Home Lenten Day 39: [GOOD FRIDAY] THE SEVEN WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

Lenten Day 39: [GOOD FRIDAY] THE SEVEN WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

Lenten Day 39: [GOOD FRIDAY] THE SEVEN WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

TOPIC: THE SEVEN WORDS OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The words which Jesus uttered on the Cross are worthy of special consideration. His words were not many in number. They would not fill a single page of an average sized book. They are not the big, long, unfamiliar kinds of words which would cause the average person to check for meanings in the dictionary. But the last words of Jesus are important because of who uttered them, where they were uttered, why they were spoken, and what they mean. They are precious because they are deep, deep expressions of a Man of Sorrows in His time of terrible agony in those moments when He actually purchased our redemption.

Earlier, Jesus had said, “This is your hour when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53). He had prayed earnestly three times, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” He knew where the cup of suffering came from. Jesus said, “The cup which my heavenly Father hath given unto me, shall I not drink (of) it?” We read in Isaiah 53:10 that “it pleased the Lord to bruise him.”

What happened on the Cross as Jesus died was that He took everyone else’s place. He tasted death for all human beings. He hath borne our grieves and carried our sorrows. With His stripes we are healed. I believe sincerely that every individual person’s potential hell was condensed in that cup of suffering. And Jesus drank it all. For the first and only time He was experiencing the terrifying separation from God, by being in the place not only of the sinner, but also of the sin-bearer. This was an intense kind of sorrow and involved much grief. Many of us in the church today need to be careful that we do not fall prey to the temptation that leads us to constantly talk about what we are doing for God instead of emphasizing what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Perhaps we should check the words which we have spoken during the last week. What things did we talk about most? The solemn words uttered from the Cross are a profound reminder of the great price that was paid for us. Let us never take it lightly

 

 

THE FIRST WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

 “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”

Text: Luke 23:34

 

A gentle man was walking down the street, enjoying the cool breeze of the evening. He was full of life and vigour. He had all it takes to be very comfortable as a wealthy man. In fact, this man was highly influential, highly respected in the government circle. He was disposed to the power that prosecutes, convicts, and condemns. All that he needed at any slightest provocation was just a call to the security agents, and the offender would be jailed without delay. But surprisingly, as he was strolling down leisurely, a notorious criminal, a habitual offender, one who takes the laws into his own hands without minding the consequences, came up to him, confronted him, beat him to a pulp, spat on him, labeled him a criminal who has committed a treasonable felony, and arraigned him before the rulers and judges.

All sorts of allegations were leveled against him. This gentleman did not intervene. He did not in any way defend himself; neither did he call for the security agents at his disposal. He was looking helpless, just like a lamb being taken to the slaughter. Eventually, he was sentenced to death by reason of the charges brought against him. He was not guilty of any of these allegations, but because of his reservation, unwillingness to defend himself, He was made to pay the ultimate price- Death by hanging. People were much consternated with his resolution to give himself up for offences he never committed. At the point of death, He was heard praying and crying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” By this utterance, all those people that maltreated Him went scot-free.

 

This man in question is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus knew that we are ignorantly perverting the course of justice by false accusations (Luke 23:14); Jesus knew that we are sinners (Romans 3:23; 5:12), and deserve to die for our sins, but He rather chose to pay for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21); Jesus knew that Barabbas deserved to die for murder and sedition according to the law, but the Jews insisted that he be released and Jesus crucified for no offence whatsoever (Luke 23:18-19); Jesus knew that Pilate had the power of jurisdiction to set Him free for want of evidence, but he rather sentenced Him to death to please the Jews. (Luke 23:24). Christ attributed all these abnormalities and aberrations committed by the Jews to ignorance in order to win the heart of His Father God towards securing forgiveness, which He eventually did on the cross. “I gave my life for thee, my precious blood I shed”. He knew that His death on the cross was a sacrifice not because He deserved to die but rather, we deserved to live.

LESSONS AND WARNING

  • If Jesus could have pity on people that should ordinarily be His detractors and prayed to His Father for their forgiveness, then we owe it a duty to forgive others, even when they offend us. I know it sounds difficult, but it is a sacrifice.
  • Forgiveness is a virtue we all should cherish and possess.
  • Forgiveness is an attribute of Christianity.
  • Forgiveness occupies a vital place in our Lord’s Prayer therefore, we should uphold it.

