7 Words from the Cross
Good Friday 2018
Luke 23:34 This is a word of forgiveness.
I want you to think of someone who has wronged you. What they did was not right, what they did was hurtful, what they did was inexcusable. They shouldn’t have done what they did, but they did and now you’re hurt. So what do you do? Make them pay? Make them grovel? Make them feel at least some of the pain they made you feel? Hold it over their head?
Do you see what Jesus is doing here? He’s being ruthlessly nailed to the cross. And to the people who are doing it, to the people who knew that they were being terribly cruel, who knew that they were committing a terrible injustice, who knew that what they were doing was wrong, what does Jesus ask? Jesus asks that God forgive them. That their sins would be washed away and that they would one day enjoy through faith eternal life in heaven. That’s God’s forgiveness! And that’s His forgiveness for you.
You see, no matter what horrible things someone has done to us, it’s not even a blip or a speck compared with what you and I have done to our God. We’re the reason he’s here, we’re the reason he’s suffering. And what has he done? Forgiven you. Forgiven me. Wants nothing less than heaven for you and me. How can we not forgive from the heart? How can we not let go of that which will eat us up and kill us from the inside if we don’t? How can we not want heaven for others as Jesus does for us? Because we’ve been forgiven, we can forgive others fully and freely.
Luke 23:43 This is a word of grace.
I’ve had my fair share of driving through blizzards, snow storms and icy roads. It’s not the most enjoyable, in fact, the older I get, the more responsibility I have, the more cautious I am when driving. Have you ever had a terrible trip somewhere but in the end said, “Well, all that matters is that I got there safely, I arrived, I reached the goal.”
Here’s a thief, his trip through life was awful. He did terrible things. He lost his way. In fact, he became the scum of the earth, the worst of the worst, no one wanted him, all people wanted was to rid the earth of him, so now he’s in excruciating pain and at the lowest point in his life and what does he do? He looks in hope and faith to Jesus and says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He trusts in Jesus as His King and Savior. And what does Jesus tell him? “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
We might want an easy, pain-free life. But God knows that it’s so often in pain and difficulty and challenge when we look to him. Life is only temporary. The things of this life will all pass away. So whether you have a pain-free or pain-filled life, in the end what really matters is where you end up in the end. So we pray, “Jesus remember me.” And because Jesus died on the cross to pay for every sin, he looks at you and says, “I tell you the truth, you will be with me in paradise.” Amen.
John 19:26-27 This is a word of personal care.
So try to put yourselves in Jesus’ position at this moment. Yes, it’s impossible, but just think. The terrible physical pain he is in, the emotional pain of the worst kind of rejection, the spiritual pain of suffering the sins of the world. And in the midst of all that, what does Jesus take time to do? Make sure that his mom’s physical needs are taken care of.
That tells us something about Jesus. He cares. He cares for all of you. No, he doesn’t promise you a healthy, wealthy, and wise life, but he does promise to care for you. He will do what we need him to do. If he was willing to die for you and me, do you think he’ll be willing to get us through tomorrow? Do you think he will take care of that thing you fret about? Or that thing that keeps you up at night? Jesus not only died for you, but He cares for you. Amen.
Mark 15:34 This is a word of horror.
From noon to three the sky went black. Can you imagine? It went dark. Why? What happened on the earth was really a picture of what was happening deep within Jesus. The price of our sins is hell and when Jesus screams out “My God, my God why have your forsaken me?” He’s suffering hell.
Hell is described often in the Bible as the outer darkness, separation from the blessings of God. It’s eternal suffering. Now we might look at this and think, “Ok, well, Jesus just had to get through 3 hours of hell.” There’s no such thing as 3 hours of hell. You see, hell is eternal. And we can’t think in terms of eternity. The reason Jesus yelled out a terrorized scream was because he was suffering hell, he was literally suffering the ETERNAL suffering of hell, the combined total accumulation of hells that every person deserves.
He was in hell for you and for me. His punishment brought us peace. Because he was there, you never will be, you will never experience it, thank God for this word of horror. Amen.
John 19:28 – This is a word of fulfillment
Jesus was thirsty. The prophet David in Psalm 22 foretold that the Messiah’s strength would be dried up like a piece of pottery, his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. And so, in order to fulfill Scripture Jesus said, “My tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth” “I’m thirsty”
Why would we be told this? I mean, with everything that’s going on, with everything that Jesus is suffering, why say he’s thirsty? What’s the big deal? It fulfilled Scripture. Over 1,000 years before it happened God had it prophesied that Jesus would be thirsty. Think about that- the most terrible and most tragic and most injust thing to ever happen in the world was happening and yet…there was a plan, God had already designed every thing. Do you think your life is out of control? It’s not out of God’s control. If God was in control then, he is certainly in control today.
John 19:30 – This is a word of full payment.
This word in the Greek is one little word “tetelesthai.” It’s a word that could literally be translated “Paid in Full.” What was paid in full? Your sins, my sins, the sins of the world, paid in full.
Satan loves to accuse. He loves to point the finger and say, “Look at all the horrible things you’ve done. Look at all the horrible words you’ve spoken. Look at your horrible mind full of anger, greed, lust, selfishness…do you really think you’ll end up in heaven?”
We get to respond with “it is finished” “paid in full.” It may be little in length, but its huge in impact. Nothing less than the FULL payment for ALL of the sin of ALL of the world. And if the sins of ALL the world have been paid for, then your sins have been paid for. In full. It’s true now; it’s true forever!
Luke 23:46 – This is a word of peace.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. That moment you will have to face if Jesus doesn’t return sooner: death. Frightening, if we were unsure about what came next. But for us its just a sleep. We know what Jesus did to death. So that we might have peace at our last moment Jesus spoke these words at his last moment. He didn’t need to speak. He could have whispered. No. He spoke to be heard. We’re told Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Why a loud voice? Why shout? Because He wanted us to know what He’s done to death. At your last hour, when the devil tries to point his bony little finger, tries to convince you that Jesus didn’t do enough for you, tries to convince you that Jesus didn’t pay all your sins, tries to insert a little doubt, remember Jesus’ words- spoken with a loud voice.
He suffered hell, he completed the full payment for all sins, he knew that paradise awaited him. And so that you might assured at your dying breath that heaven is your home, he called out in a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”