The Seven Last Sayings of Christ on the Cross
by Dr Barry Wright
Jesus' death on Calvary, approximately 2000 years ago, was the main pivotal event to take place in God's Plan of Salvation for mankind. Without the Cross, all humanity would have, one way or another, faced eternal oblivion.
His death was to bring to fruition the promises of salvation first mentioned in Genesis 3:15.
It was also to establish forever the mystery of how God could be both just and merciful to us at the same time.
We also need to recognise that God's triumph on the Cross was to be affirmed for all eternity by the resurrection of Jesus (Matt 28: 6).
His suffering on the Cross, in our place, should put our own suffering into perspective. While we experience our own pain, difficult as it may be, we need to understand that Jesus experienced all of it, at a level more intense than any human being will have ever known.
The Seven Last sayings of Jesus on the Cross, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures, give us some insight into his last moments before his death. This was on the Friday evening leading into the Sabbath rest. The following statements also provide for us some important lessons that we may be able to apply to our own lives today.
'Father Forgive them for they know not what they do' (Luke 23: 34). This prayer, while referring to all of us until the end of time, makes reference particularly to both the Romans and the Jews who had been instrumental in plotting His death. In forgiving them, we need to recognise that His prayer does not remove their guilt.
However, while the Jewish leaders had made a deliberate decision in relation to Jesus' death, it would seem they did not fully appreciate what they were doing within the context of the great universal battle between Christ and Satan.
Also the common people had little concept of what was taking place. Making their jeers and taunts in ignorance, they were blindly following their leaders.
The Roman soldiers had even less understanding, though we read in the Scriptures that a glimmer of light was to pierce the heart of the Roman Centurion (Matt 27:54).
Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43).
It was only because of Jesus' presence on the cross that this assurance to the thief, dying beside Him, was made possible. The issue for this man was not when he would be in paradise but whether it was possible for him to get there at all.
Woman, behold thy son…Behold thy Mother! (John 19: 26,27).
In His bodily pain and mental suffering Jesus did not forget His Mother. Jesus sees her great distress as she stands at the foot of the cross. He then commends her to the care of John the disciple who was to carry out the duties of a son to her.
My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me? (Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.) (Matt 27:46). No eye could pierce the gloom that surrounded the cross and it seemed like Jesus was passing through the uttermost abyss as the world's sin fell on His heart.
I thirst (John 19:28). These two simple words reflecting Psalm 69:21 show the humanness of Jesus' physical suffering.
It is finished (John 19: 30). Then Jesus cries out 'It is finished'. This is the cry of a man who has completed His task. It is the victor's shout. It is the cry of one who has come out of the dark into the glory of the light. Jesus dies with a shout of triumph on His lips assuring the salvation of man.
Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit (Luke 23: 46). Jesus died with the prayer of Psalm 31: 5 on His lips. Happy is the man or woman who falls asleep in the hands of God.
Because of what took place at the Cross we are told that one day the suffering and pain of humanity will all end. John the Revelator in Rev 21:4 says that 'He [God] will wipe away all their tears and there will be no more death, neither will there be any more sorrow, crying or pain, The old order of things will be forever gone.'
WE NEED TO THANK GOD FOR ALL HE HAS DONE FOR US AND PRAY THAT THIS SPECIAL DAY WILL COME QUICKLY.
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