Saturday, April 23, 2011

The 7 Things Jesus Said On The Cross

Yesterday while searching the internet for Good Friday related thing, I saw several references to the 7 words that Jesus said on the cross.  They are actually phrases, but the point is that some religions have Good Friday ceremonies where they read and ponder on these 7 sayings.  Good Ole Baptists don't do this; we'd turn it into a dinner if we did.  Baptists love to eat and fellowship.  :) There is so much to be gained from Our Savior's last words as the savior in human form that I decided to share them today though.  We should all live as Jesus died.

My original thought was simply to copy and paste the entire posting from I trimmed it and added some of my own thoughts but it still a pretty large post.

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Luke 23:34
Jesus says this first piece of advice only in the Gospel of Luke, just after he was crucified by the soldiers. The timing of this suggests that Jesus asks his Father to primarily forgive those who have tortured him, mocked him and nailed him to the cross. This could also apply to his friends who have deserted him, to Peter who has denied him three times, to the fickle crowd, who only days before praised him on his entrance to Jerusalem, and then days later chose him over Barabbas to be crucified.

Could this not also apply to us, who daily forget him in our lives?  Does he react angrily? No, he asks his Father to forgive them, because they are ignorant! At the height of his physical suffering, his Divine love prevails and He asks His Father to forgive his enemies. Wow!  What small petty hurt are we holding on so tightly to that we refuse to forgive?  This piece of advice strikes such a cord with me.  I am slow to forgive; I really need to follow His example here.

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  Luke 23:43
Even one of the criminals who Jesus has been hung between mocks Jesus. However, the criminal on the right stands up for Jesus, explaining that while the other two are guilty, "this man (Jesus) has done nothing wrong." Then, turning to Jesus, he asks, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). Ignoring his own suffering, Jesus mercifully responds. Isn't it amazing that Our Father continuously forgives and offers us grace when we are not worthy of it? The criminal simply had to ASK, and Jesus gave him pardon.

"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son". Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother." John 19:26-27
Mary was at the cross to watch her son die for us. How I ache for her as a mother myself.  I cannot imagine having to watch my son mocked, tortured, and crucified.  Jesus understands her pain. Jesus is concerned about taking care of his mother. Remember that the next time your mom wants you to take time out of your crazy schedule to do something for her.  Jesus' example is that we are to care for our mothers even in the worst personal time.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
The tone of this saying is totally different than the first three.  It has to be. This cry is from the painful heart of the human Jesus. Jesus feels separated from his Father because He is now bearing our sin. Without this separation, He does not become the Passover lamb for our salvation.  Jesus completely lives the human experience as we do, and by doing so, frees us from the clutches of sin. The burden of all the sins of humanity for a moment overwhelm the humanity of our Jesus, but it is only for a moment.  It is in defeat of his humanity that the Divine plan of His Father and Himself will be completed. It is by His death that we are redeemed. "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all" (l Timothy 2:5-6).

"I thirst"
John 19:28
The fifth group of words from Jesus on the cross is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll. He is dying for us. 

"He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed" (l Peter 2:24).

"It is finished";
and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
John 19:30
Jesus has achieved His purpose.  We have eternal life through Him. When Jesus died, He "handed over" the Spirit. They did not kill Him; He died for us.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit":
Gospel of Luke 23:46
The seventh word of Jesus is directed to the Father in heaven, just before He dies. Jesus recalls Psalm 31:5 - "Into thy hands I commend my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God."  We can be redeemed at that moment too.  Jesus died for us so that we might have eternal life. 

Tomorrow, we celebrate His resurrection.  Remember that among the bunnies and eggs.  :)

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