/ / A Remez – Why did Jesus Say Why Have You Forsaken Me?

A Remez – Why did Jesus Say Why Have You Forsaken Me?

In Matthew 27:46 when Jesus spoke from the cross and said “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”, was He really asking a question of Adonai? Did He go through all that pain and effort it required for Him to speak just to question God? Or was this a phrase and a technique known as a ‘remez’ and not a question at all? Why did Jesus say “Why have You forsaken Me?” and what is a remez? Read on to learn more!


An image of a crown of thorns lying on the wood of a cross next to two nails and a hammer and text that says Why Did Jesus Say My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? - Learn About the Remez

The Weight of the Cross

On Calvary, Yeshua (the Hebrew for Jesus, which I will use interchangeably), His back bloody and raw from the Roman whipping post, lifted all His weight up using his feet and slid His bare flesh up that wooden cross.

During crucifixion, a person’s weight hung down on the cross, pulled down by gravity. This made it difficult to take in oxygen. In order to take that needed oxygen into their lungs, they had to lift their weight up somehow and take in enough air before having to lower their weight again.

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That is why legs were broken as a means of speeding up death. With the legs broken, a person couldn’t lift their weight up and they would suffocate.

The effort it took the Messiah to do that was significant.

Not only did He have to lift up all his weight in order to bring that vital oxygen into His lungs to speak, He had to slide His raw, striped back up the wood with its rough and splintery surface, in order to do it.

Yeshua felt, seven distinct times, that He had something so significant to say that it was worth all the agony to say it!

Imagine the weight each word carried.

A Remez- Why Have You Forsaken Me?

One of these statements He made was in Matthew 27:46 :

“My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?”


It appears to be Jesus crying out to God to ask why His Father has left Him at this time.

Some have speculated it was because, at the moment Jesus bore the sin of the world as He took our place, God had to turn from Him since God cannot look upon sin.

But God sees us even in OUR sin. Our sinfulness does not cause God to forsake us. God cannot dwell with sin and we cannot remain in our sinful state and be in relationship, but He doesn’t turn us away.

You see, this was not a question at all Jesus was asking. Why did Jesus say ‘why have You forsaken Me’ then?

Jesus was offering a remez to the religious elite who stood by. He was making a statement, not asking a question.

Jesus felt, seven times, that He had something so significant to say that it was worth all that agony to say it! Click To Tweet

What is a Remez?

A remez is a Hebrew word and it means “hint”.

It was a method of study often used by Rabbis where they would quote a verse or part of a verse in order to have students of the Word recall the verses before and after it. The remez was simply a technique used to invoke recall of a scripture. It was not unlike an actor being given part of a sentence to help them recall the rest of their lines.

I can give you a modern day example that will give you an idea of how a remez is used and how effective it is.

If I were to say to you “Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down” do you immediately begin recalling the remaining lines of that song? Did it come to your mind right away?

Yes, I admit it. You just got Rick Rolled in my blog post! Bet you sang it too! You did, didn’t you?

But now you understand the technique of the remez, so it worked!

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A Remez From Jesus to the Religious Elite – Why Did Yeshua Ask Why Have You Forsaken Me?

In Matthew 27:46 it says:

About the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?”


You see Jesus is not asking God anything here! 

An image of a cross with a grown of thorns on it and a robe draped on it with Matthew 27:46 quoted

He is giving the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders a remez. He is bringing to their attention the words of a Psalm.

Jesus is bringing their recall to the first verse in a very important Psalm in fact! It was Psalm 22!

In Psalm 22, a Psalm that speaks clearly of the awaited Messiah, in verse 2 (some translations have it as verse 1) it says:

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Distant from my salvation are the words of my groaning”


A Remez – To Show Who He Was, Yeshua HaMashiach

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) is bringing this Messianic Psalm to their attention.

He was saying “I AM the Messiah”! He was in essence saying, “You remember this Psalm that speaks of the Jewish Messiah? You’re looking at Him! You’re crucifying Him!”

It would not have been lost on the Pharisees and Sadducees! They knew the Psalms all too well. They knew very well the prophetic Psalm He was recalling to them and why!

Anyone who had any doubts was likely convinced on hearing this remez from a wooden cross.

The Pharisees knew! The High Priest knew! And the Sanhedrin knew!

