TODAY -

The seven statements of Jesus from the cross that had crossover effect

Lunminthang Haokip *



INTRODUCTION: The statement of a dying man holds absolute credibility. Those who trail crime take the words uttered by a person a few minutes before his death as the clue to tilt the balance of an issue in dispute. Lord Jesus, in His three and half year Ministry on this world mentioned gems of spiritual truths to sustain human needs and aspirations for many centimes after His death and more.

Just before he breathes last, a man reveals the most important things of value that he desires his dearest ones to know and cherish. So did the Son of God who was mercilessly bruised on the cross for our sake.

He was never guilty. Men were guilty. He voluntarily endured the pain and agony of crucifixion in full awareness of His innocence so that the work of redemption may be accomplished. "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)".

1. "FATHER, FORGIVE THEM :" Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". Jesus knew what He did. He knew that unless He offered Himself to be nailed on the cross like a criminal, there was no other means for sinners to receive forgiveness of the Creator. Therefore, He did not count the cost of extreme suffering He had to undergo too high.

It's other-worldly for a man to plead for the forgiveness of his tormentors. But His mission was different—to demonstrate the love of God. Today, unforgiving spirit is the root cause of human enmity. If Jesus could pray for those who bled Him to death, who are we to have the memory of an elephant in storing up the acid of bitterness for a lifetime?

His clue to get our sins forgiven was plain, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also.forgive you (Matthew 6:14)". The next verse says, "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matt. 6:15)".

2. "TODAY, SHALT THOU BE WITH ME IN PARADISE (Luke 23:43):" Being nailed to the cross in public glare was a traditional punishment meted out to hardened criminals. How patiently our Lord got Himself undeservedly flanked by two lowly thieves on the cross. Level playing field was offered to both thieves. Both could read Pilate's superscription, "This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews."

But one of the thieves mocked Christ, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself (Luke 23:37)". This mocking spirit of degenerated sinners still lingers today in our midst. But watching the 'Lamb of God' meekly enduring an unjust verdict, the other crucified thief repented and said, "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41). His faith and confession of the Lord at a critical juncture saw the penitent thief ascend to heaven.

3. "WOMAN, BEHOLD THY SON ... BEHOLD THY MOTHER (John 19:26-27)". Notwithstanding His deity, Jesus was also a man of woman-bom. He too had maternal emotions and filial attachment. Mary, the mother of Jesus, followed her Son in the wedding of Cana (John 2:1-11). Now at Calvary, she stood by her beloved Son in His hour of crisis for motherly comfort.

As a Son, Jesus had His own concerns for His mother's well-being after His departure from the earth. So, while He could speak. He entrusted His closest disciple, John, to take good care of the woman dearest to Him. Knowing her Son's mission and deity, Mary did not say anything to rescue the Saviour from the unjust punishment.

That she considered her own Son as the Saviour of mankind including herself was evident in her adoration in Luke 1:46, 'And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord". And it was a great privilege for disciple John to have been chosen to take care of the Lord's own mother.

4. "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME? (Psalm 22:1)". When I was a kid, my dad took me to the jungle and left me for a while to test me. He was watching my reaction from behind a bush. It was terrible to be forsaken, albeit for a while. I ran helter skelter and cried, "Daddy, Daddy, where are you? Why do you leave me alone".

Throughout His earthly sojourn, Jesus was in the comfort zone of His Father's presence. But on the cross, Lord Jesus was taking up cudgels for the sins of mankind as the sacrifice for sin. Although, it was Jehovah's master-plan unfolding, God loathed to see the pleading for sin. So He had to forsake the 'Advocate of sin' for a while to show how much He hated sin.

The Redeemer Son could feel the difference as He fended for Himself outside His Father's benign cover. How fortunate we are that our Lord worked out the hard way as the 'Ransom for our sins' to offer us eternal life through salvation. Let's give due weightage to Isaiah 53: 5, "He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed".

5. Then Jesus said, "I THIRST (John 19:28)". Jesus endured three hours of darkness and separation from God. He was still in a human body. It was natural that all the torture and bleeding would have made Him thirsty. Besides, the physical reasons, He could have had an other-worldly thirst too. We also experience thirst after physical exertion. We also nurse a. thirst to crave for many desires that can never be quenched.

Thirsting for the things of this world is like chasing the mirage. But the thirst of our Lord was totally different. He thirsted for acceptance as Lord and Saviour, But the people He came for rejected Him. "He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him (John 1:11). Those who go hardened to not accept Lord Jesus, despite the worldwide spread of the Gospel, are perfect candidates for hellfire.

The strange happenings and the deadly diseases that wreck our peace of mind should make us run to Lord Jesus in repentance. "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and they are safe (Proverbs 18:10)".

6. "IT IS FINISHED:" 'When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished (John 19:30)". We mess up a project and have no hope to get things done the right way, and say, 'it is finished,' in desperation. But the term signifies the opposite when Jesus mentioned it. Here 'It is finished' means the work of salvation for mankind has been accomplished. "I have completed the work assigned to Me (John 17:4)".

It was an expression of relief with a sense of achievement. We feel happy when we finish doing the work assigned to us. The work of redemption on the cross was for sinners of the past, present and future. No one could do it for us except the sinless Son of God Himself. It was like "I paid your debt in full".

Now the onus lies upon us. We can deny Him and His supreme sacrifice for us only at our own peril. The Lord expects us to say, "I too had finished repenting and confessing my sins, and have accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour".

7. "FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT (Luke 23:46):" This was a cry of victory. Our Lord left nothing undone in His effort to offer salvation to all mankind who would repent and accept Him as Lord . Eternal life was offered on a silver platter. Now, He can return to His Father with the soothing satisfaction of a job done perfectly.

Christ Himself spoke lucidly about His life in John 10:17 & 18, "The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father".

What an Authority? Those who are saved through Jesus can say to God, before they die, with the same authority and confidence, "Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit". If we will not have the boldness to say so, we still need to repent and confess our sins until we are upgraded to the spiritual level of assurance revealed by John Wesley, "My heart was strangely warmed".


* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on August 18 2022 .



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