This week as I have been preparing for communion I have been thinking about Jesus’ time on the cross. In particular, His words from the cross. We see from the Scriptures that Jesus said seven things that tell us a lot about Him and His mindset at this terrible terrible time.
Here are some of Jesus’ last words and prayers from the cross…
- The first words that are recorded from Jesus on the cross show that even in this situation of great agony He is prepared to forgive His accusers, His torturers, His enemies, as He cries out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
- Secondly, He turns to one of the thieves on the cross next to Him. One cursed Him, but the other one wanted to be remembered when Jesus comes into His kingdom. Jesus replies, “Truly, today you will be with me in paradise.” On the cross He was still about His mission and bringing one thief back to God. Jesus died for the sin of the world, but He also died for the one person.
- Thirdly, Jesus turns to his mother and to the beloved disciple, the apostle John, and says, “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother” Even on the cross He has not forgotten those closest to Him. He told them to look after each other.
- Fourthly, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” Jesus felt some awareness of now being separated from His heavenly Father. The closeness and intimacy that He had enjoyed throughout eternity and His earthly life was broken. The Bible tells us that God can not look on sin and Jesus had the sins of the world upon Him.
- Fifthly, He cries out, “I thirst.” And yet He refuses to drink what was either a painkiller or a poison, anything that would relieve His suffering or speed up the process of His death. Bible scholars tell us His statement, “I thirst,” not merely a statement of human anguish, but also one of spiritual anguish following His acknowledgment of separation from God.
- Sixthly, He says, “It is finished” — His life was close to ending, but again perhaps we are meant to see the whole plan of salvation has now been accomplished.
- Lastly, He cries out, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” With that He died.
So to summarise this event – Jesus asked for God to forgive the people who crucified Him, He offered salvation to one of the thieves, He asked John to care for His mother, he felt the separation from God for the first time and said He thirsted for God, He said the work of salvation is done, and then last but not least committed His Spirit to God.
Even on the cross. For Jesus it was not about Him, it was about His Fathers will, the people around Him, and His mission of reconciling the world to Himself.
Can the helpers come forward.