They saw the veil of the Temple torn from top to bottom upon the death of Yeshua!

Oh, they knew who He claimed to be, they knew He fulfilled the prophecies and God confirmed it by tearing that veil of separation in two!

The Lion is Coming!

They had stood there looking at their Messiah but they didn’t recognize Him. What they wanted was a Lion, they got a Lamb.

They could not accept a suffering Messiah. They were expecting a Messiah to free them from Rome, not come lowly riding on a donkey’s colt.

Oh but the Lion IS coming! The Lion of the Tribe of Judah! The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world is coming again to reign and He is bringing the armies of Heaven with Him, Adonai Tzevaot! The conquering Messiah they wanted will soon be coming to reign in the Messianic Kingdom!

Oh but the Lion is coming! The Lion of the Tribe of Judah! The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world is coming again to reign and He is bringing the armies of Heaven with Him! Click To Tweet

Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.

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  1. Remez.
    I love that! And I’m always appreciative when connections between Old and New Testaments are pointed out by those with more background than I have. Truly, the story of Scripture is all one story, one huge meta-narrative pointing to Jesus.

    1. It IS all one story! It is all beautifully interwoven together to bring about God’s perfect plan! That is why I so enjoy sharing those connections with people!

      1. Do you ever listen to podcasts? You’d love Help Me Teach the Bible by Nancy Guthrie. Just today I was listening to her teaching on how to effectively connect the dots from the Old Testament to Jesus. So good and so skillful.

  2. This makes me cringe just thinking about it. The Easter season is so bittersweet for me. Knowing that it was me who put Him there is such a hard pill to swallow, but I am so grateful He came to fulfill the law. So glad that He made sure we knew exactly who He was and why He had to do what He did.

  3. This post is very appropriate for the upcoming Easter season when our focus is so much more on cross. Pinned! Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  4. Interesting how Jesus spoke in parables and this is new to me. He really did demonstrate that He was the Messiah.

  5. What an interesting post! I don’t think I ever thought that Jesus was calling to mind the Psalm for the Pharasees and Saducees. I knew He was quoting Psalm 22 though. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. I had never heard of remez, but it sounds like a technique that works. I had never thought of Jesus cry there as a remez, but surely that’s exactly what He was doing. They knew they were crucifying the Messiah, yet stubbornly didn’t believe. May God help us to remember that Jesus loves us so much, He was willing to go through all that torture and death. May we love Him more and more. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #TuneInThursday also this week. 🙂

    1. Thank you Gayl! Yes, as a Jewish Rabbi, Jesus knew the impact that would have on the men around Him. Their hearts were definitely hardened toward Him. Thank you for stopping by!

      1. This post impacted my heart, Diane.

        The horror the Lamb endured for us! But these words are so full of hope…”Oh but the Lion is coming! The Lion of the Tribe of Judah! The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world is coming again to reign and He is bringing the armies of Heaven with Him!”

        I’m looking forward to that day!


  7. Diane, I learned something new today. I didn’t know what “Remez” meant. So this is great insight and a fresh word for me to understand Jesus words on the cross. Love that He was letting those nearby know He was indeed the Messiah. Your neighbor this week at Tune in Thursday.

  8. This post gave me goosebumps. I learned this years ago and it’s something I will never forget. It totally changes the way I look at what He said on the cross.

  9. Pingback: The Work of the Cross
  10. Love that you bring this perspective from the Hebrew – thank you. Its wonderful we can gain fuller understanding of Jesus’ statement. Wow! Religion has certainly robbed us and kept truth hidden this side of the veil but it has and is always there for those who seek Yeshua ….
    I have a question – When the veil was torn in two did it still remain hung up?

    1. That is a great question and one I am not sure I can answer with any degree of certainty given the timeframe when these events were written and also the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. I can look into it and see what I can find. One important detail about the Holy of Holies at that time is that it was actually empty.The Ark of the Covenant (the earthly one anyway) went missing in 586 BCE. We don’t know if it was destroyed or stolen or hidden but the Second Temple’s Holy of Holies was an empty room. So when the veil was torn, there was no Ark to expose. It is possible it was repaired at least temporarily but again, I would have to see if that information exists. It is not likely to have been preserved in Jewish history given its connection to the Gospels.

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