As we are now getting closer to the Easter weekend I hope that you are starting to reflect on the cross and how it has (hopefully) changed your life.
The cross brought us salvation and many lessons to live our lives out daily. At First Assembly we have been looking at the sayings of the cross, meaning the last words that Jesus spoke on the cross before he willingly gave up his life.
In this article I want to revisit those words to bring us comfort, conviction and hopefully change if there needs to be.
When Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” the words of forgiveness rang out for all to hear and to see.
It wasn’t that he was asking for God to forgive He was showing them what it looked like. Those words are the lifestyle that we should live by today, forgiving when we have all the right not to. Jesus could have said, “Father forget this, kill them all,” but instead he chose to forgive even when the words they were hurling at him hurt just as much as the nails in his body.
When Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” to the thief next to him it showed us the hope of salvation. At a critical point in time when all they could think about was how much pain they were in they still found time to talk to Jesus.
One decided to join the crowd and mock Jesus but one chose to find salvation. This should show us that in all that we have done we are still not too far from Jesus, we’ve not gone to far from the love of God.
It also should show us that even in Jesus’ time of distress he still found time to share the gospel. We have no excuse as Christians to live in this world today and not find time to talk to others about Jesus, or even live out a life of love and compassion in front of others. Jesus knew the consequences of a life without him and we do too, so we must do all that we can to share the gospel with everyone. When Jesus said, “Mother this is your son,” it was customary in those days for the oldest son to care for the mother when the father had past away. Jesus was taking care of his house before he was to leave his family here alone.
It still boggles my mind that Jesus found time to talk to people and think about future events. The amount of pain that he has to be in was unbearable at the least but in his own words, “I have come to serve and not to be served,” echoes out as he still thought of others on the cross rather than focusing on his pain. Through this we see love and compassion being shown here, 1 Corinthians 13 stands out to me here. When Jesus said, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
The feeling of abandonment is all too familiar to us. There have been times I’m sure that you have wondered: “God where are you?”
When Jesus was on the cross I believe that he; being fully God and fully man, had a direct view of heaven that day and when he looked up at the moment he needed his father the most, all he could see was his back.
I think if it would have been me I would have reacted the same way, yelling and screaming to get at least a reaction and at most some action.
Jesus knew all too well how that abandonment felt and I believe that is why he told his disciples before he left, “I will be with you forever.”
When Jesus said, “I thirst,” it was to fulfill scripture. I don’t think he was really thirsty. He told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank from his well she would never thirst again. So how can he thirst if he is everlasting water?
He did it to fulfill scripture, but what well are you drinking from?
If we will never thirst from his well again we need to change the source of where our thirst is being quenched. If you would like to hear about the other two join me this week at First Assembly, Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
We must begin to live on purpose and our job here on earth is to share the gospel with all, so let’s do that!
Jeffrey Bryant is Lead Pastor at Clinton First Assembly.