Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person and how they lived their life by listening to their dying words. Some speak words of peace. Others curse.
“I’m so bored with it all.” Winston Churchill. He slipped into a coma, and died 9 days later.
“I have tried so hard to do right.” Grover Cleveland
“Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” Joan Crawford
“I’m not the least afraid to die.” Charles Darwin
“I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.” George Washington
Jesus, after He was nailed to the cross, spoke three sentences before He died. Can I just tell you how much I’ve been thinking about what He said? His words were written down for every generation to hear.
© Photographer Cheryl Kunde | Agency: Dreamstime.com
After they nailed his wrists down, and pounded his feet to the wood, the centurions then swung the entire crossbeam up, probably inserting the wood into a dug out slot for just this purpose. Crucifixion was not a rarety. The words that came out of this particular man were. His words give just one more reason for those who do not believe Jesus was God’s son, to possibly think again.
He had been beaten.
He was flogged.
A crown of thorns.
His beard ripped out.
Luke 23 verse 34. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Then they divided His garments.
They cast lots for them.
The people watched.
The rulers sneered.
They all said, “Let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”
The soldiers mocked Him.
They offered Him sour wine.
For the second time, they said, “If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
They wrote the inscription and posted it above His head. ‘KING OF THE JEWS’
If you were not the son of God, wouldn’t you scream, “Alright, enough! Just kidding! I’m totally fooling you guys…now get me down. I’m really uncomfortable! I don’t wanna diiiieeeeee!”
But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” Let that run through your mind a moment. No one other than God would have said ‘forgive them.’ No one.
One of the criminals being crucified, and hanging next to Jesus blasphemed Him and said, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.”
It was the third time someone had mentioned that. Apparently to prove deity, Jesus needed to prove it the way they wanted it to be proved.
But the other criminal, on the other side, answered with a rebuke. I’m paraphrasing here. ” Do you not even fear God, seeing you are dying here too?! And at least we deserve it for what we’ve done, but He hasn’t done anything wrong. Hey, Jesus, please remember me when you get to your kingdom.”
Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
Even though it was noon, darkness covered the earth for a few hours. The 10 inch thick veil in the Jewish temple was miraculously torn in two from the top.
There was an earthquake, and the rocks split.
And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.”
Having said this, He breathed His last.
There are three things that were said. I also believe these three things can point us to what’s important to God.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
First off, Jesus yearns to forgive you. Your sin separates you from a holy God. Jesus’ death bridges that gap. His blood covers anything you’ve ever said, and everything you’ve ever done. He loves you passionately.
“Today, you’ll be with me in paradise.” The next point I want to highlight is evangelism. Your words and mine affect the guy next to you. Live to shine your light before others. You don’t know when you’ll have the privilege to lead someone closer to the door of heaven; Jesus Christ Himself. Have grace, forgiveness, and love for every single person who crosses your path. Live like Jesus.
“Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Lastly, Jesus surrenders to the Father. We need to do the same. Trust God that He always has your best interest in mind. Lean not on your own understanding. He has your back. He made you, and keeps every tear. He has each one of your days mapped out, and written down already. He knows what you need. Trust. Surrender.