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“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”: Psalm 22 and the Mission of Christ

Title“My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”: Psalm 22 and the Mission of Christ
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHopkin, Shon D.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsAbinadi (Prophet); Atonement; Crucifixion; Prophecy; Psalms (Book); Septuagint

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1). “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4). These two statements—one quoted from the Psalms by Christ as he hung upon the cross, and the other taken from Isaiah by Abinadi in the Book of Mormon—are familiar and dear to all Christians as prophecies that found their fulfillment in Christ’s grand atoning sacrifice. Perhaps no Old Testament texts as a whole exerted more influence on the New Testament understanding of Christ’s mission than Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Psalm 22 was quoted or alluded to at least eleven times by New Testament authors, while Isaiah 53 was used at least ten times. Indeed, these texts could be considered the twin pillars of Old Testament prophecy regarding Christ. How could early Christians make sense of the torture and ignominious death of their Messiah? How could Jesus be the long-awaited Christ if his life ended without triumph or acclaim? Both of these chapters provided comfort that the Messiah’s suffering was foreknown. Even more importantly, both scriptures show that his suffering and death were not the end but indicate that Christ would rise above the suffering and triumphantly save his people.