 

Beware; the days of ignorance are over. Christ of course cannot go to the cross again to die, let alone pleading with the Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do”. His crucifixion has created the required awareness; hence everyone will give account of his deeds. Therefore, the word of God says, “…any soul that sinneth shall die” Ezekiel 18:4

PONDER ON THIS

Once upon a time two brothers shared adjoining farms. For over 40 years they worked side by side, sharing equipment and helping each other out whenever needed. Then one day a rift developed. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by months of angry silence. One day the eldest brother, Pete, was out in his fields when a man who was carrying a carpenter’s toolbox approached Pete. “I’m looking for a few days work” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs I could do for you?” “Well, yes I do,” said Pete. “See that creek down there; it’s the border between my brother’s farm and mine. My brother keeps it nice and deep to stop me from setting one foot on his farm. Well I’ll oblige him. I want you to take that timber over there by the barn and build me a new fence, a real tall one, so I don’t have to look over at my stinking’ brother and his farm anymore.” The carpenter was glad to have the work, “No worries. I understand. Just point me to your post-hole digger and I’ll get the job done. “So the carpenter set about working. Meanwhile farmer Pete drove into town for supplies. When he returned at sunset he was shocked to see what the carpenter had done. There was no fence. Instead the carpenter had built a bridge and walking across it was Pete’s younger brother. He held out his hand and spoke to his brother, “Brother after all I’ve done to you these past few weeks I can’t believe you’d still reach out to me. You’re right. It’s time to bury the hatchet.” The two brothers met at the middle of the bridge and embraced. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said farmer Pete. “I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but I have more bridges to build. “From the cross, Jesus teaches us a lesson that we must become “bridge builders of forgiveness.” “He that cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.” – Thomas Fuller

Some would suggest that we forgive …

  • To address our own resentment … Jesus forgave not for His own therapy but the sake of their souls.
  • After time has passed and wounds begin to heal … Jesus forgave as they were killing Him.
  • After others have confessed and repented … Jesus forgave those who did not know what they were doing.

On the cross Jesus presented the greatest lesson for all to learn … mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

CONCLUSION

Forgiveness is the center of the Gospel: forgiveness of our sins, the opportunity to be redeemed and restored to a relationship with God! Where there is no forgiveness there is bitterness and regret. He that steals, he that covets his neighbour’s belongings, he that hates his neighbour, he that is proud, he that is envious, he that commits fornication/adultery, he that worships idols, he that perverts justice, he that despises the poor cannot claim ignorance of the consequences of his action. For as many as have sinned {without law} shall also perish {without law}: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law. Romans 2:12. As we begin to make our way to the Cross … nail down forgiveness as Jesus did on the cross … Father forgive them. Amen

 

 

THE SECOND WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”

Text: Luke 23:43

Thieves and Robbers … we like to keep them at a distance and out of our homes and lives. We install mechanical and mental security systems to keep them outside our lives. On the cross, Jesus entertained, with a welcoming heart, the request of a thief to let him in. With eternal words Jesus assured this man that He would let him come into His kingdom … “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

If the First Word embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through His prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world but He sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. This fact isn’t just recorded to give a bit of colour to the dark scene. It’s not just to round off the story, but as a piece of evidence that what was happening was part of God’s plan of salvation. It was conceived before the world existed and revealed through God’s messengers, centuries before. The particular prophecy that was being fulfilled is recorded in Isaiah 53 where, among many other predictions, the prophet declared that the coming Suffering Servant of the Lord was he who “was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah-53:12).

Robbers and thieves … why did God place His Son between such men to die? Certainly God had a reason? Whether we can understand it or not … God never acts in an arbitrary manner. He always has a good purpose for everything. God in a “show and tell” fashion presents … the drama of salvation.

Luke 23:39-44: “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. ”

 

LESSONS

 

Request and response to help:  Here upon the cross the words between the Saviour and sinner … we find a request of help and the response to help. Both thieves made a request … one was requesting freedom from the cross – if you are, save yourself and us; and the other freedom from sin – remember me. We tinker with the idea of self-help … as we sometimes say, “God helps those who help themselves.” The unrepentant thief dying for his sins pushed his unbelief to the forefront to pose a point of ridicule … “If you are the Christ …”  Perhaps he heard those walking beneath the cross … Mark 15:29-30 – And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 “save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Perhaps this thief’s words were spoken in a sense of cajoling … Listen to them! Come on save yourself …! “People have never understood the cross … Today, there are those who like the unrepentant thief remain lost in their sins of “self help.”

What caused this man… to repent and turn? Perhaps the forgiving words of Jesus… Father forgive them… had reached and touched his hardened heart. Maybe, rather than the brutality of the soldiers and the callousness of the crowd, he saw in the face of this man Jesus … love and mercy. What does the dying lost world see in our faces and hear in our words?

Speaking the words of requesting help … remember me … Jesus responded – Luke 23:43 – And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” In these words God dispels the “notions” of salvation and gives the “nature” of salvation.; dispels the notion of … a works based salvation (baptism, Lord Supper, good works); dispels the notion of … a universal salvation (Jesus spoke only to the repentant thief); dispels the notion of … soul sleeping; Dispels the notion of … purgatory . Jesus in these words to a dying thief spells out the truth (theology) of salvation. From the request of help to the response to help … Jesus teaches us a second lesson of these “Cross Words” … “Help Others.” What greater response of help can we give, than to give those struggling in uncertainty of life and death, the assurance of Jesus? Clearly from the cross Jesus speaks to us … “Help Others.”

