There are seven sayings attributed to the Saviour, as He hung on the cross between heaven and earth in the last moments of His earthly mission. He was the only one born to die. John-the – Baptist saw Him as the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) He fulfilled the various types and shadows we find in the Old Testament: the innocent ram killed by God, whose skin was used to cover Adam and Eve before they were driven out of the Garden of Eden (Gen3:21), the Passover Lamb in Egypt (Ex 12:13), the various annual sacrifices, the scapegoat on whom all the sins of the people was confessed on and let go into the wilderness. (Lev 16:21-22).The list could go on and on. This was a grand fulfilment. Whereas these statements cannot all be found in any of the synoptic gospels, they can be collated from the four gospels for our meditation and revelation to us today.
Let us see the lesson they offer individually:
Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
What does this teach us?
He is praying for those who were crucifying Him. He wants them forgiven because they did not know what they were doing. He saw beyond the natural. He saw through the eyes of His Father. And this is an example for us to follow. We are enjoined by Paul to be imitators of Him. (Eph5:1) John-Beloved told us to walk as He walked. (1 John 2:6)
He also said, “… as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
Jesus also said we should pray for our enemies. (Matt 5:43-47)
So He was practising what He preached. We have to do the same. ( Ro 12:19-21)
And later on we see Stephen, the first martyr, following His Master’s footsteps.
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 … “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” (Act 7:59-60)
Praying for our enemies also demonstrates our confidence that all things work together for our good because we love God and are the called according to purpose.(Ro8:28) And so nothing will happen to us unless He allows it. Jesus Himself told the high priest, He had power to lay down His life and take it up again. He also told them His Father was capable of sending legions of angels to set Him free but it was their hour. So Jesus had a sense of destiny. (Matt 26:53, John 10:18)
And when we do we will live a victorious life, no matter what. (2Cor2:14, 1Cor15:57) Another truth we need to glean from this statement is that He died for everyone – not just those who were crucifying Him. In fact it can be said that we were also responsible for His crucifixion. We were all compromised by the fall of Adam. “All have sinned.” We have all like sheep gone astray and the Lord had laid all our iniquity on Him (Isa 53:6, Rom 3:23). He became our scapegoat. ( Lev 16:8, 2 Cor 5:21) So as we think of this statement at this time and at other times we should be: 1. Grateful 2. Purposeful 3. Forgiving and 4. Assured that all things are working for us.
5. we should be in no doubt that He died for every one.
2. Luke 23:43: “Verily, I say unto you, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” As we all know, Jesus was crucified between two criminals. Isaiah foretold this about 800 years before it happened. “He was numbered amongst the transgressors.” (Isa 53:12) One of the criminals taunted Jesus, “He saved others but He cannot save Himself. If you are the Son of God, save us and save yourself.” (Matt 27:42, Luke 23:37) The other criminal was wise, recognising that He was innocent and He was God, with the power to forgive and restore anyone who is penitent. And so he prayed to be remembered,” “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. ” (Luke 23:42) Jesus replied immediately, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This underscores God’s forgiving power to the sinner, anytime he realises His sin and repents no matter what sin He may have committed. This may be unfair to the natural man but sin is sin in the sight of God and abhorrent no matter what man may think of it and if it is repented of , it shall be forgiven, no matter how heinous.
However, this is not a scripture to use for delaying repentance till the last minute. No one knows the last minute. (Prov27:1, Jam4:13)
We all need to have a short account with God – repent like David, once we realise we have sinned and receive forgiveness and restoration. We can also use this you bring hope to the hopeless that no matter how far gone they may think, God is still merciful and will forgive if they call on Him in penitence.(Ps51) Even Judas, who betrayed Jesus, would have been forgiven if he repented.
3 John 19:26–27: Woman, behold thy son. (Says to disciple) “Behold thy mother”
In this statement we can see His love and care for His mother, despite what He was going through. He looked beyond Himself. This is the God-kind of life we have been made partakers of. Regardless of what you go through, see beyond yourself. See the bigger picture. Go the extra-mile. Be selfless. Care for others and God will take care of you. Jesus, here was making provision, giving security to his mother by entrusting her into the hands of a trusted friend. He was putting His house in order, knowing He was going away.
