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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

28 September 2005

Did Jesus Lose Faith?

Q: Why did Jesus lose His faith when He was on the cross? In Matthew it says that He said, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” I don’t understand that: Jesus was perfect yet He lost faith at one point during the crucifixion.

The God-forsaken Son of GodA: It wasn’t possible for Jesus to lose his faith: He is the sinless Son of God and is truly and fully God and incapable of denying His divine essence. However, what He did with these words was call to mind the 22nd Psalm, placing His crucifixion in context of this prophetic Hebrew Scripture while also speaking a legitimate, from-the-heart prayer at His time of deepest suffering.

The words of Psalm 22 remind the hearer that Christ went through “hell on earth” to redeem sinners. The worst part of hell isn’t some type of physical, emotional, or mental torment but abandonment by the God whom sinners have abandoned. Insofar as it was possible, the Eternal Father severed relations with the Eternal Son, even though they are One. This mystery of the crucifixion reveals also the mystery of God’s great love.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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