The Power of the Saviour (the power of salvation): The saving of this thief occurred at a time when it seemed that Jesus had no power. It was before the darkness enveloped the land, it was before the great earthquake. It was before all that! It was before the power of God was manifested. Here, Jesus was crucified, hanging on a cross, maligned, reviled, ridiculed, rebuked, scorned, and seemingly unable to do anything about it. Yet, even in that condition the thief looked to Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.” Jesus had the power, even then, to save a soul; for, He said, “Today shall thou be with me in Paradise.” Jesus is the only One that can save anyone! The scripture tells us in Hebrews 7:25 that, “Jesus is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lived to make intercession for us.” And so even though this occurred at a time it seemed the Savior had no power, He has power to save a lowly sinner.

 

The Promise of the Saviour:  I bring to your attention, the promise of the Saviour, which is so wondrously taught here. If you will notice in verse 42, the thief said unto Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.” Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Verily Verily, I say unto you. In essence what Jesus is saying is, Amen, i.e. so be it. Jesus said to the thief: What you have asked Me will surely be. He meant among other things, the purchase price was going to be paid for that thief’s redemption “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.” – Eph 1:7.

He was saying, I am going to take a trophy with me back to the heavenly vault and that trophy is going to be you. I am taking your soul with me back to Paradise! He was saying also to that thief, you can depend on me. In the same way He says to us  – “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise, (or for no reason), cast out.” John 6:36.  He still says  – as in Matthew 11:27, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He meant what He said to the thief; we can be assured that He means what He says to us today.  His promises are ever faithful, ever sure.

 

Proper attitude toward the Saviour: I want us to see the proper attitude that this thief had when he came to the Saviour. One thief was saying in verse 39 to Jesus, “If thou be Christ, if thou be God.” Well, that is the wrong thing to do, to doubt the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” Yet this thief had the audacity to imply that he was not God. “If thou be Christ.” Then his prayer was, save thyself and us. He was so concerned about this present life. I think often, that some folks join a church because they are concerned about this life and think things will be better in this life; yet at the end they gain nothing – only an illusion of hope. Come as a poor, lost, humble sinner, (like second thief who acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and treated him with decorum), forsaking all else and trusting Jesus Christ to the saving of your soul. Crying out to Him, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom. I care not what the crowd wants or what they think. I care not what anyone thinks, I want to be saved above all else. Lord, remember me.” When we come that way, God is going to save us, just as He saved the thief on the cross.

 

Conclusion

You see, there were two thieves crucified with Jesus – one repented but the other didn’t. The time of decision came for both. When it came to the choice of rebellion or repentance for the dying thieves it was irrevocable. It was now or never. There is a dual tug – the eternal pull of evil, and the eternal pull of God’s Spirit. Sometimes in every man’s life, we are faced with moments where we have to decide between Truth and Falsehood, etc. The second thief admitted that the cross was where he ought to die and that he was doomed for despair. That is the first step required in order to get saved.

Every person must admit that he is helpless and lost before there is any hope of his ever getting saved. And when this man asked for mercy, Jesus did not accuse him of being a criminal and a wicked person beyond help. Jesus said, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” Not only will I remember you, but I will take you with me to a land where you will never suffer again, and where all your troubles and tears will be gone forever! That is marvelous grace. Here was a thief, a man not fit to live on earth, who was suddenly made fit to live in Heaven. This was possible because the load of sin was lifted off his shoulders, and placed on Him who was hanging on the center Cross. The hymn-writer says, “There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains. The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day; And there have I as vile as he washed all my sins away.”(C&S Hymn 150:1-2).

Up until the last moment, Jesus wants people to be with Him forever. That is His focus and the reason He came into the world! Not even the worst moments He experienced would distract Him from loving you to the fullest extent. (Heb 5:7-9)

 

 

THE THIRD WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

“Woman, behold thy son!” … “Behold thy mother!”

Text: John 19: 25-27

 

The Second Word from the Cross ministered salvation to the penitent sinner, but the Third Word introduces us to the wider implications of this great salvation. It illuminates relationships as seen through the cross of Jesus, especially that of love. A psychologist once said, “there are two things that men want: power and love.” At the very heart of all our wanting is the love that Jesus gave us on the cross. The disciple that Jesus refers to in His word is John, and his gospel contains several of the most important statements that Jesus made on love. “Greater love has no one than this that one lays down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John-3:16).

