The Words of Christ From the Cross

Date: 03/27/2021 
Everything in the last seven things Jesus said on the cross was calculated to tell us something about the plan of salvation, to bring us encouragement, and even to challenge us.

The High Cost of the Cross - Paper or Digital PDF

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Doug Batchelor: Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." Here at Amazing Facts, we take the Great Commission seriously. That's why we're an international ministry. I've personally had the privilege of sharing the gospel in many countries, from China to New Guinea, from Russia to Africa, to India. And it's evident that people everywhere have a hunger for the Word of God. As we make significant progress in delivering God's message, there's still a lot of work to be done. It's not enough that people know about Jesus. People need to experience a new birth and to know the fantastic love of God. Life's difficult. Many people across the globe are struggling, but God is still love. And it's our mission here at Amazing Facts and it's our joy to show that love to others by sharing the good news. We pray that today's program will bless and inspire you to share God's Word with others and don't forget, stay tuned for today's free offer at the conclusion of the presentation. God bless.

Doug: Now, it's a great thing if you can have your kids learn the Ten Commandments. I hope they know that. And I actually went to a Catholic school where the one thing that I learned was they told us to memorize the Beatitudes. And I think I could still do most of them. But how many of you have ever taught your children to remember the seven last statements of Jesus from the cross?

You know, contained in the statements that Jesus made from the cross, so all of that is--you know, none of it was by accident. Everything He said from the cross is calculated to tell us something about the plan of salvation, to bring us some encouragement, and even to challenge us.

The last words of Christ are filled with very great importance. So we're going to take the next few minutes and we're going to look carefully at the seven statements Jesus makes from the cross. The cross of Jesus was the pulpit for His final earthly sermon before the Resurrection. So He preaches a sermon to us in these words. Now I'm going to begin by summarizing those words for you, so you just have them at least clear in your mind.

First, you've got an appeal, "Father, forgive them." Then you've got words of affection. He remembers His mother and He commends His mother to John. You've got the words of assurance in what He speaks to the thief. You've got words of abandonment where He says, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Then there are words of anguish when He says, "I thirst," the words of accomplishment when He declares, "It is finished," and ultimately, the words of acceptance where He says, "Into Your hands, I commend My Spirit."

So let's take those statements and find out what we can learn from these words of Christ from the cross. First of all, you read in Luke chapter 23, verse 34, the first one. This is the words of appeal. He says in Luke 23:34: "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do,' and they divided His garments and they cast lots," of course, fulfilling that prophecy that you find in Psalm 22.

Think about that. The first thing that Jesus says as His Crucifixion begins: "Father, forgive them." In the Lord's Prayer, we say, "Our Father." And so, really, we can say, "Lord, Father, Jesus, Your Son, interceded for me. He said, 'Please forgive them.'" I mean, what better argument can we have than the appeal of the Son? Now, some of you are thinking, "Well, that was just a specific prayer. That is not a prayer for the human race at large. Jesus is not saying 'Father, forgive them,' except He's talking about the Roman soldiers or the slaves that didn't realize what they were doing." No, Jesus is not just praying for the slaves that have to perform the Crucifixion. I'm sure it includes them. But if you read in your Bibles in Acts 3, verse 17, Peter is preaching. He's preaching to the religious leaders, to the Jews. And he says, "Now brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did your rulers."

So when Jesus says, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they do," I don't think that most of them really knew and there were some who had a lot of evidence they were fighting against. But even Paul, Paul thought he was serving God when he was killing Christians. He did it in ignorance. All of us are really sinning in ignorance, to some extent. So this is a prayer that Jesus is offering for every one of us. And it's amazing, so often when you hurt a person, I think it was Cicero, the Roman historian, that said when someone was crucified, it was so painful that they would curse everybody. They would curse the gods, they'd curse their family, they'd curse the soldiers, they would spit, and they were expecting that from Jesus.

But as they began to go through the actual act of binding Him to the tree and nailing His hands and His feet, and He'd already been just laying down with His back torn up the way it was, and the crown of thorns, terrible suffering, from His lips pour forth love. You know, they say, "If you want to find out what's in a vessel, bump it." A lot of people, you bump them, you find out what's really inside. But when they bumped Jesus, when they pierced Him, out flowed love. You couldn't get Him to be hateful or angry. He would not sin. Jesus gave an example to the apostles.

