Did God Forsake Jesus on the Cross?

Mark 15:33-35 is a well-known passage. People take the words that Jesus cries while on the cross to mean God had forsaken Him or He was separated from God in the moments before his death is written in the gospel of Mark and Matthew. This is the passage I am referring to from the gospel of Mark,

“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

The same passage can be found in the gospel of Matthew since it is thought the author of Matthew used the gospel of Mark as a source when writing his Gospel. The Gospel of Mark is actually the first Gospel to be written and one can tell in the writing style Mark was in a rush while writing it. The gospel of Mark is thought to be written around the time of 60 AD.
Jesus in line 34 says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” This verse can be really hard for Christians without good knowledge of the Old Testament to understand. The New Testament is filled with quotes and references to the Old Testament scripture. The Old Testament was the only scripture the early Christians had at the time till the bible was canonized in the 4th century. I should also mention, Jesus quotes Old Testament scripture numerous times in the New Testament. What Jesus is doing when he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” is quoting Psalm 22. Psalm 22 states:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

If you notice it speaks of events that have happened to Jesus himself like his hands being pierced and his garments being casted lots for. The Psalm parallels the things that happened and were happening to Jesus. The main verse I want to point out is verse 24. It states that God has listened and has not left or forsaken Jesus. It takes this turn from the previous stanzas beginning in verse 22. Therefore, in my mind one cannot say God had forsaken Jesus on the cross because of the turn that happens in this psalm. The writer of Gospel perhaps only recorded the first line Jesus spoke. It is very likely Jesus spoke the whole psalm and not just the first verse. This psalm can be seen as prophetic writing and the last stanza can be seen as something that has come to pass already in our own time because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Did God forsake Jesus on the cross? The answer to me is no. Many people misunderstand that specific passage in the gospel of Mark and Matthew because they don’t realize Jesus is quoting Psalm 22. The lack of that knowledge prevents one from understanding that God did not forsake Jesus, but Jesus was quoting a Psalm that fit his situation and gave a message to the people watching His crucifixion. It kind of was like He was teaching, as well as praying to the Lord, until He drew His last breath.

Institutional Element is Important in a Church

I, in being a convert to the Catholic faith, have noticed how much the church needs a type of institutional element in its structure. This was something that was lacking in the protestant dynamic. The models contained in the protestant church seem to lack structure and don’t have this good sense of an institutional element weaved into it. This I contend is an important element that really is essential in a Christian’s spiritual growth and identity.

However, with saying I am not pushing the institutional model of the church, but how churches need an institutional element. Intuitionalism differs from the element of institutionalism. The institutional model focuses more on the different powers and less on the people, membership and how it is affected, and how virtues and spiritual growth happens.

The church as the institutional model focuses more on how those in authority have the ruling power and the teachers have the power over the students. The higher positions are not set up with the idea of service toward the people below their position. With this concept of them having power it is almost seen as the pope and bishops are able to open valves and shut them for the flow of grace and that they have control over it. This is contrary to what is taught. In addition, the ruling that the superiors do is done in their own name and in Christ’s name and they make new rulings on things (Dulles 30).

Another aspect that is important in institutional model than as compared to the institutional element is the fact that membership has to be visible (Dulles 33). Therefore the theory of invisible membership is rejected. However, this can also serve to give the church a strong sense of identity. The members know exactly what their beliefs are. This sense of understanding what they exactly stand for also comes as a result of the institutional element as well. This idea that they have a strong identity really means they know what they are to follow and stand for in society. In addition, this also meant the members knew when they were failing in their beliefs and when they were following well to their beliefs. It is noted during the institutional model of the church when it was in place in the past, the members were also very loyal to church and took what the church said on teachings seriously (Dulles 35). This strength of identity can also come about from the intuitional element as well.

A major weakness to the institutional model is that it can’t be found strongly in scripture nor early church tradition. However, one can find teh institutional element in scripture about the church. The Institutional element describes the church as having an institutional structure, however it does not maintain that it is a single society. The institutional model supports that the church would basically be one society of tightly knit people. The institutional element give direction but the model of institutionalism places emphasis on obedience. The fact that the model focuses alot on obedience is good, but it cannot allow other important virtues to develop within a person in spiritual growth (Dulles 35). The element of institutionalism, like stated before, gives direction and structure, but does not cause these occurrences of complication.