The gospels provide only the briefest glimpses of the relationship between Jesus and Mary. I wonder what tortured thoughts were passing through Mary’s mind as she saw her son in such extremity. Very likely she would recall the words uttered in a prophecy when the infant Jesus was presented in the Temple,
This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” This was that moment – the sword was being cruelly thrust into her. It was suffering for Jesus to see his mother among those who stood near the Cross. Here He is touched with His mother’s suffering, but he doesn’t refer to her as “Mother” rather as “Woman”. Have you ever wondered why? On the face of it, it would have seemed to be more tender and loving to have done so, and Jesus lacked nothing in consideration and compassion. The reason is that Mary must no longer think of Him as being her son. Mary must begin to look upon Jesus as her “Lord”.

 

This Third Word from the Cross also reveals the relationship of Jesus with his disciple John, the one who had been closest to Him. It didn’t require a long explanation for John to know what was meant. We read that from that hour John took Mary into his own home. John was ready and acted without hesitation. It has been said that this Word from the Cross is the least theological, but practical application of the gospel must never be separated from its message. It is only as theory is translated into practice that relationship with Christ becomes a living reality. This Word tells us that there’s love for you in the cross, and it’s a love which having been received, is to be shared with others.

 

LESSONS

 

Care for others:  When thinking of the crucifixion the idea of “caring for someone else” doesn’t enter in the picture. The crucifixion makes us think of flesh being torn, the body bleeding, the anguish and pain of the nails driven into the hands and feet, the gasping for air, the sweat and blood mixing together as it runs down the cross falling to the ground. But it is here in this most bloody and violent of all scenes, the pain and anguish are halted for but a moment and God allows us to behold this tender and caring scene that teaches us to “Care for others.”

Three scenes of caring – 1. The women’s subservient care at the cross. 2. Jesus’ substantial care toward His mother. 3. John’s substitutional care toward Mary.

  1. Subservient (to be placed under for function; instrument of service) Care for Others: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25. These women who gathered around both mother and son … showed more than the ordinary affections, but “faith affections.” Their lives had been touched by Jesus and they came with Mary, consoling her and to share in the sorrowful support of Jesus. Many will agree that association with the one who was being crucified was a point of danger. These women “stood by the cross”what unordinary words … what unordinary actions. All the disciples except for John and these women had removed themselves a safe distance from the cross. These women by” … giving up of their own lives to be a means of support. We stand by the cross when we exhibit faith that takes us beyond fear to act in love. Sometimes to care for others we have to put ourselves beneath our own needs and fears.
  2. Substantial (having substance; true, real; value) Care for Others: When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” John 19:26. As great a love Jesus had for His mother … He gave no veneration to Mary; He gave no prayer to Mary. But He gave His care to her. From the cross of caring for others, Jesus extended the greatest of care for His mother. The designation of the term “woman” has been discussed with several possibilities coming up- Woman was a term of respect; Woman was a term to protect; Woman was a term to break the mother and child relationship. Jesus was no longer any woman’s son. “Woman, behold your son!”

Mary would now have to see Jesus as Saviour and enter into a new relationship with Him. She had carried the Saviour in the womb, and now He was carrying her wounds (sins) as Saviour. (Luke 1:47).  Jesus gave up all relationships … to become Saviour. Gave up heaven and being seated next to His Father and now He gave up His mother, in order to be our Saviour. Luke 14:26 (NLT) “If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. Jesus does not ask us to do anything that He has not first done Himself. Jesus from the cross provided substantial care for His mother as He identified her care was to now be with John. Sometimes in our times of caring we may not be capable of providing the care and help, but we should go beyond ourselves to find and provided the care needed. Jesus never looked to do anything for others in a “superficial” fashion, but always in a “supernatural” substantial manner. We should be disciples who “go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

  1. Substitutional (one that is a substitute; replacement) Care for Others: John 19:27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. John would become the substitute son and extended care giver to Mary. What would you and I have done if asked to do this duty of care? Perhaps our answers would reflect the struggles of family life – What about Your brothers and sisters? Can’t they take care of their own mother? Hey! What about the other disciples? (John 21:21); How much is this going to cost me? John did not question the command of Jesus, but obeyed … And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. It is right to consider that all of us are to take the role of Christ as a “care-giver.” I believe it is one of the lessons taught from the cross. 1stCorinthians 12:25-27 – that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. It should be a privilege to be the substitute for Christ who was our Substitute.

    Conclusion

“Jesus is always more concerned with others than with Himself.” When the storm is battering in on us we are to still be delivering His love. When we’re hurting, tired and stressed; When our tendency is to think mostly about ourselves; When we want go into survival mode of self-centered and self-pitying responses; When life is tough and I want it to be “all about me.” Jesus calls us . . . Jesus shows us … something better, something higher – a more supernatural way to live . . . Draw on His grace to keep giving out His love, even when we feel battered;…Keep giving out His encouragement, even when things look discouraging. Keep delivering His Word, even when it seems no one is listening . . . Be about caring for others, giving your life away … for then is when you find your life!

