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.