The Father Forsaking His Own Son


And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Why did the Father forsake Christ? Was Christ human nature that was left forsaken?How the second person of the Trinity feel forsaken by the first? Did the Father actually gave up in the Son during the most crucial time ?If the Father actually forsake him doesnt that make him cruel and actually reveals an evil nature(which we have seen before in the OT)


Good question. It has to do with identifying with us to some extent, I think.


I looked at a few commentaries on Mark I have. Some interesting interpretations of the Cry of Dereliction. I use Mark because I believe Matthew depends on him for this.

Mark 15:34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Gundry lasers in on the “loud voice”. This is not defeat in Mark. It is victory. He writes, “Twice before, Mark has noted “a loud voice” (1:26; 5:7). Each time the loudness represents superhuman strength. That Mark will shortly remention the loudness of Jesus’ voice without quoting any words shows that he does not design the present mention of loudness to make the shout audible enough to be misunderstood. On the contrary, loudness should prevent misunderstanding. Rather, Mark designs the present as well as later mention of loudness to emphasize the superhuman strength of Jesus even as he expires. Mark’s audience know that ordinary victims of crucifixion weaken bit by bit and lapse into unconsciousness before dying. So shouting loudly at the last moment entails a remarkable exhibition of strength (cf. 1 Enoch 71:11: “Thus I cried with a loud voice by the spirit of the power” [also 61:11]) How else would the Son of God expire (contrast 2 Cor 13:4 with Mark’s way of presenting Jesus’ death)?”

Gundry also goes on to say that Jesus’ last breath was so forceful that is what tore the temple veil in two. There is a historical issue in which way the centurion was facing and how he would see things but interestingly enough Gundry also sees parallels between the end of Jesus’ life and the beginning of his public ministry.

Mark 1:9-11 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[h] with you I am well pleased.”

When the Spirit descend on Jesus during his baptism the heavens tear apart.
When Jesus breathes his last the spirit must be departing and the temple veil tears in two.
At the baptism God says you are my Son with whom I am well pleased.
At his death the voice of Jesus asking why God abandoned him contrasts with this.

A further link of this parallel is that JBap was Elijah who is mentioned in the same scene in Mark.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that Jesus was somehow filled with sin and God (himself) couldn’t look upon him). Gundry’s view is certainly interesting but there are others viewpoints. Some think the narrative suggests “Jesus dies forsaken, derided by his enemies and abandoned by his friends, an his last cry, which may be demonic, expresses his perceived distance from God.” Joel Marcus.

Jesus is abandoned by everyone and feels the fullness of human pain and emptiness at this very moment But this was in essence a victory in defeat in a strange way (Mark loves shocking his reader). It is here, at his darkest moments that Jesus achieves the fullness of his mission. As Marcus also wrote: "While some Christians have been troubled by this cry of dereliction, others have seen it as an indication of Jesus’ identification with humanity and thus as a source of comfort and empowerment. Jesus at the nadir of his existence, experiences the same sense of divine abandonment that so often characterizes our lives; as Augustine puts it, “he took on the speech of our infirmity” . . . A papyrus fragment from the third or fourth century, which was probably used in an amulet, even includes the cry in a series of names and attributes that express God’s grace, salvation and loving Fatherly care. . . Paradoxically, then the cry of dereliction becomes good news, and this probably has to do with Mark’s Pauline soteriology: through identifying with human lostness, the Son of God points a way out of it (cf. 2 Cor 5:21). Jesus enters the darkness of the old age in order that humanity might live in the light of the new; he gives his life as a “ransom for many” . . . With his cry, and with the death that follows, Jesus has chivied the purpose of his mission: “complete identification with humanity’s slave-like, accursed condition and a corresponding form of decease, “even death on a cross”) (cf. Phil 2:7-8). The cry of dereliction, then is in a strange ay the Markan counterpart to the Johannine cry of triumph, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)–the goal has been achieved, humanity has been redeemed, and Jesus can therefore die.” Joel Marcus

Great question. There is definitely a lot of material to study and dig deep into. Psalm 22. Amos 8:9-10 etc. I have no definitive answers. Just some interesting viewpoints.



I don’t believe that is even logically coherent. Jesus and the Father are one, one being, one God.

This is a quotation from Psalm 22. And the fascinating thing is how Psalm 22 describes Jesus situation so well and gives perfect answer to those mocking Him. Now I have heard those with a low view of human beings doubting that 100% human Jesus can give such a sophisticated answer under torture. But we are talking of someone who knew the scriptures extremely well and used them to teach people better than any had heard before. So frankly the difficulty in speaking in His condition is exactly why He would give such an answer. Not an average joe thing to do, but something which human beings are capable of – just read some of the stories of Christian martyrs.

In traditional Christianity the divine and human natures of Christ are “without confusion, without change, without separation, without division.”

On what do you base the idea that Jesus is addressing those mocking him?


The content of Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted, as well as the content of Matthew 27 which mirrors it right before Jesus quoted it.

I understand the reference is to the beginning of Psalm 22 and that Jesus was mocked by his enemies and abandoned by everyone else. You said this is Jesus answer to his mockery. What is the answer supposed to mean? Are you claiming Jesus is referencing the triumph at the end of Psalm 22 by quoting it’s beginning?


Is he suggesting the cry is demonic? Kinda confused.