THE FOURTH WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”  “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” 

Text: Matthew 27:45-46

Prophecy is indeed true and accurate. This word that Christ spoke on the cross was indeed a proof of the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 22, which was prophesied nearly 600 years before the birth and crucifixion of Christ. At that time, crucifixion had not yet been invented.  Actually, the Phoenician’s developed it and Rome borrowed this agonizing means of execution from them.   So, when Rome ruled over Israel, it became the Roman means of capital punishment imposed upon the Jews, whose biblical means of execution was stoning.

WHY CHRIST SAID THIS.

Now the question is this; If Jesus is God, why would He say this?

First of all, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 which begins with, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”  Jesus quoted this Psalm in order to draw attention to it and the fact that He was fulfilling it there on the cross. He made this statement to show that He was perfectly sure of His mission – to save mankind from their sins. This also shows that He had an understanding of the words of the prophecies concerning His mission. He by this taught us that in times of agony and difficulty, we should speak the word and challenge God to stand on our behalf by holding Him by His words and by His prophetic declarations.

There are some critics who suggest that in these three hours of darkness, Christ had a moment of weakness where “as a human” He succumbed under the weight of His terrible suffering. Others surmise that Christ had lost all hope, and that His human soul was unable to fully understand why the father had abandoned Him. But none of this speculation has any sound support in the scriptures. They are all theories that are at odds with the Biblical facts. And this can be easily proven by a myriad of clear passages where Christ foretold His suffering. When we read “the whole” of scripture in context, not concentrating on a few selected verses, we can see very quickly that Christ never faltered for one moment, and He knew perfectly well what He had to do and why He had to do it. He knew He had to suffer. These things were not hid from Him. So these ideas that He was surprised make no sense, considering all that Christ Himself declared of His mission.  John 16:6-7 – “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

Christ knew that He had to go to the cross to suffer, and if He didn’t, the above biblical saying would have been faulted, and also, his mission wouldn’t have been actualized. It was not a secret to Him that man would be healed by His stripes, indeed it was this knowledge that brought Him to Jerusalem. The nature of the “required” atonement wasn’t a mystery to Him; it was a mystery to the people of Israel. For they (much like the Premillennialists today) expected a political king, an earthly kingdom, and a physical rather than spiritual deliverance. But Christ knew exactly what the nature of the sacrifice was, and how the true deliverance for sin would take place. It would take place by Him drinking the bitter dregs of the judgment in the cup of His fury, which we deserved. As He drank, the forsaking that should have been ours was transferred to Him.

Consider verses 11-18 in Psalm 22: Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.  13 They open wide their mouth at me,  As a ravening and a roaring lion.  14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint;   My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.  15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.  16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

The term ‘dogs’ was used by the Jews to refer to Gentiles (Matt. 15:21-28). In this context, it refers to the unbelievers, who are specifically the priests, teachers of the law and the Pharisees of His time. His heart has melted within Him (Ps 22:14).   During the crucifixion process, the blood loss causes the heart to beat harder and harder and become extremely fatigued.  Dehydration occurs (Ps 22:15).  Verses 16b-18 speak of piercing His hands and feet and dividing his clothing by casting lots.   This is exactly what happened as described in Matt. 27:35. This was what He suffered on the cross.

Jesus made this statement to show that He understood that His crucifixion was a fulfillment of the words of Psalm 22. In effect, He also believed that crying unto the Lord will proffer a solution for that psalm goes on to prophecy: Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. (Vs 23-24)

WHY WOULD GOD FORSAKE CHRIST?

As men, we cannot make statements of fact concerning this issue. However, 2nd Cor. 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  It is possible that at some moment on the cross, when Jesus became sin on our behalf, that God the Father, in a sense, turned His back upon the Son (seeing the magnitude of the world’s sin He bore).  He who was made sin for us was feeling the punishment of the sinner, being separated from God – (see Is 59: 1-3).  Habakkuk 1:13 says that God is too pure to look upon evil.  Therefore, it is possible that when Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), that the Father, spiritually, turned away. Remember that Christ had always enjoyed the presence and the communion of the father. He was sure when He cried out that this communion was not what it used to be before.  It must have been at this point that the Son must have cried out. We have no capacity to appreciate the utterly horrific experience of having the sins of the world put upon the Lord Jesus as He hung, in excruciating pain, on that cross.  Though we cannot make statements of fact nor accurately describe the extent of Christ’s agony and suffering, nor can we specifically describe the extent to which the Father forsook Him, One thing is for sure.  The physical pain was immense.   The spiritual one must have been even greater. It was the spiritual pain, not the physical one that made Christ to cry out.

 

CONCLUSION:

God is no respecter of persons. If He could deal with Israel for sinning against Him, and get upset with David the man after His own heart for committing adultery, and forsake His only begotten son, who was “with Him from the beginning”, then, we should also be careful for if we do not give our lives to Christ and live pure lives, God will one day forsake us to rot in hell, as we roast in the fire of His fury. Let’s learn from this and live for Jesus.

