Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 KJV)

The ESV Study Bible notes aptly describe the words “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” as among the “most profoundly mysterious words in the entire Bible,” underlining the depth of mystery enshrouded in the significance and implications of these words uttered by the Son of God, the God-Man.

As Jesus neared the end of His life on the cross, He recited Psalm 22:1, proclaiming, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.”

This phrase, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” is rendered in Aramaic. While scholars debate whether the initial “Eli, Eli” is Aramaic or Hebrew, Matthew clarifies their meaning for his Greek-speaking readers as, “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The implications of these words are significant. Firstly, it suggests that God the Father forsook or abandoned Jesus. This raises the question of what Jesus meant by God forsaking Him and how Jesus could be forsaken by God while still being the God-Man. Scripture does not provide direct answers to these complex questions. However, what is understood is that Jesus, on the cross, took upon Himself the sins of humanity. Sin results in death and separation from God. Jesus experienced the full burden of sin, which included disrupting the relationship between God and humanity.

Second, Jesus queried why the Father had forsaken Him—words laden with mystery, to which the Father did not reply. This raises the question: Was Jesus seeking an explanation, expressing the anguish of His soul, or indicating something else? Regardless, the Father’s forsaking was an ordeal that deeply affected Jesus. Evidently, among all the inhuman treatments He endured, none distressed Him as much as the Father forsaking Him, a consequence of bearing humanity’s sins.

While the events described were primarily spiritual and unseen by those present, they manifested physically through an unexpected three-hour period of darkness from noon to 3 pm as Jesus hung on the cross. This darkness was no ordinary occurrence; it was a mysterious physical manifestation of spiritual truths: sin was being transferred from sinners to the Son of God on the cross, who not only bore sins but became sin itself. Additionally, the darkness can be interpreted as a symbolic representation of God’s presence withdrawing—Light.

Here is the application for us: God forsook Jesus so that we might be reconciled to Him forever.


Reflect on the meaning of “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.” Consider how these profound words apply to your life today.

Apply The Word

Jesus paid the ultimate price for your sins, not only for Christians but for the entire world, including those who reject Him. Imagine the immense burden of sin on the Son of God. Recognize and believe in what Jesus accomplished for you, and live liberated from both the practice and guilt of sin.


Thank the Lord for sacrificing Himself to reconcile us to the Father.

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