Last Words From A Dying Man

Good Friday: The Crucifixion
Read:  (Matt 27:32-56; Mark 15, Luke 23:26-56 & John 19)

I can still remember, as a teenager, extending my grounding punishment sentence, all because I felt the need to have the last word. That didn’t turn out well for me, so I am thankful today that I’m learning to keep my mouth shut. But, there are some final words worth listening too-those of the one who willingly went to the cross on our behalf.  

Jesus was nailed to the cross from 9:00am until 3:00pm, enduring such physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish. Yet, in those 6 hours, the Gospels record Jesus speaking 7 powerful statements that we can take to heart:
1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).  Jesus, fresh from the sting of the pounded nails, could continue to hear the crowds below in their mocking and jeering. Even the soldiers near the cross began rolling the dice, gambling for the very clothes that now left Jesus naked. Luke tells us that Jesus’ first words, while on the cross, were a plea for forgiveness on behalf of His tormentors. Forgiveness has to be one of the most difficult acts to offer another life, especially if they have brought you so much pain. But isn’t forgiveness precisely what Jesus offers us, despite our great sin before Him? We must in turn forgive, as He has forgiven us.
2. “Truly, I say to you, ‘today you will be with me in paradise’.” (Luke 23:43). As an example of forgiveness, Jesus hung that day between two guilty criminals. The thief on Jesus’ left hurled insults and doubt, while the one on His right owned up to his sins and acknowledged Jesus as innocent. In true repentance, that criminal turned to Jesus as his Savior and asked to be remembered when Jesus rose again. If our lives are consumed with what others have done to us, we will never know the peace in what Jesus has done for us.   
3. “Dear woman this is your son…here is your mother” (John 19:26-27). The third saying of Jesus brings selfless compassion, as He sees His mother grieving over what she sees her son facing. Even through His pain, Jesus cared deeply for others and invited John, His faithful friend and follower, to take His place as Mary’s son.   
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Matthew tells us that from 12:00pm until 3:00pm, darkness covered the whole land. This darkness was the full symbolic reality of sin and separation. Jesus took on the weight and consequences of all sin, when He had never known sin before. In addition, Jesus, for the first time, encountered broken fellowship with the Father, as God looked away and let His Son carry the full weight.  
5. “I am thirsty” (John 19:8).
In addition to the human frailty Jesus displays in His fourth statement, Jesus’ fifth statement brings the full realization of His humanity. After His final plea, He utters two more statements. Jesus, the fountain of Living Water, cries out for a drink Himself. A sponge, soaked with wine vinegar, was lifted up on a stalk of hyssop as a mockery to wet the lips of our dying Savior, yet He still uttered two final sentences with His final breathes.
6.     “It is finished” (John 19:30).
Jesus cried out a Greek word saying, “Tetelestai” which is translated as, “it is finished.” Teleo means to bring to an end, to accomplish or complete. This was a banking term which means “debt paid in full.” In that very moment, Jesus, the perfect and spotless lamb, paid for every sin ever committed and purchased our redemption.  
7.  “Father, Into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46). When Jesus finished His work, the very last thing He did was submit and yield up His very life into His Father’s hands. In perfect submission, obedience, and as a sacrifice, Jesus bowed His head, exhaled, and gave up His spirit.




       

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