Have you seen the old western movies that depict vigilante groups or the “New Sheriff” in Town that finally catches up to an armed robber or a man of ill repute? They are prepared to kill the person and they ask him “Do you have any last words?”
This week, I would like to focus on Jesus’ last words. Here we are on a journey to the cross. We are specifically focusing on the last days of Christ in preparing our hearts and minds for Easter. We are to that each Sunday, but annually we choose to commemorate Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection each Easter. So, in anticipation of Easter we want to take a glimpse into Jesus’ life! So, it is, we are focusing on Jesus’ last words.
Jesus knew his death was imminent and soon. He prepared his disciples for the day when the ministry would be left solely up to them. But, let’s examine now some specific words that Jesus spoke:
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
On the cross, Jesus took our sins. He endured the most horrific form of torture and death because of the wrath for our sins and took our guilt upon him. He took our punishment, our guilt: past, present, and future. In these last words, he isn’t thinking about himself…he is thinking about everyone else and forgives them…us.
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
One of my favorite stories is the thief on the cross. There was a person on each side of Jesus each on a cross. Both of them were condemned to die for their mistakes in life. One of them chose to mimic Christ; while the other one recognized him as Christ. He asked for Jesus to remember him when he gets to heaven. So Christ told him “you will be with me”. Isn’t that a beautiful, accurate description of redemption?
“Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother’” John 19:26-27
Jesus witnesses his mother in the midst of grief. He shows her compassion by telling her that the disciples will take care of her. The church will take care of her. So, here Christ was thinking of his own mother in the midst of his own death. Jesus shows this type of compassion to us daily.
Here is the lesson for today: Here were three things Jesus said in his last days. Each of them focused on someone else! It would have been easy to simply focus on himself and his last days, but instead he showed compassion, forgiveness, and assured them of their salvation! He offers that to you today. Are you willing to accept Christ’s compassion, forgiveness and salvation?
I am a man on a journey...