What did Stephen do when he was stoned? Three and a half years later, when Stephen died for his faith, he said the same things as his master. He knelt down and he cried with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin," praying for their forgiveness. And did God answer Stephen's prayer? Paul was forgiven and was converted. The very one there who was at the execution. And he said this, he fell asleep. Isaiah 53, verse 12, in this prophecy of the Messiah, "He bore the sin of many, and He made intercession for the transgressors." Right there, when He was being pierced, He prayed. He interceded for those who were executing Him right there at the cross.

Now, what else do we learn from this? He's setting an example. Now, we embrace the forgiveness that Jesus offers us individually, that He offers others, but also He's telling us to follow His example and be forgiving. If Jesus can pray, "Father, forgive them," for the people who are crucifying Him, His own nation, then none of us can say He doesn't know what it's like to be mistreated. And He calls upon us to forgive. Jesus said, Luke 6:28, "Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who spitefully use you." Jesus, in spite of His personal pain, He prayed for them. Matthew 6:14, "If you forgive men your trespasses-- their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses."

I know that gets pretty raw sometimes. It's hard to forgive people that have really been mean. Ephesians 4:32, Bible reiterates, this is a tall order. "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." How are we to forgive each other? As God and Christ forgave us.

Second one: words of affection. You might even say words of adoption from the cross. John 19:26: "He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your Son.' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And from that hour, the disciple took her to be in his own home." Now first, practically, let me just explain what's happening. Jesus is giving His last will and testament. They took away His clothes, you know, that's all He had. And the other thing is He's taking care of the provision for His mother. Joseph, we believe, had died a few years earlier.

You may not be aware of this, but Jesus's brothers and sisters that it mentions were probably half-brothers and half-sisters from Joseph. Jesus was-- you know, otherwise logically, she would go into the house of one of her other children. But Jesus, knowing the commitment of John and how John loved Jesus, He said, "I want you to watch out for My mother." He was also young and this would provide for her for years to come. And it's believed church-- early church historians say that she stayed with John, he took care of her, and ultimately died in Antioch several years later. He kept that charge.

But there's something much bigger that's happening here. When Jesus says, "Woman, behold your Son," what was the first prophecy in the Bible? That the woman would bring forth the seed that would destroy the serpent, Genesis 3:15. This prophecy was being fulfilled at this very moment. In the blood of Christ is the anti-venom that destroyed the power of the devil. Jesus on the cross is crushing the head of the serpent. Says, "You will bruise His heel." Of course, His heels were pierced at that point. And so when He says, "Woman, behold your Son," that is a declaration for every believer through history as we are the church to look to the cross and say, "This is the Son that was foretold. This is the seed of the woman that we are to behold, that destroys the head of the serpent." Can you say "Amen?"

So this is a great fulfillment. This is the climax of that prophecy. And He says, "Woman, behold." The words are there, "Behold. Son, behold." What's contained in there? The Bible says Jesus promises us, "If I am lifted up," position of visibility, "all will be drawn to Me." John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Paul tells us in Hebrews chapter 12, "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that says-- does so easily beset us and let us run that race with endurance, looking unto Jesus." By beholding Him on the cross makes it a little easier for us to run the race and lay aside the sin.

You know, it's hard for me to make excuses for my petty sins when I look at Jesus on the cross and you see what your sin costs, you see how it hurt Him, you see what He endured. And then for us to say, "I know it hurts you, Lord," and for us to crucify Him afresh with our sins. The cross is where we find the power to be transformed. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."

Third word-- statement is where you find His words of assurance that are given to the thief. Luke 23, verse 43. You know, Jesus, of course, was crucified between two thieves. They had three crosses prepared that day. One for Barabbas and one for each of his associates. Barabbas went free, and Jesus died on the cross of Barabbas. By the way, you and I are like Barabbas. He takes our place; He is our substitute. And there's a thief on the right and there's a thief on the left. Jesus is crucified right in the middle. As the prophecy said, He'd be numbered with the transgressors, right in the midst. And as they're hanging there, at first, everybody engages in mocking Him, and even the thief on the right and the left, they said, "If You're the Savior, save us. Can You do anything?"

But as the hours drag on, the thief, ostensibly on the right, it doesn't say specifically in the Bible. But you know, since Jesus separates the sheep and the goats, and the goats are on the left and the sheep are on the right, I'm assuming this was the sheep. And so he's on the right. I can't prove that, but you can't disprove it, so we're going to say he's on the right. So, and so this thief who it also says is a robber, he's-- was guilty of insurrection and they had participated in at least a murder that realizes he's dying, he looks at Jesus and something happens along the way.