 

 

THE FIFTH WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

“I THIRST” 

Text: John 19:28

These words may catch us off guard … as we tend to think of Jesus in need of nothing. After all we sometimes want to see Jesus as a “super hero” action figure of sorts battling the likes of evil needing nothing. But the cry … “I thirst” was: – A word of purpose … Jesus the “God-Man” identifies with lost humanity;  A word of prophecy … Jesus the “Son of God” fulfills the promise of salvation; A word of principle … Jesus the “Son of Man” teaches us to ask for help.

From the cross, Jesus teaches us we can admit our need. “I thirst” speaks to the physical and spiritual need in all of us.

  1. Admit Your Physical Need: “I thirst” … speaks to the physical need of man. I found myself overwhelmed with these words. I have always thought I understood to some degree the humanity of Jesus, after all the scriptures tell us – Jesus was hungry (Mt 4:2); Jesus slept (Mk 4:38); Jesus was sorrowful (Mk 14:34); Jesus was tired (Jn 4:6); Jesus wept (Jn 11:35). All these things I have considered … but in reading the words, “I thirst” I am not just told about His humanity, I hear Jesus speak and from His humanity spills out with these words that identify with me! God did not insulate Himself from the sufferings of His people. His physical need of thirst … identifies all mankind having physical needs.

Water is essential to life. Three- quarter (3/4) of the planet earth is covered with water. Every living thing depends on water for existence, either directly or indirectly. Water is a vital component of our diets, it’s essential for the growth and maintenance of our bodies’ biological processes.  Why do we need water? Water comprises 50 to 70 percent of an adult’s total body weight, and without regular top-ups, our body’s survival time is limited to a matter of hours or days. Water is lost from the body through urine and sweat and must be replaced through our diets. Dehydration could result in headaches, tiredness, and loss of concentration. During the Gethsemane experience, Jesus had stayed all night praying. Sweats as blood droplets came forth out of His body. When betrayed by Judas Iscariot, He undertook a long energy-sapping journey. From Annas to Caiaphas, and to Pilate. Under the burden of the cross, with scourging, sweats, fallings and pains, He was laid to Golgotha to be crucified. Nothing is a cruelsome as death on the cross. He thirsted. The Psalmist talks about a parched throat- a tongue sticking to the roof of the mouth. No-Jesus’ thirst was much more than a dehydrated lack of moisture. Jesus’ thirst was just part of what Jesus obediently endured to pay for our sins. In order that the scripture might be fulfilled. Jesus said, I THIRST. –  Ps 69:21.  Sadly vinegar was given in place of water. What wickedness! He who is the source of life, the fountain of life, who promises peace to flow; the river of life began to give in because of thirst. Today, we are reminded that His thirst is for us to long for righteousness; His death brought forth salvation for everyone who believes. Now is our salvation nearer than we had first believed. If only we can confess our sins and forsake them and make Him lord over our lives, we would be satisfying His thirsty soul. Remember, blessed are they that thirst for righteousness sake for they shall be filled.

 

  1. 2. Admit Your Spiritual Need: In the same breath that Jesus spoke “I thirst” His words forged beyond the physical realm and plunged into the depths of man’s spiritual need … to drink from the living water of life. Jesus was looking to quench more than His own thirst … as earlier He had been offered “sour wine.”- Matthew 27:33-34 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. Psalms 42:1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Do you realize your own spiritual thirst?

 

3. Fulfillment of the scriptures: The third reason was that there was a Scripture still to be fulfilled. Psalm 69:21 had predicted that the Suffering Servant of Israel would say “They … gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Jesus knew that for Him to do His Father’s will required Him to fulfill all that had been prophesied of the Messiah down the ages. This Fifth Word from the Cross serves to tell us that there is suffering in the Cross.

 

 Conclusion

Jesus crying out … “I thirst” … is all mankind’s cry! The problem is we have the tendency to try and quench our own thirst. We run after the mirages in the dessert (money, power, sex, drugs, recognition, and relationships) to satisfy our thirst. We know they do not quench our thirst, for we go after another and another mirage hoping it will satisfy … but it does not. Jesus comes to us as the great thirst quencher … “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37). Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely. Do you thirst? It’s time to admit your need, your thirst and come to the One who can satisfy your thirst. Come!

