Luke 23.34 - And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His clothes among themselves.
In these lines, I would like to address the seven words Jesus uttered when He was crucified. The first of these is one of the best known of Jesus' words: Father forgive them.We would be tempted to believe that this word concerns only the Jews and Romans of the time of Jesus, but what Jesus said concerns us all. Jesus reveals what has always been in God's heart: Forgiveness! Jesus made it clear that He did not come to our world to condemn us but to save us. It is true that when we are ignorant of the existence of the God who is Love, we have an innate tendency to make bad choices that often result in a bill of suffering. We do not know what we are doing. We do not realize the scope of our actions and the damage they cause in our lives as well as those of others.
By having accepted to die on a cross, Jesus gives us access to this forgiveness. He invites us by saying: Come to Me. My Father is ready to accept you as you are. By giving my life, I cancel the bill that evil demands and I open the way for the love of my Father to reach you and give you a new future.
Luke 23.43 - Jesus said to him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
This statement Jesus made it while He is undergoing one of the most cruel killings in history. Two robbers suffer the same fate as him, and one of them recognizes his kingship, nothing more, nothing less. The salvation God gives us sometimes seems too easy and we have an innate tendency to add something to it. This brigand could not claim anything!His life had been a mess, populated by bad actions like theft, even maybe murder. He will say it himself: His punishment is only righteousness, thereby recognizing his evil deeds.His way stopped at this place of torture that Golgotha, it was no longer possible for him to do one or the other good action to redeem himself, besides it would have been completely useless because the good works can not save us. In his repentance, he recognizes Jesus for who He is: An innocent man put to death for the faults of all humanity and the King of kings. It does not take more for him to receive the promise to be in paradise the same day.This man understood the way of salvation that God offers us: He acknowledged his mistakes and confessed them, he accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for him and finally he proclaimed his kingship.
Take a moment to think about this: If the road stops for you today, who will you be with?With the Lord Jesus in paradise or away from the presence of God. If you do not have the assurance of your eternal future, do as our robber on the cross: Acknowledge your faults and your need for forgiveness, accept what Jesus did for you by dying on the cross and recognize him as Lord of the universe. You will feel a deep peace invade you, you will be liberated from your sins and you will be on the path of eternal life.
John 19.26 and 27 - So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, said to His mother, “Woman, look, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Look! Your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
What would be our thought so close to death? Would we care about our loved ones or be completely absorbed by what happens to us? It was not the case of our Lord, in this critical moment He still had an emotional gesture. We must put things in the historical context. At that time, there was no widow's pension, no social security and it is quite possible that Mary would have been in a financial "galley" if no one took care of her. I am deeply challenged by the concern that the Lord has for us. In two sentences, He solved a serious problem: His mother received a security of existence and John, who had so much affection for his Lord, received the mother of this one. Do you think God has this concern for you? Certainly yes ! Every detail of our life interests him, He even knows the number of our hair. The image of a distant God, who distributes "blessings" a little by chance, flies away. The God I know is close and intimate, caring and faithful. He will never forsake the one who puts his trust in Him and He has no debt to anyone. Mary had an extraordinary destiny in carrying the Son of God and the Lord will certainly not neglect it. Life takes another turn when we know that the Lord of love watches over us in this way and that in a few moments, He is able to find a solution to our needs.
Matthew 27.46 -... “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Of the seven words of Jesus on the cross, this one is the most terrible. In all eternity the Son has always been united to his Father: No interference, no shadow, no hint of separation except ... at this place cursed of the cross. Do you understand the greatness of the love that God shows on this cross? He accepts to separate, to lose himself, to surrender ... Our reason has difficulties to understand this gesture. We are used to separation, loneliness and abandonment, and we can not conceive the complete and perfect unity that unites the Father to the Son. Yet they both agreed to be separated for the sake of humanity. God can not be in touch with sin. There is an abyss between Him and disobedience. The separation between the sinner and the person of God is not a punishment but it is an irrevocable consequence of this abyss. In order for man to be able to taste this presence again, sin had to be expiated and the only one who could do it was God Himself in the person of the Son. How much the Creator wanted to find communion with his creature and to testify to it, when Jesus died, the veil in the Temple of Jerusalem was torn up and down. The wall of the partition fell in the same way that the Berlin Wall fell. The curse of separation fell on Jesus so that you and I could be freed from it. Because at one point in history Jesus accepted to be abandoned, we can be adopted. We can, through his sacrifice, rediscover the sweet presence of God and be re-established in our identity as a child of God. It would be too bad if you did not accept this outstretched hand ... Would Jesus have suffered in vain for you?