He sees them gambling for His clothing and casting lots. And he remembers Psalm 22. He looks and he sees His hands and His feet pierced and he remembers Psalm 22. He sees the sign above the head of Christ on the cross: "This is the King of the Jews." Remember, they wanted to change that. Pilate said, "I'm not changing it. What I've written, I've written. This is the King of the Jews." And the Holy Spirit sees him. He heard when they were being crucified, he heard from the background noise, he heard Jesus pray, "Father, forgive them." And he thought, "What kind of man is this?"

Maybe as he hung on the cross, he saw some of the others weeping and saying, "He raised my child to life. He healed my diseases." And the mind is, you know, things happen very quickly when you're dying, quickened by adrenaline and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he suddenly sees in Jesus, this is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. And while everybody around the cross is mocking Christ, he makes that statement. And he says, "Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom."

Now, friends, this is phenomenal. It really is. Because nobody-- even His apostles at the cross were not calling Him "Lord." "'Furthermore,' the man said, 'when you come into Your kingdom.'" That implies you've got a King. Now that takes incredible faith because Jesus, hanging on the cross, all but naked, bleeding, beaten, defeated, nearly blue, does not look like He can save anybody. To call him a King, to call him a Lord, took incredible faith. And I think the whole crowd suddenly got very quiet. Says, "Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom" and you know what? In spite of all of His suffering, agony, mocking, everything He was going through, Jesus always heard a prayer from a repentant sinner.

Jesus may not always answer your prayer when you give Him your Christmas list of all the things you want. But if you come to Christ and you are contrite for your sins and you repent, He will always hear that prayer. And Jesus immediately responded when he heard-- why did Jesus come? To seek and to save the lost. He had come to save sinners. And here was a sinner in His closing hours bringing joy to His heart that His mission was not vain. And He turned to him right away, and He said, "Verily, I am telling you today, you will be with Me in paradise." And so He was telling them this.

Now these two thieves represent all of humanity. One is saved, one is lost. They are both helpless to save themselves. You can see that they're sort of a symbol of all of us. They're all-- they're guilty of murder, of stealing, of blasphemy. They couldn't save themselves. They'd both had an opportunity to be saved. They both have Christ by them, but only one is saved because one calls out. You know, he publicly confessed his sin. He said to his fellow thief, "We are receiving what we deserve. This man has done nothing wrong." He is declaring that Jesus is innocent. They're confessing publicly, or he was confessing publicly, his sin. He met all the criteria of salvation. And Jesus said, "You will be saved." And I think at that moment that the heavens briefly parted and a ray of light came through the darkness and shone on that man to just confirm that God had heard his prayer.

Now, he-- just because he repented of his sins and he was saved, does not mean he came down from the cross. You may come to Christ and He will forgive your sins, but it does not always reverse your circumstances. Sometimes-- he still had to bear with the circumstances of his life, but he had eternal life now because he turned to Jesus, meaning everybody can have the life that lasts forever if we come to Christ. Fourth statement is a statement of abandonment, and I was struggling to find the right word for this. But I think this will work. Matthew 27, verse 46. When Christ, during the ninth hour-- this is the closing moments. He cries out with a loud voice and He says, "Eli, Eli lama Sabachthani”, that is “My God, My God. Why have You forsaken Me?"

Now, I think it's very important to understand, Jesus never asked a question because He didn't know something. Did Jesus know why He was on the cross? Of course. Did He know why He was separated from the Father? Sure, He prayed it wouldn't happen in the Garden because He knew what was going to happen. So why is He saying this? Did Jesus get discouraged? No, you read in Isaiah 42 this prophecy about the Messiah: "He will not fail or be discouraged." Did Jesus lose faith and despair? No, Jesus is asking a sublime rhetorical question. He is quoting from Psalm 22. The first verse in Psalm 22 is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Why is Jesus quoting from Psalm 22? Well, let's think about it. Let's read a little further down in that Psalm. Go to verse 7, it says here, "All those who see me ridicule me, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying he trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him, let Him deliver Him since He delights in Him." This was called a Messianic Psalm. The Jews believed this was a Psalm that told us about the Messiah. Jesus, in making that statement, was acting the part of the high priest, a few hundred yards away on the Passover in the temple was supposed to read from a Messianic Psalm. Christ, our high priest, was reading from a Messianic Psalm because now He is the Lamb of God and He's asking the people around the cross, "Pay attention to the words of this Psalm." Should have triggered something in their minds.