The most important aspect between the element of institutionalism and the model of it is the way power is seen. The laity are deemed not really important. Where as, the institutional element gives tehm some duty and a sense of a part to play and that they can help spread the good news too not just the priests. In addition, the model focuses more on people attending to the higher levels of the church than in doing things in charity and for God. The side with the element of institutionalism does not create this dysfunction. This is because it does not derive everything from the institutional features it has if we look at the church with only an institutional element (Dulles 37).

What is the key defining factor in the difference between the model and the element is that the element has justifiable ways in strengthening the church. The qualities it can strengthen have to be as a community of life, witness, and service (Dulles 38). Under the theory of the model it makes the church more inward centered than outward centered. The church needs institutional elements, but it does it need to have a strict model of institutionalism.

In conclusion, some of the ways institutional model and element differ are the way power is seen, authority, membership and how it is affected, and how a person’s spiritual growth and virtues develop. The institutional model is way too much and is too rigid and not organic and mystical like it should be. The elements help give structure and keep it together, but does not detract from the church members and their growth, nor on how people’s attitudes are. The institutional element will give structure and a strong identity to the people. It is something I feel the protestant church is really lacking. This can be in the lack of cohesiveness of their followers, because of the lack of structure their church models contains and it’s authority it provides as what really their beliefs are.


Works Cited
Dulles, Avery. Models of the Church. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1974. Print.

Too busy? It can be a bad thing.

They say an idle person is more likely to fall into sin and get tempted. This idea is true, however, I want to clarify, that being too busy can be a problem too. If one is too busy than you may lose sight of hanging out with your friends and other important events in people’s lives and forget to experience people and create great memories. This can also come into play in someone’s spiritual life. If we are truly trying to follow God, He would be our first priority and not our last. This means we would make time for Him. This idea doesn’t mean that we can’t be busy, but that there should be some type of moderation. This moderation will give someone the balance between their work and activity life and their spiritual life. God is like any other relationship there has to be work and a time to get to know each other. This is essential to life and a person’s wellbeing. There is this saying, “don’t be too busy doing God’s work to not know God himself.” This saying basically says that someone should not value other activities, such as extracurricular activities, as more important than God and the time you have with him. They should be in the way, but one should plan a schedule that allows for one’s relationship with God to flourish through prayer, meditation, study, going to mass, and most of all receiving the Eucharist.

In the more Neo-Platonist view, implied by Pseudo–Dionysius in Divine Names, the closer someone gets to the ultimate good, this case being God, the closer someone is to be virtuous. This is because once you are close to God you will know what is considered right and wrong and also what is good. This idea is further clarified in that once you come close to God and come to love him one will naturally have this follow of right actions because the person now only wants to do things that please God. Therefore in accordance with this view, perhaps the idea of being too busy is one that would drag you away from this natural occurring transformation or change because there is this distance between God and the person being built. This then moves to the fact that if one is too busy for their spirituality then one is not growing at all in that stage and is in fact regressing. The view that seems to be implied in the Neo-Platonist element of the idea is that God perhaps meets us where we are at and as we draw closer we are able to change bad behavior.

The Neo-Platonist view can be found in a sort of second level to the Catholic theory of Ethics as put forth by Saint Thomas Aquinas. I mention this to state that I’m not supporting Neo-Platonism wholly, but that Neo-Platonism is a part of Aquinas lessons and thinking. To be more specific, Aquinas actually kind of married Platonism and Aristotelian in his ideas.

Thus, going off of my pervious thoughts, prayer and spiritual life should be a priority in people’s lives just like how talking to your spouse or the person you are dating is important. It is up to us as individuals to have moderation in how busy we are so are spiritual lives are not smothered and put to the side for other lesser goods that the world offers. If we truly understand what God is then we should see Him as the ultimate good and make time for Him in our lives always. He should not be considered an option that can be done away and reinstated when everything is convenient for you.

These are just my thoughts as I try to maintain a good spiritual life in college and balance social life, love life, homework, sleep, work, and extracurricular activities.

College Tuition and Following God’s Calling

Hi, guys!! I’m not sure if I ever made a personal post about myself, but here it goes. I’m Ashley Brown and I am a religion/theology major at Saint Leo Univeristy. I want to do some work in the feild of theology or ministry and unfortunately I am having financial trouble in sustaining my path toward that dream. I would really appreciate it if you took a look at this link and read part of my story on my faith in God:
http://www.gofundme.com/fiv4ro