When Jesus was reaching the end of his life on the cross, he was heard to pray to God: "Why have you forsaken me?" This is in both the Bible and in The Urantia Book. What do we make of this? The topic is featured in this article called: What did Jesus Believe? by Bill Cummings. We'll be blogging about this statement below, but here's the author's take on it. From the article:
I know there are many "Jesus quotes" in the gospels which make me wonder how Jesus — as a Jew — could say them, like the "divinity statements" in John's gospel. But this one rings frightfully true. Someone stood beneath the cross and heard him say in Aramaic, "Eloi, Eloi…etc." right before he died. This memory was passed down for 40 years in Aramaic, and translated into Hebrew and then into Greek. Mark picks up the original Aramaic and Matthew has the Hebrew and Greek.
There can be no doubt he said it. Jesus lost his God. He was quoting Psalm 22 and he was feeling worse pain than the writer of the Psalm could ever feel. Jesus was dying. Where was Yahweh? Where was the God who had said, "You are my beloved son."? Where was the God whose Kingdom Jesus had worked so hard to restore? Gone. Some say, oh well, Psalm 22 ends with praise and hope in Yahweh. Hope, yes, Faith no. Jesus died without his God.
Click to read the article
"Jesus lost his God?" What a terrible idea!
It might be easy to assume that this prayer that Jesus speaks from the cross means that he believed that he was left alone by God, and that he felt forsaken by his heavenly Father.
But, nothing could be further from the truth.
As we often point out in this blog, one of the greatest advantages of reading the Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book is that the narrative contains vast amounts of detail, including correct context for all the events and sayings of Jesus' life. Using The Urantia Book to augment the Bible is an enlightening exercise. The events of the Crucifixion are no different; in fact the Urantia Book account of the crucifixion is one of the most searing and detailed of accounts of those dark doings ever to appear on this world. It stands head and shoulders above the Bible accounts.
Jesus Knew Scripture Very Well
Here are just a few Urantia Book passages that recount Jesus' familiarity with Scripture from an early age. See the Table of Contents to access any entry by paper number:
122:5.4 From Joseph Jesus secured his strict training in the usages of the Jewish ceremonials and his unusual acquaintance with the Hebrew scriptures.
123:3.1 The textbook for the study of the Greek language was the copy of the Hebrew scriptures—a complete version of the law and the prophets, including the Psalms —which had been presented to them on leaving Egypt. ... Before this year ended, Jesus had assumed custody of this priceless manuscript, having been told on his sixth birthday that the sacred book had been presented to him by Alexandrian friends and relatives. And in a very short time he could read it readily.
124:3.5 The chazan spent one evening each week with Jesus, helping him to master the Hebrew scriptures.
125:6.2 ... the teachers were astonished that Jesus was so familiar with the Scriptures, in Hebrew as well as Greek. But they were amazed not so much by his knowledge of truth as by his youth.
126:2.6 This year it became the custom for the neighbors to drop in during the winter evenings to hear Jesus play upon the harp, to listen to his stories (for the lad was a master storyteller), and to hear him read from the Greek scriptures.
126:4.1 With the coming of his fifteenth birthday, Jesus could officially occupy the synagogue pulpit on the Sabbath day. Therefore on the first Sabbath after his fifteenth birthday the chazan arranged for Jesus to conduct the morning service of the synagogue. And when all the faithful in Nazareth had assembled, the young man, having made his selection of Scriptures, stood up and began to read
And throughout his ministry, Jesus made liberal use of Scripture, delivering speech after speech in which he quoted the sacred texts from memory
The Final Days
From Paper 183: The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus to Paper 189: The Resurrection, The Urantia Book explains in great detail everything that happened to the Master and to the apostles during those terrible last days.
Jesus was under a terrible strain, as anyone can imagine, by the time he had been hoisted up on the cross; he had not eaten since Thursday night, nor slept, nor had any water. The Urantia Book tells us that the Master was beginning to "fail in human consciousness." And his human mind clung to recitation of the "twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second Psalm." We know from the passages above that he was well-schooled in these Psalms.