Read down in Psalm 22, verse 16: "For dogs have surrounded me. The congregation of the wicked has enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones." They often whipped them until their bones showed. "And they look and they stare at me, they divide my garments among them and for my clothing, they cast lots." Now, how could He orchestrate that? This, to me, is one of the most incredible prophecies. You realize Psalm 22 is written 1000 years before Jesus is born, approximately. We know from the Dead Sea Scrolls, this Psalm was written before Jesus was born. How perfectly does this identify the sufferings of Christ by crucifixion which was not even practiced by the Jews when David wrote it? When he said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" it's kind of like when He said to Adam, "Where are you?" In making that statement, He's basically saying this is why I am forsaken by the Father for you. The love of God is best demonstrated on the cross. This is why Paul says, "I'm determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

The fifth statement of Jesus on the cross, his anguish, John 19:28. "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst.'" What scripture is being fulfilled? Well, a lot of scriptures are being fulfilled, but there's even a scripture about His thirst. You read in Psalm 22, I deliberately left out verse 15 and saved it till now: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd, my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth. You've brought me to the dust of death." It talks about His thirst. You read also in Psalm 69:21: "They gave me gall for my food and for my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink."

You know, I think it's fascinating that the first miracle of Jesus, and John emphasizes this in John chapter 2, in Cana He turns water into pure grape juice. He didn't make booze. It's pure grape juice. At the Last Supper, He calls it new wine. He says, "I'll not drink this again until I drink it with you new in My Father's kingdom." He gives it at a wedding feast. Now He is dying on the cross. Man offers Him sour wine. He basically makes a transfusion. Says, "I'm going to take your sin. I'm going to give you My sinlessness, My purity. I'm going to take your weakness. I'm going to give you My power," and they gave that to Him for His thirst. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled."

Jesus separated from the Father bearing our sins, said, "I thirst." He was feeling the thirst for righteousness because He had lost righteousness. He was carrying our sin at that moment. "I thirst." Are you hungering and thirsting for righteousness? The promise is if you do, you'll be filled. "You will search for Me and you'll find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart." It's a hunger, something you crave. If food starts getting later and later, you find some way to solve it, don't you? You become very motivated. If you get hungry enough, you start thinking about where can I pull over? Where can I get some money? It's a drive. And do you have that drive for holiness? Do you hunger for righteousness? And Jesus challenges us to have that.

Statement number 6 is accomplishment. I held up my hand, but I've only got five fingers. So it's six. And that's in John 19, verse 30. Jesus, when He received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished." Now, the Greek word here, when it says, "It is finished," is teleo, and teleo doesn't mean, you know, just like you finished your homework so much as it means like a bill is paid in full. So when He said, "It is finished," He was saying our debt is canceled, that He had drank the very bottom dregs of the sin of the world. He'd taken it all within Himself. He'd paid for the sin of every human who has ever lived, who is living now, or who will ever live. He'd taken it all. He fulfilled the prophecies, he fulfilled the promises, the provisions were fulfilled. What a wonderful promise. That declaration, "It is finished." It was a-- it's a declaration of triumph. It's a declaration of someone coming to you and saying, "Don't worry about the debt, I've got it. It's paid in full."

Finally, point 7, the statement 7, words of acceptance. Luke 23:46: "And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, He says 'It is finished.'" There's a pause and then He says, "Father into Your hands, I commit My Spirit." And I think, right then, you know, it says that darkness covered the land at this time. And again, you can read in that book, "Desire of Ages." But when He declared, "It is finished," something happened. The clouds parted and a ray of light came through and shone upon the Son. And everybody there saw that and He cried, "It is finished." Then He declared the last statement, "Father, into Your hands, I commend My Spirit." These are words of acceptance. All of us can count on that acceptance and He breathed His last.

You know what the first words of Jesus are recorded in His earthly life? He said, "I must be about my Father's business." Now, His last words before His Resurrection, He said, "Father, into Your hands, I commend My Spirit." He had completed the business of the Father.

Doug: No doubt you've often heard that Jesus died for your sins and that He paid an enormous price to save you from sin and death. It sounds important. But how does that affect your day-to-day life 2,000 years later? Well, friend, your response to Jesus's sacrifice is going to be in direct proportion to how you understand its value. In fact, your eternity actually hinges upon knowing the truth about this vital subject. That's why Amazing Facts would like to send you a special gift called "The High Cost of the Cross." This extraordinary resource dives deep into the heart of the Christian faith by exploring the reasons why Jesus had to die and how much He sacrificed to open the gates of heaven for you. So don't wait, friend. To get your free copy, call the number on the screen and ask for offer number 156 or visit the Web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend.

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