What Did Jesus Mean by “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”


Why did Jesus say “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” on the cross? Please help me to understand the real meaning/message behind this.


—Rewa, USA


Dear Rewa, In an early edition of The Second Coming of Christ, Paramhansa Yogananda comments on these unusual words of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 27:46, and spoken during his crucifixion. Yogananda had been explaining how Jesus was tempted by Satan and how Jesus was both God and human (as we all are) at the same time.

He said: “If Jesus had been [only] God on earth, he could not have been tempted or shown signs of mental strife, as he did when he made statements like: ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of suffering] from me; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.’” He also said: “My, God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Crucifixion is an extremely painful and humiliating way to die. Naturally the human part of Jesus would tend to want to protest treatment like this. Who wouldn’t? But the God part of Jesus knew it was the will of God for him to go through this great test; thus he accepted it as gracefully as possible. Just moments later, Jesus said: “It is finished. Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

If Jesus had not been a human being and gone through human suffering, what hope would we have in learning about the process that he, and all of us, must go through to overcome all suffering and find final liberation and oneness with God?