Saturday, April 7, 2012

Seven Last words of Christ

This message was preached at 
Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the 1st of April 2012. You can listen to the Audio recording of the message by clicking here .

Many Criminals get hanged but we don’t hang a noose around our necks do we? Do we write songs about them and sing them?
Yet many people wear a cross around their necks and sing about Jesus. Why? 

The Cross is where heaven’s love and earth’s justice meet.
WE will look at the last sayings of Christ on the Cross.
Luke 23:34- 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Who was Jesus referring to? There were many groups of people there that day viz I. The executioners  2. The Teachers of the law who wanted to see him killed. 3. The Priests who paid Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray him. 4. Pilate who gave his ascent. 5. The Disciples who said that they would never leave him till the end , yet they fled at the first chance.6. Peter who said he would never deny Jesus and then 7. There is all of us.
Jesus died for all of our sins – its our sin that put him on the cross.

1. Jesus ‘ first words were one of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the hall mark of Christianity. All other religions talk of paying for your sins but Jesus talks of forgiveness. Steven the first martyr said the same thing. Graham Steins ‘s wife said the same things to the murders of her husband and two boys.
There are two truths about forgiveness we need to know. Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Do you regularly come to God and keep and keep a clean conscience? It’s good to examine our hearts, attitudes, motives. 1Jn1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We also need to forgive those who have sinned against us .

2 Luke 23:43 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus said these words to the thief on the cross. The first words embraced all mankind. This verse was said to one particular individual. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. Is 53 said he would be numbered with the sinners.
Jesus was naked, beaten, and bruised. In a few hours he would be dead. No reason for the thief to put his faith in him. Initially both the thieves mocked him but then he realized his error. In v 40 he says But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.
He recognized Jesus was sinless and put his faith in him. What does this mean for us? No one is too bad to get saved. You don’t need any religious ceremony, good deeds or even get baptised to get saved. All he could do on that cross was put to believe in his heart and confess with his mouth. Christianity is the only religion that says you can do nothing to get your salvation.
This morning like that thief have you put your faith in Jesus alone? He can save you. What a hope we have . What an assurance we have!

3. John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Jesus here shows the implication of salvation – the outworking of it is love. Think of Mary standing at the foot of cross watching her son. It was the fulfilment of a prophecy which was given to her when she took him to the temple for his dedication. Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to John and not to his family. Maybe they had not ome to believe in him yet.So here is the demonstration of our relationships in Jesus – we are brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what our background. Jesus died for the Church and relationships are very important.

4. Matt 27:46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) Jesus was  with the Father since eternity. This is the first time he is separated from his Father.
This is the time Jesus atoned for our sins. It pained both the father rand the son t be separated. Jesus said :I and the father are one”. The Father turns his face away and the wrath of God is poured out on Jesus. Jesus was abandoned by the Father so that we could be accepted. WE were enemies of God but now we are made friends with God. Lets thank God for taking our place in that dreadful abandonment.

5. Jon 19:28Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” Execution by crucifixion was not instantaneous. It was the most painful death and it could take days. He would slowly get dehydrated and suffocate. V28 says this had to happen so that scripture would be fulfilled.
What can we know from this ? Just his immense pain and suffering. We are called to a life of suffering. Jesus said that in this world we will have many troubles. Are you willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel? Are you willing to put up with inconveniences for the sake of the gospel? Many missionaries have done this. Jesus left heaven for us. Are we willing to embrace suffering? C. T Studd was a rich and famous cricketer like Tendulkar. HE gave it all up to go to China.

6. Jn19:30 It is finished – What was he referring to? The word finished is the same as “paid in full”. What was this? Jesus was saying that the price for our sins was paid in full. Salvation has been bought and the debt has been paid. We were in debt because of our sin but that has been paid by Jesus. Jesus was the sinless sacrifice.

7. Luke 23:46Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
This was addressed to the Father. Nobody took his life. He gave up his life. John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”Jesus was in control even on the cross. This is the hope we have. Jesus died and was raised to life again. We will die but our spirits will live forever with Jesus.

Colin  D Cruz
April 2012

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