My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , , , , ,

Greetings to all and prayers for a holy, grace-filled season of Lent thus far!

For my Gospel of Mark course, each of us in my class were given a choice to exegete a passage from the gospel. I figured since we were in the middle of Lent, and the opportunity presented itself, what better passage to write about but the death of Our Lord? I have just completed the paper, and thought I would share it online for anyone who was interested. Below is a small sample from the paper. Please click the link below the sample to continue reading the full text.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
by: Robert A. Boileau


C. S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The conclusion of the Gospel of Mark renders to the reader a captivating end to a beautiful narrative on the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. It is through His passion and death that the Christian will come to see his or her purpose in life, and in reading the Death of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, one can easily see how important this must be. The author launches the reader into a vivid exploration of the events which unfolded some two-thousand years ago in Jerusalem, and conveys the most important message of all, and all of the implications and consequences that follow — Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God.


In what can surely be presented as the climax of the Gospel of Mark, the author demonstrates to the reader a vibrant narrative describing the death of the Son of God. The placement of this pericope, “sandwiched” between the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, is a continuation of the “tolling of the hours” found in the Passion narrative of Mark’s gospel. The author compartmentalizes the Passion of Christ into three hours: the third hour (midmorning), when Jesus was crucified, the sixth hour (noon), as He hung upon the altar of the cross, and the ninth hour (midafternoon), when He cried out in a loud voice and breathed His last. This event culminates with the fulfillment of all the prophets in the Old Testament, most especially in the book of the prophet Isaiah. For Isaiah states, “Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses” (Is. 53:12). In addition to the prophets, Jesus also quotes from the Psalms. His “cry in a loud voice” is an Aramaic rendering of Psalm 22, which will be treated in more detail shortly. The significance of the words “at noon” also indicate a change in time, which is the author’s way of setting the tone for the reader for what is about to follow. Many new characters appear on the scene as well, such as Salome — an unknown woman, most probably Jewish — of whom very little is known in this context, a centurion — who will play a very important role in the narrative — and other miscellaneous women who had “followed Him when He was in Galilee and ministered to Him” (Mk. 15:41).


In typical Markan narrative, the author sets the scene by beginning the pericope with the words “at noon” (Mk. 15:33), which signifies a new Sitz im Leben (a situation or setting in life). This methodology employed by the author is common throughout the entire Gospel narrative, as this Gospel is the shortest of all the synoptics, and quickly moves from one event to the next. It can be determined from the text that the author had a familiarity with the Roman world, its language, and its mode of government . This gospel was written primarily for an audience of persecuted Christians in Rome under the reign of the emperor Nero, and probably reached its final form around the year 70 A.D., just after the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem. In the year 1901 a scholar by the name of Wilhelm Wrede demonstrated that Mark wrote his story for theological rather than historical reasons ; this is most probably due to the persecutions that the Christians in the early Church were undergoing — they were probably being discouraged by the “failure of some [of the other Christians in their communities] to commit themselves, unto death, for the gospel of Jesus Christ”.

To continue reading the entire paper, click here.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 at Monday, March 16, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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