The cry of Jesus (Mt 27:46-27:46)

“About three o’clock,

The ninth hour,

Jesus cried

With a loud voice.

‘Eli!

Eli!

Lema sabachthani?’

That means.

‘My God!

My God!

Why have you

Forsaken me?’”

 

περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν ἀνεβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων Ἡλεὶ λεμὰ σαβαχθανεί; τοῦτ’ ἔστιν Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες;

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:34.  Luke, chapter 23, and John, chapter 19, do not have these words of Jesus hanging on the cross.  Matthew said that about three o’clock in the afternoon, the ninth hour (περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν), Jesus cried with a loud voice saying (ἀνεβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων) “Eli!  Eli!  Lema sabachthani (Ἡλεὶ Ἡλεὶ λεμὰ σαβαχθανεί)?”  Then Matthew explained what this meant (τοῦτ’ ἔστιν).  This was a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, the Hebrew for God and Aramaic for the first verse from Psalm 22:1.  “My God!  My God (Θεέ μου θεέ μου,)!  Why have you forsaken, abandoned, or deserted me (ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες)?”  This Psalm 22 was a psalm of David asking for help or deliverance from a serious illness or persecution, much like the suffering servant in Isaiah, chapters 52-53.  Thus, Jesus, the suffering servant son of David, quoted the first verse of this psalm as he hung on the cross.  Why was there no help coming from God?

Explanation of the seeds on rocky ground (Mt 13:20-13:21)

“As for what was sown

On rocky ground,

This is the one

Who hears the word

And immediately receives it

With joy.

Yet he has no roots.

But only endures for a while.

When tribulation arises

Or persecution arises,

On account of the word,

That person

Immediately falls away.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπαρείς, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων καὶ εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων αὐτόν·

οὐκ ἔχει δὲ ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιρός ἐστιν, γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται.

 

This explanation of the sower parable centered around the seeds sown on the rocky ground that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:16-17, and Luke, chapter 8:13, with Matthew closer to Mark.  Jesus explained that the seeds sown on the rocky ground (ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπαρείς) were like the people who heard the word of the kingdom (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων), and immediately received it with joy (καὶ εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνων αὐτόν).  Yet these seedlings had no roots (οὐκ ἔχει δὲ ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ), since they only endured for a little while (ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιρός ἐστιν).  When trouble, tribulation, or persecution arose (γενομένης δὲ θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ), because of the word (διὰ τὸν λόγον), they immediately stumbled and fell away (εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζεται).  Once again, the seeds are the words of the kingdom.  Listening to the word was not enough if it did not resonate or take root.  Due to this rocky ground, the early excitement of receiving the word was not good enough to sustain a continual adherence to the word of the kingdom.  There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.

The prophets in general

Some prophets wrote things, while others had people write things about them.  Thus, there is a mixed bag about the Hebrew prophets.  Generally speaking, a prophet was someone who believed that a higher power had contacted them.  Thus, they became the intermediary between Yahweh, their God, and their fellow human beings.  Almost like angels, these humans delivered a divine message.  Quite often, the message itself that the prophet conveyed was called a prophecy.  The Hebrew prophets were moral teachers.  Some prophets may have had a role with the institutional Temple priests.  Many religious groups have had what are called prophetic priests.  The Hebrew word navi, meaning spokesperson, has been traditionally translated as prophet.  These navi was considered to be the mouth of Yahweh or God, since they were open to receive and transmit his divine wisdom.  Besides writing and speaking messages from God, these Israelite Nevi’im often acted out prophetic parables in their life.  They were not always praised, since some prophets were even considered bad or false prophets.  Thus, they were sometimes the target of persecution and opposition.

The extermination of the first-born Egyptians (Wis 18:5-18:9)

“When they had resolved

To kill the infants of your holy ones,

One child had been abandoned.

He was rescued.

You in punishment

Took away a multitude of their children.

You destroyed them all together

By a mighty flood.

That night was made known beforehand to our ancestors.

Thus they might rejoice in sure knowledge

Of the oaths in which they trusted.

The deliverance of the righteous

Was expected by your people.

The destruction of their enemies

Was expected by your people.

By the same means

By which you punished our enemies

You called us to yourself.

You glorified us.

In secret,

The holy children of good people offered sacrifices.

With one accord,

They agreed to the divine law.

Thus the saints would share alike the same things,

Both blessings and dangers.

Already they were singing the praises of the ancestors.”

Here we have an attempt to explain the passover killing of the first born in Egypt. This story seems to imply that the Egyptians had killed Israelite children first. However, in the story in Exodus, chapters 11 and 12, there is no indication of this. This was simply the 10th plague after all the other plagues had failed to change the mind of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Apparently this is a reference to the persecution and story of the birth of Moses in Exodus, chapters 1-2, but it is unrelated to the Passover events. It is true that in this story of the Passover, the Israelites were warned ahead of time about the angel of death. Obviously, God’s righteous people were saved (λαοῦ σου σωτηρία μὲν δικαίων). The enemies were destroyed. They had a sacred meal that has become the Passover because the holy ones (τοὺς ἁγίους) were willing to follow the divine law (τῆς θειότητος νόμον). This became the central part of the Israelite religion as they shared both the blessings and dangers of being an Israelite.

The suffering servant (Ps 22:1-22:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the deer of the dawn, a psalm of David

My God!

My God!

Why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me?

Why are you so far from the words of my groaning?

O my God!

I cry by day.

But you do not answer.

I cry by night.

But I find no rest.”

This Psalm 22 is a psalm of David with a choir leader. However, there is a notation “according to the deer of the dawn,” which probably refers to some lost hymn or tune. This is a psalm for help or deliverance from a serious illness or persecution. This is much like the suffering servant in Isaiah, chapters 52-53. The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 27, and the Gospel of Mark, chapter 15 indicated that Jesus Christ quoted the first few verses of his psalm as he hung on the cross. The forsaken one cried to God. Why was no help coming from God? The suffering one cried during the day and at night, but there was no answer. He could not find any rest.