Many have taught that because Jesus became sin for all mankind while on the cross, God the Father turned His face away from Him. Many quote Matthew 27:45,46 as their proof text. The passage states, “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

Jesus’ question, “[W]hy have you forsaken me?” has caused many to conclude that God turned His face away from Jesus. However, this is a statement of encouragement, not a question of rejection. Jesus is quoting the first line of Psalm 22, which states, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Psalm 22 goes on to state, “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”

The desperate tone of Psalm 22 continues for 21 verses but in verse 22 the tone shifts. Psalm 22:23,24 states, “You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 22:24 says specifically that the Father did not hide His face from the afflicted one, Jesus.

Jesus, during His final moments of pain, was still bringing encouragement and hope to His followers. Jesus’ followers thought that God had forsaken not only Jesus in allowing Him to die, but had also forsaken them as well. But God had not forsaken them or Jesus.

Through the pain of crucifixion, Jesus cried out words of encouragement by quoting the first line of Psalm 22. The faithful Jew would hear the first line of Psalm 22 and recall the Psalm and its message of hope.