This message was preached by Colin D cruz at Word of Grace Church Pune, on the 18th April 2014 . You can listen/clicking here to the audio by
Traditionally today, people focus on the 7 last words of Christ. The four gospels phrase them differently. All 7 phrases are not in one gospel but it’s a compilation.
Jesus was in great physical pain, he carried a heavy cross in the scorching sun and finally he was nailed to it. In moments like this, you don’t waste your words.
Luke 3:34 (starting from verse 32) 2 other criminals were with him.
1. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. ’The first thing Jesus said was a prayer and gave forgiveness. As the blood flowed from his body, Jesus takes on the role of the high priest. He was in agony- but he did not lash out or curse them or call judgment on them. Jesus did the opposite, he prayed and interceded.
Isaiah 53: 12- numbered with the sinners- what an amazing thing to do! Jesus did not come to condemn them.
Did the people not know what they were doing? Pilate knew, the Sanhedrin knew, the 3 soldiers knew. What did they not know- that they were crucifying the Messiah- the Lord of Glory.
How was that prayer answered- very quickly! The thief on the cross! Both had insulted Jesus but suddenly after Jesus prayed, one thief got saved.
In Acts 2- a few days later 3000 people were added. Acts 3:6, a large number of priests God saved. That prayer is so powerful that it is effective even today. Even today he intercedes for us.
2. Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’The most glorious answer to the prayer is in this phrase- Matt 23: 39-42- one thief has a change in heart. Here we see a great response to the gospel. Firstly, he feared God. In verse 41, he acknowledges his sin and that he deserved punishment. He knew Jesus was sinless. He acknowledges that Jesus was a King. And here it come- “ today you will be with me in paradise.”
This thief could do nothing – no church, no service to the poor, no tithing, no baptism- yet he received unconditional salvation. This is a testimony of grace.
2 Corinthians 5:21- God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
3. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ John 19:26 There were many friends of Jesus there and his mother. Can you imagine her agony?
This reflects his tender love for his mother. John 19:26- Jesus did not call her ‘mother’. He always called her ‘woman’. Although she was his earthly mother- the relationship was of a sinner and a savior. She needed saving as much as anyone.
Luke 11:27- Jesus rebuked people who elevated Mary.
Jesus had brothers and sisters- Why did he not entrust his mother to them? Maybe because till then they did not believe.
Acts 1: 14- but later they did. Jesus was showing that even in his agony he provided for his earthly mother how much more in his triumph and resurrection.
4. About 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?’Matt 27:46Psalm 21 and Luke 23- Right from the beginning the father and son were one and suddenly it comes to a halt and the Father turns his back on Jesus because he became sin.
Jesus voluntarily took sin upon himself. This reassured that our sin has been paid for. 2 Corinthians 5:21 is a reality for us.
5. John 19:28- ‘I am thirsty’. That is an under-statement! They put some vinegar and give it to him. He had it to fulfill Psalm 21. We see the true humanity of Jesus. This debunks another myth that it was a spirit. We see his deity and humanity on the cross.
6. John 19:30- “it is finished”. Luke 23:46 what was his state. He called out in a loud voice after all that. He still had strength. He was showing us that he laid down his life. John 10:18 I lay down my life and I take it up again
In his final minutes he was displaying his power. It was a deliberate act of His sovereign will.
His suffering was finished. The price was paid. You can’t add anything to the Cross. There are only 2 religions in the world. On says ‘do’ and the other says ‘done’!
7. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last.Luke 23:46- Displays his submission to the Father. From creation to the cross, he was submitted. Jesus set us an example to follow in his footsteps.
The eternal son became man and died a horrible death to take us to God.
If you don’t know this assurance, put your faith in Jesus and acknowledge your sin, repent and follow. A miracle will happen like to the thief on the cross. And you can live for Him.
For those of us who know- our response should be of immense gratitude for what Jesus did.
We are called to follow him. Without the cross there is no glory and no crown. If the church life is easy, the question is, who are you following? Will we follow no matter what it costs? By the spirit, it is possible.