 

THE SIXTH WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

“IT IS FINISHED” 

Text: John 19:30

Ebenezer Wooten was an Englishman and an earnest but eccentric evangelist. Many years ago he held meetings in a tent on the village green at Lidford Brook. The last service had been conducted, the crowd was leaving, and the evangelist was busy taking down the tent. A young fellow approached the preacher and rather casually asked, “Mr. Wooten, what must I do to be saved?” “Too late!” said the evangelist, in a matter of fact way, as he glanced up at the inquirer. “Too late, my friend, too late!” This startled the young man, driving away every vestige of indifference. “Oh, don’t say that, Mr. Wooten! Surely it isn’t too late just because the meetings are over?” “Yes, my friend,” answered the evangelist, looking his questioner straight in the eye, “it’s too late! You want to know what you must DO to be saved, and I tell you that you’re hundreds of years too late! The work of salvation is done, completed, finished! It was finished on the cross; Jesus said so with the last breath that He drew! What more do you want?” Then and there the truth dawned upon the young man. There was nothing for him to do to finish the work that the Lord Jesus had perfected at the cross. That is, there was nothing for him to do but to fall upon his knees and accept the Savior and His finished work of grace.

Have you done it? Will you do it? John 19:30 –  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. These words, “It is finished” speak of both a prophecy and fulfillment. The prophets foretold of this coming day … and now the Son was voicing its fulfillment. This Sixth Word from the Cross consists of one single word in the Greek – “Finished, accomplished.” It was a loud cry that rang out over the ghastly scene. What did Jesus mean? What was finished? Was He referring to His sufferings or His life’s work? Certainly it was those things, but even more. It was the end of an era.

The Old Testament contains a long list of prophetic utterances, beginning with the first family of mankind, when God told the serpent in the Garden of Eden that he would “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15). It was this great conquest that was being enacted. Jesus’ cry was proclaiming His victory over the evil one. In the gigantic struggle between good and evil the Son of Man had suffered grievously but He had finished the work of redemption that His Father had committed to Him. He didn’t say “I am finished” but rather “It is finished.” It was a shout of victory over sin, death and hell. The work of man’s redemption was finished, accomplished. Jesus had offered Himself without spot or blemish to God, and by that one sacrifice for sin, once and for all He had done all that was required to reconcile the world unto God. “It is finished.” The Word tells us there is nothing left for man to do but to enter into the results of Christ’s finished work.

The Greek word for “finished” was used in business life of the time to indicate that a debt had been paid. It’s like the message of a rubber stamp bearing the words “Payment received” when stamped across a bill. That’s what Jesus was proclaiming from the Cross – “it is paid, man’s account with God has been settled, the debt is wiped out.” That is the very essence of the Gospel. The Redeemer has paid the price for our redemption. Salvation has been obtained for all who accept and rely upon the finished work of Calvary. “A full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” Yes, there is victory over sin in the Cross. Hebrews 1:1-2 – God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. Of all the words Christ spoke, it is the words … “It is finished” … that speak of the greatest impact to our lives as they speak to salvation; to misunderstand them, or even ignore them is the greatest tragedy known to our existence.

When Christ spoke these words they were not an ending to His life, but His work. Jesus came to do the work of God.-  John 9:4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. Jesus came to finish the work of God. – John 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given Me to do.

Sin Defeated … Power of Sin Broken: Jesus on the Cross became sin for us; died for our sins; defeated sin for us.  2nd Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Romans 6:9-10 – knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. “He vanquished Satan: He broke open the grave; He led the captive; He closed the gates of hell and opened the gates of heaven for all the redeemed.”

Sacrifice Completed … Obstacle of Sin Removed: Hebrews 9:12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  “It is finished” … every obstacle between man and God removed; “It is finished” … every demand of the law satisfied; “It is finished” … every part completed. Nothing can be added to the work of Christ for the redemption He and He alone has secured … be assured it is finished.

 Be Assured of the Finished Results:  It is too easy to state … “Jesus died on the Cross for us.” Though true, we must go on to see and live in the results of the work of Christ on the Cross. With the finished work of Christ on the Cross … all barriers are gone … and all people are offered a new beginning.

Access to God: At the time of Christ’s death the veil in the Temple was torn in two. Mark 15:38 – Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The torn veil indicated that the way was open for all to enter; God now offered free access to Himself … no earthly priest … no altar … no sacrifice is necessary; Christ as a result of His finished work became the new and living way to God. Hebrews 10:19-22 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

 Accepted to God: Access says we are accepted by God through Christ. Sin caused us to be unacceptable, but the finished work of Christ makes us acceptable. Ephesians 1:6 –  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 1 Peter 2:5 – you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 Approach to God: Accepted by God says He is approachable; Christ has made us known to God the Father; Christ our Mediator has reconciled us to God. 1st Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. With God being approachable through the finished work of Christ … We never have to face the onslaught of flesh, devil or personal weakness alone. We can invite God’s presence to enter and invade our circumstances to release His grace.

Conclusion:

“It is finished” is the cry not of a victim but the Victor. The war is won! The victory is ours! “The heavenly Father is now free to love lost men into His eternal Kingdom without violating His holy justice. Man, by his sin, had put himself outside the realm of God’s saving love but inside the jurisdiction of His condemning justice. But now, the eternal Son, by His substitution, had carried God’s love into man’s realm of rebellion, satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and invited man to come back home to God and love. Since Jesus paid the price of human redemption with His own precious blood, God can now receive the repenting, returning sinner both as a loving Father and a just God.” “Gold from Golgotha” The work of God atoning … justifying … saving man through the work of Christ on the Cross stands forever finished! Be assured … “It is finished!”