From "Last Hour on the Cross:
187:5.1 Although it was early in the season for such a phenomenon, shortly after twelve o'clock the sky darkened by reason of the fine sand in the air. The people of Jerusalem knew that this meant the coming of one of those hot-wind sandstorms from the Arabian desert. Before one o'clock the sky was so dark the sun was hid, and the remainder of the crowd hastened back to the city. When the Master gave up his life shortly after this hour, less than thirty people were present, only the thirteen Roman soldiers and a group of about fifteen believers. These believers were all women except two, Jude, Jesus' brother, and John Zebedee, who returned to the scene just before the Master expired.
187:5.2 Shortly after one o'clock, amidst the increasing darkness of the fierce sandstorm, Jesus began to fail in human consciousness. His last words of mercy, forgiveness, and admonition had been spoken. His last wish—concerning the care of his mother—had been expressed. During this hour of approaching death the human mind of Jesus resorted to the repetition of many passages in the Hebrew scriptures, particularly the Psalms. The last conscious thought of the human Jesus was concerned with the repetition in his mind of a portion of the Book of Psalms now known as the twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second Psalm. While his lips would often move, he was too weak to utter the words as these passages, which he so well knew by heart, would pass through his mind. Only a few times did those standing by catch some utterance, such as, "I know the Lord will save his anointed," "Your hand shall find out all my enemies," and "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus did not for one moment entertain the slightest doubt that he had lived in accordance with the Father's will; and he never doubted that he was now laying down his life in the flesh in accordance with his Father's will. He did not feel that the Father had forsaken him; he was merely reciting in his vanishing consciousness many Scriptures, among them this twenty-second Psalm, which begins with "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And this happened to be one of the three passages which were spoken with sufficient clearness to be heard by those standing by.
Jesus Never Doubted
And so, it can be seen that Jesus statement at the very end of his life were part of the Scripture that he had memorized many years before, and from which he now derived solace. We are told definitively that he never for one moment doubted he was doing the Father's will. He may have recited these things for any number of reasons, but not because he felt forsaken by God. Just before he breathed his last, Jesus commended himself to the Father:
187:5.5 It was just before three o'clock when Jesus, with a loud voice, cried out, "It is finished! Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." And when he had thus spoken, he bowed his head and gave up the life struggle. When the Roman centurion saw how Jesus died, he smote his breast and said: "This was indeed a righteous man; truly he must have been a Son of God." And from that hour he began to believe in Jesus.
Sometimes when one reads the Bible, one may be confused over things that are said or done by Jesus...e.g., his calling the Syrian woman a "dog," his calling Peter "Satan," and other events that may appear inconsistent with what one believes about the Master, including this statement of Jesus right before his death.
But when one compares the Bible stories with corresponding accounts from The Urantia Book, there is alsmost always a clear and understandable explanation for these misunderstandings. And this account of Jesus' death on the cross is no exception. We don't have to guess whether Jesus lost his faith at the last - he didn't.
A Superb Faith
As an example of what faith meant to Jesus, here is a passage from Paper 196: The Faith of Jesus
196:0.5 Theology may fix, formulate, define, and dogmatize faith, but in the human life of Jesus faith was personal, living, original, spontaneous, and purely spiritual. This faith was not reverence for tradition nor a mere intellectual belief which he held as a sacred creed, but rather a sublime experience and a profound conviction which securely held him. His faith was so real and all- encompassing that it absolutely swept away any spiritual doubts and effectively destroyed every conflicting desire. Nothing was able to tear him away from the spiritual anchorage of this fervent, sublime, and undaunted faith. Even in the face of apparent defeat or in the throes of disappointment and threatening despair, he calmly stood in the divine presence free from fear and fully conscious of spiritual invincibility. Jesus enjoyed the invigorating assurance of the possession of unflinching faith, and in each of life's trying situations he unfailingly exhibited an unquestioning loyalty to the Father's will. And this superb faith was undaunted even by the cruel and crushing threat of an ignominious death.
The Urantia Book's account of Jesus' life is an accurate one and can be believed. It is an account that was recorded by celestial beings and that has been preserved for this time in our history when the world is once again ready to discover the true Life and Teachings of Jesus. Exploring its matchless revelation of the Master's life can enrich and deepen your love for Jesus!