John 19.28 - After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, “I am thirsty.”
This fifth word of Jesus on the cross is very short and holds in three words: I am thirsty! Yet it still contains many riches to better know our Lord. The first thing I get from it is the humanity of Jesus. We tend to minimize the difficulty for Jesus to pass the test of death bythinking: Yes, but it is the Son of God! He is the Son of God, indeed, but when He was on earth, He had all the limitations of a human being knowing thirst, hunger, fatigue and suffering. He won the victory over his limitations by faith and prayer, this should encourage us thinking that it is also possible for us. Second, these words Jesus pronounced them also to fulfill the Word of God. All the words that God has pronounced will be fulfilled in their time, it is a certainty. Jesus was the incarnate Word: All his life was a demonstration of the truth of this Word, fulfilling all that was said of Him in the Old Testament, strongly showing the prophetic voice of the Bible. Thirdly, these few words still show the spirit of sacrifice that animated our Lord; He who said: If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me (John 7:37), knew this spiritual thirst that symbolizes the lack of life and aridity of the soul without God. He suffered this thirst so that you could be quenched, He suffered all these things for your salvation, so that your soul finds the way to eternal life if you accept it today.
John 19.30 - When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”
This sixth word of Jesus on the cross sounds like the end of creation: Thus were the heavens and the earth completed with all the army of what they contain (Genesis 2.1).What Jesus had come to do on earth is complete, His mission is fulfilled with total success: He has paved the way for us to become new creatures. Those who watched his crucifixion had to believe that it was the end when it was the beginning of an era of grace. Sin has been atoned, the righteousness of God is satisfied, henceforth salvation in Jesus Christ can be announced to the whole earth. All is accomplished: What a cry of triumph! All !There is nothing more to add. What the prophets announced was realized, it will not be necessary to wait and hope: The salvation of humanity is accomplished. What Isaiah announced in chapter 53 is a reality for us today.
He bore our suffering, our pain, our sickness, our curse, our punishment: Everything was carried. You no longer need to wear all these things, Jesus did it for you. Now salvation is possible for you by believing with all your heart in Him. From this day you can live the will of God for your life, you can enter your destiny with Him, it is the most wonderful of lives.I want to shout: EVERYTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED! The devil needs to hear these words, they sound the death knell of his reign. He has been defeated and he must let go of the hold that sin gave him, he must let you go, what made you slave was atoned, you are free.Is not this good news? There is so much joy in the heart of God when a sinner finds the way to freedom.
Luke 23.46 - And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” Having said this, He breathed His last.
We end this chapter around the words of Jesus on the cross. The speed of Jesus' death surprised those who watched him. History tells us that some crucifixions could last several days. It is for this reason that the legs of the other tortured have been broken in order to accelerate their killing. Jesus was a well-built man, a carpenter was a difficult job.During three years of ministry, Jesus spent himself without counting. He experienced many privations, both in food and sleep, which explains why he was weakened before facing the cross. A few hours earlier, He had faced the anguish of His sacrifice by praying intensely for this trial to pass Him. However, He did not want to do His will but that of His Father. After this fight, He surrendered totally to his Father and it is a last cry of hope that He utters by saying: I put my spirit in your hands.
This dependence of God in total trust should speak to us. We will probably never have to endure a trial as tragic as the cross, but in our trials, if we surrender ourselves to God, we can be sure that He will come to our rescue.
The work of the cross is for all humanity but it is also for you in particular because He knows you.