 

THE SEVENTH WORD OF JESUS CHRIST ON THE CROSS

“FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.” 

Text: Luke 23:46

 

“AND WHEN JESUS HAD cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, and having said thus, He gave up the spirit” (Luke 23:46). These words set before us the last act of the Saviour ere he expired. It was an act of contentment, of faith, of confidence and of love. The person to whom he committed the precious treasure of His spirit was His own Father. Father is an encouraging and assuring title: well may a son commit any concern, however dear, into the hands of a father, especially such a Son into the hands of such a Father. That which was committed into the hands of the Father was His “spirit” which was on the point of being separated from the body. The scripture reveals man as a tripartite being: “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23). There is a difference between the soul and the spirit, though it is not easy to predicate wherein they are dissimilar. The spirit appears to be the highest pan of our complex being. It is that which particularly distinguishes man from the beasts, and that which links him to God. The spirit is that which God formeth within us (Zech. 12:1); therefore is he called “The God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num. 16:22). At death the spirit returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).

The act by which the Saviour placed His spirit into the hands of the Father was an act of faith – “I commend”. It was a blessed act designed as a precedent for all His people. The last point observable is the manner in which Christ performed this act: He uttered those words “with a loud voice”. He spoke that all might hear and that His enemies who judged Him destitute and forsaken of God might know it was not so any longer; but instead, that He was dear to His Father still, and could put His spirit confidently into His hands.

While He hung upon the cross, seven times His lips moved in speech. Seven is the number of completeness or perfection. At Calvary then, as everywhere, the perfections of the Blessed One were displayed. Seven is also the number of rest in a finished work: in six days God made heaven and earth and in the seventh He rested, contemplating with satisfaction that which He had pronounced “very good”. So here with Christ: a work had been given Him to do, and that work was now done. Just as the sixth day brought the work of creation and reconstruction to a completion, so the sixth utterance of the Saviour was “It is finished.” And just as the seventh day was the day of rest and satisfaction, so the seventh utterance of the Saviour brings Him to the place of rest – the Father’s hands. It is noteworthy that this closing cry of the Savior had been uttered by the spirit of prophecy many centuries before the Incarnation, in verse five of the thirty-first Psalm .(Psalm 31:5)

Ponder on these lessons

Truly, in all things He has left us an example. The Savior committed His spirit into the hands of His Father in death, because it had been in the Father’s hands all through His life! Is this true of you, my brethren? Can you say with the apostle, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12)? And have you as a Christian fully yielded yourself to God? Have you heeded that word, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1)? Are you living for the glory of him who loved you and gave himself for you? Are you walking in daily dependence upon Him, knowing that without Him you can do nothing (John 15:5), but learning that you can do all things through Christ that strengthened you (Phil. 4:13)! If your whole life is yielded up to God, and death should overtake you before the Savior returns to receive His people unto Himself, it will then be easy and natural for you to say, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Balaam said,” Let me die the death of the righteous”(Num. 23:10). Ah, but to die the death of the righteous, you must live the life of the righteous, and that consists in absolute submission to and dependency upon God.

 

SUMMARY

 

When you examine the words or thoughts of a person under great stress, scrutiny or suffering, you learn the substance of the person; their composition, their faith and their hope. When we examine what our Savior exclaimed on the cross, we can learn about His true character and His integrity before the Father. We can see the love that pours out from His wounds, directed at us! Neither the heat, nor the sweat mixed with the blood, nor the agony and emotional distress distracted Him from having you and me on His mind that day. From these Seven Words of Jesus we can draw strength and courage for our own walk on this earth as we follow His call to be His disciples. He suffered the extreme penalty of death that we may live!

These seven words are not “idealistic” notions but practical and worth applying to the very present situations we find ourselves in. These words are a call from the cross to discipleship as we have heard the call of our Saviour … “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you,” (Mt 11:29).  These “cross words” of our Savior touch the realm of our past, present and future … as they ask us to deal with every area of our lives.

So let us not be like the crowd who stirred around the cross the day Jesus was crucified to which they did not listen, turning a deaf ear to these powerful life giving “cross words.” Allow these wonderful Words of Jesus from the Cross to speak to you – feed on them in your hearts by faith:

“Father, forgive them” – there’s forgiveness for you at the Cross. “Today, you will be with me” – there’s salvation for you at the Cross. “Woman, here is your son” – there’s love for you at the Cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – there’s atonement for you at the Cross. “I thirst” – Jesus suffered for you at the Cross. “It is finished” – Jesus was the victor over sin for you at the Cross. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” – there’s eternal security for you at the Cross.

Author: Banjo Ayorinde

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