We too should make provision for our dependants before we leave. We should not leave them penniless- broke busted and disgusted, lamenting and grieving not only for the death but also for the debts and responsibilities left behind unattended. This is why we need to work hard and smart and provide for our family. Paul said he who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith. (1Tim5:8)
4 Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? This reveals the enormity and gross nature of sin. It is so detested, distasteful, disgusting, alienating that it even separated God – the Son from God-the Father. In this same way, we should hate sin and stay far away from it. It should also open our eyes to what Jesus saved us from. Furthermore, it shows the dark moments we too could experience in life where it would be seem so grim and dark that we may feel abandoned by God. David foreshadowed this in Ps22. He also experience this type of dark moments. An example was when he was dethroned by his son Absalom and he wandered in the wilderness. Another occasion was when after defeating the Philistines and triumphing over Goliath and decapitating him, he found himself running from pillar to post, hiding from King Saul who wanted to kill him. again at Ziklag the men who were in debt, distressed, disgruntled, depressed, whom he had championed and recycled into business tycoons, turned against him when the Amalekites swooped on their camp , burnt it down and took captives all their sons, daughters and wives. They spoke of stoning David. He had to enquire of the Lord, receive a Word with which he pursued, overtook and recovered all. 1 Sam30:-8,18-19)
Yes, you and I will come to this “My God, my God!” moment(s). After all He told us to take up our cross and follow Him. (Luke9:23)
And when it happens, we need to encourage ourselves that we are in good company, identifying with Jesus. David had many moments like it and he encouraged himself in the Lord and came back up. Job was there and eventually he was restored. Naomi was there and wanted to be called, Mara, bitter water. But God was meciful to her and despite her lack of faith blessed her more than she could ask or think because of Ruth. Yes, you and I will go through the valley of the shadows of death; we will often go through the valley of Baca (Ps 84:6), the valley of weeping:, but we can, say like the David, “I will fear no evil. For You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. And my cup overflows. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the presence of God forever.”
Yes, because you trust in Him, you will make that valley of Baca, a place of spring. You will go from strength to strength, glory to glory and from strength to strength (Ps 84:7, Hag 2:9). You will bounce back like Jesus bounced back in resurrection. ( Matt28:6)
You will bounce back like Abraham and obtain laughter – Isaac (Gen 21:1-7). You will bounce back like Job and have twice as much as you lost and even more (Job 42:10-17,). Therefore, regardless of what you go through, stagger not at the promise of God, in unbelief but rather give glory to God. (Rom 4:20-21) When your back is on the ground, you can only look up. And that is the best thing to do anytime, any day, everywhere.
5. John 19:28: I thirst. When Jesus made this statement, His humanity shone through His divinity. He was famished, thirsty, dehydrated and and wanted water. However instead of water He was given gall. They gave Him poison instead. (Matt 24:34, Ps 69:21) It was prophecy being fulfilled. The word of God cannot be broken. Besides, it shows us that we cannot trust men in our hour of dire need. Man will disappoint us. After all it was those who just a week ago chanted in adulation, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”, ( Matt 21:9)changed their tune so quickly to” Crucify Him! Crucify Him! ” (Luke 23:21)
6. John 19:30: “It is finished.” COMPLETION, PERFECTION, ACCOMPLISHMENT
What a climax of redemption! What an assured, victorious and triumphant declaration of a done deal. He was satisfied that He had paid the price-the highest price for mankind. It was indispensable and indisputable. Nothing could be added to it and nothing could be taken away from it. He did it once and for all. Hallelujah! And because “It is Finished!” regardless of the depths to which you have sunk or may sink, you’re coming out of it if you trust in Him.
Because “it is finished”, you will fulfil your purpose. Because of “It is Finished!,” the good work God has begun in your life, He will continue to work at until He brings it to a glorious fruition.
7. Luke 23:46: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
This speaks of a wonderful, glorious, joyful reunion. Jesus ascended to heaven after the crucifixion and this statement looked forward to that. He was confident of the reunion and fellowship with the Father and the Spirit. We too should be looking forward to the Lord’s reappearing. 16 For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. ” Ps102:16
Paul told us in 1 Thess. 4:16,The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with shout of an arch angel and the trumpet call of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. And we who are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the air. And so shall we be with the Lord forever. He told us to comfort one another with these words. 1Thess4:16-18
We are also told, “He who has this hope purifies himself, even as He is pure. 1 John 3:3 John foresaw the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and wrote,” Let us Rejoice and be glad. And give the glory to Him.” For the marriage of the Lamb has come and the Bride has made herself ready.” (Rev19:7) He’s coming soon and very soon to take His bride, who will be without spot nor wrinkles or blemish. (Eph 5:26-27) Let’s trim our wicks and make sure we like the five wise virgins have sufficient oil in our lamps. (Matt 25:1-13)
Let’s ensure we keep clean our white garments and run our race with patience and endurance and finish well to the glory of God. (Matt 22:11-14)
So in conclusion forgive others just as God has forgiven you. (Eph4:32)
Cherish your relationships. Good relationships are invaluable. You cannot put a price on them. Take care of our family.
Heaven is our home. We are sojourners here.( Phil3:20)
And regardless of the distress we go through here we need to remind ourselves that it is temporary. Our light affliction which is just for the moment, works for us a far more exceeding weight of eternal glory. All things are working together for our good because we love God and we are called according to His purpose. (2Cor4:16-18)
Victory is ours in everything we do and wherever we go. We should confess it and expect it because of “It is Finished!” (2Cor.2:14)
Our Final Victory
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed —
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 ” O Death, whereis your sting?O Hades, whereis your victory?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
On Him they laid the cross, that He might bear it after Jesus.
We see in Simon’s carrying the cross a picture of the work of the Church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer. But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon’s, it is not our cross, but Christ’s cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ’s cross; and how delightful is it to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus! You carry the cross after Him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of His blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. ‘Tis His cross, and He goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow Him. Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible; Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly it is so with you; you do but carry the light end of the cross, Christ bore the heavier end. And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for a very little while, it gave him lasting honour. Even so the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross, and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, when it works out for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”