoke of His sufferings and death (Luke 24:46-48).

The Manner of Messiah’s Exclamation:

Jesus’ cry of “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” was not a desperate plea of abandonment, but rather a declaration of His claim to the Messiahship (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus had always professed to be the Son of God, sent by the Father to be the Savior of the world.

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He had been condemned and was now dying for this claim, yet He still addresses God as His God with His dying breath, affirming His divine identity and mission. This exclamation was also a powerful testament to Jesus’ unwavering faith in the midst of His agony and darkness on the cross.

Despite feeling overwhelmed and amazed by the mental and spiritual darkness, Jesus did not complain about the apostasy of His friends, the treachery of Judas, Peter’s denial, Pilate’s sentence, the scourging, or the rudeness of the rabble. Instead, He cried out to His God, expressing His deep anguish and bewilderment (Matthew 27:46).

The Nature of Messiah’s Complaint:

It is crucial to understand that Jesus’ cry of abandonment does not imply a separation between His divine and human natures or a lack of love and approval from God the Father. On the contrary, Jesus was never dearer and more precious to the Father than at this moment.

However, there are profound reasons behind His lamentation on the cross.

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This judicial hiding of His Father’s face was a part of the immense suffering Jesus endured on the cross.

  • Secondly, Jesus’ cry of abandonment was also a fulfillment of prophecy. In Psalm 22:1, David, a prophet and a foreshadowing figure of Jesus, had written about the Messiah’s experience on the cross, saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus, in quoting this Psalm, was revealing that He was the promised Messiah who had come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, even in His moment of extreme anguish and suffering.

  • Thirdly, Jesus’ cry of abandonment was a demonstration of His identification with humanity in their fallen state. As the Son of God who took on human flesh, Jesus fully entered into the human experience, including the pain, suffering, and abandonment that sin brings.

In that moment on the cross, Jesus was representing all of humanity, bearing their sins and the consequences of sin.

Jesus was experiencing the depths of human brokenness and alienation from God, so that He could redeem and reconcile humanity back to God through His sacrificial death on the cross.

Furthermore, Jesus’ cry of abandonment was an expression of the weight of the sins of the world that He carried on the cross.

In that moment, Jesus was taking upon Himself the sins of all people, past, present, and future, and experiencing the full consequences of sin, including being forsaken by God.

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This was the ultimate act of selfless love, where Jesus willingly and voluntarily took upon himself the sins of the world, so that humanity could be reconciled to God and receive salvation.

It is also important to note that despite Jesus’ cry of abandonment, He never lost His trust and submission to God the Father. In fact, He addressed God as “My God” even in the midst of His lamentation.

  • Jesus’ cry was not a statement of doubt or unbelief, but rather an expression of the reality of His experience as the sin-bearer on the cross.

He was fully committed to fulfilling the Father’s will and completing the work of redemption, even in the midst of His deepest anguish and sense of abandonment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross was a profound expression of His identification with humanity, His fulfillment of prophecy, His demonstration of selfless love, and His submission to the will of the Father.

It was not a statement of separation between His divine and human natures or a lack of love and approval from God the Father. Rather, it was a reflection of the immense sacrifice and suffering that Jesus willingly and lovingly endured for the salvation of humanity.

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