Even if theres victory in his defeat that doesnt exclude the Fact that his own Father ,the first person of the trinity and the God weve seen in action in the OT abandonded him in such a cruel way. Also he had the Holy Spirit with him. So how do these things add up? He feels abandonded yet has the Holy Spirit with him,and his Father leaves him there. What a cruel way to die feeling abandoded by your Father. Even his earthly mother didnt left him in that time of need and yet his Heavenly Father couldnt care less.

We have seen the two natures struggle before. Remember “let this cup pass from me” . So it might be a case where his human nature struggles with the divine and feels forsaken. Other than that it sounds cruel to me for the Father to forsake the Son (yes i know they are one and the same but you get the point)

Like how we may feel in diffucult times you mean?


Jesus died - that is what was required. Than He rose from the dead because God resurrected Him.

(added) Ps 22 is also correct as it shows trust in God against all odds.

1 Like

One interpretation is he was supposed to feel abandoned. The suffering servant. And in context Mark might mean “abandoned to death.” Jesus had a close follower betray him, his other followers abandoned him. Everyone else mocked and laughed at him. In his deepest, darkest moment, as darkness had just crept over the world, Jesus felt what it is like to be fully human in the deepest sense imaginable.

In no way shape or form did the Father ever abandon Jesus in the way you are suggesting. We saw Jesus in the garden just praying that the cup might pass. Now he quotes psalm 22 knowing that the Father is letting him die. The spam does end triumphantly but I’m not sure that is Jesus’ point. He could have quoted the end instead of it was.

The mere fact that Jesus, who was fully human, feels this way after being beaten, whipped and abused and hung on a cross for 9 hours is not surprising. Nor does the statement indicate a universal truth that the Father is gone from. That is your hang up. You seem to think because Jesus felt abandoned, a natural human thing, he was abandoned. How many people have felt abandoned before? We’re they actually abandoned by God. You are looking at the words of Jesus here like they are all fact-literal universal mandates. They are nothing of the sort. It means Jesus felt rejected by God. He is in the midst of being tortured and crucified. What do you want him to feel besides pain and defeat when he offered the world love and it gave him this in response. Like I always say, most Christians only pay lip-service to the humanity of Jesus.


1 Like

Yes he did suggest that possibility. The reasons are :grinning:

  1. Demonic activity is very significant throughout Mark.
  2. Asc Isa 4:5 shows satan was sometimes responsible fo strange astronomical phenomenon (causes the moon to appear in the sixth hour).
  3. 1 QH 13(5):24-34 shows that some blamed Satan for the darkness or depression that changes the mood of God’s chosen ones.
  4. One of Satans goals is to get people to curse God an die through feeling abandoned (Job 1:11; 2:5,9). Note Jesus does not curse God but feels abandoned.
  5. Crying out with a loud voice here is exactly what demonized people and only them do in Mark (1:26, 5:7, c. 9:26).

“Although Mark does not say so explicitly, therefore, the inferences from his narrative may be that Jesus, on the cross, suffers such a sudden and intense Satanic assault and in some ways becomes like a man possessed.” Joel Marcus

Again, this is just a possible interpretation and note he does not say Jesus was possessed. Just that Satan’s assault on him during his most vulnerable time is severe. Ask yourself this. If you think Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, why would he not be there at his death, during his deepest, darkest moment?

Not to mention the darkness harkens back to Amos 8:11-12 and it is a real darkness that can be felt (Exodus 10:21). Jesus feels it.

So this is one way a few have taken it. Jesus does not fail, he does not curse God and he loudly yells and the temple tears in two assuring us that Jesus is still God’s son and not actually abandoned like many other intertextual clues.


God (or the Second Person of the trinity to be precise or Jesus) cant get possesed.

And again the Father left the Son. If the Father had not leave the Son woukd Jesus have felt that way? Would Jesus have felt such cruel and sad feelings ? I find it cruel for the Father to leave the Son in his most time of need. And yet Mary which gave birth to him was there.

So Jesus feels forsaken - and cries out in that very passion. Does that mean that God actually has forsaken him? Are your feelings always accurate indicators of reality? Is Jesus not permitted to feel the full horror and pain of his own situation, hanging on the cross?

As you note - his own family and followers (even deserting him as they had) were nonetheless there - even if at a distance. So how ‘forsaken’ was he? Is God not present to him and you and me even if we don’t always feel it?

1 Like

The problem is : Was the human Jesus felt forsaken?Or the divine one?

Better putted did the Jesus felt forsaken or The Son?If the Son did there are other questions which that answer raises .Your argument applies only if the human Jesus felt like that .

1 Like

Nope. I don’t see things which are not there.

In traditional Christianity the divine and human natures of Christ are “without confusion, without change, without separation, without division.”

Did you not read what I wrote? He said like a person possessed. Joel Marcus writes with the Catholic seal of approval. He is not going to claim Jesus was possessed by a demon. But that doesn’t mean Mark, which has a lot of demonic agency in It, could not narrate something close to it.

I feel you are confusing Jesus’ condition of feeling abandoned with actually being abandoned in a universal sense. @Mervin_Bitikofer use of italic puts it nicely.

As an alternative Psalm 22 does end in Triumph but I don’t think that interpretation is the sense the text suggests. Certainly a possibility.

Maybe. I’m confused by them, and I think I’m not the only one :slight_smile:


I do not believe that Jesus was actually abandoned by His Father, although a feeling of separation and abandonment was felt by Him. It’s part of His eternal solidarity with all who have been forsaken. He enters into the lowest depths of human suffering and alienation.

Some have argued that Psalm 22 came to His mind but the psalm actually ends in victory.

1 Like

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.