Jesus was subjected to extreme pressures while he was suffering on the cross. There were seven sayings from the cross before he died. I would just like to look at three of those sayings.
The first I would like to consider is from Luke 23:34, in which Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is an amazing saying Jesus uttered at the beginning of his suffering on the cross. It may be that he said this while he was nailed to the cross. It would nevertheless have been heard by all who were close enough to hear when he said it.
It is absolutely amazing that Jesus would utter this prayer request on behalf of those who were crucifying him on that day. It shows his concern was for others’ needs, rather than his own. Jesus was allowing those who were sinners to crucify him. They had no legitimate reason for him to be crucified.
He was on the cross on account of our sins and this is what made it possible for him to utter “Father, forgive them.”
He was just beginning to suffer and it was his suffering that made it possible for us to be forgiven, as he cried.
It has been nearly 2,000 years since he uttered those words from the cross, but they are as effective now as they were then. We all have many concerns and burdens in our lives, but the greatest need we have is for God’s forgiveness. Paul in Acts 13:38 said, “Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.”
The next saying from the cross I want to consider is in Luke 23:43, where we read, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
This was said to a thief and murderer who was crucified alongside Jesus. There were actually two thieves who committed murder, but only one found forgiveness that day. The Lord promised he would meet the repentant thief in Paradise that very day. These words from Jesus were the only hope the thief had that day.
Anyone who would respond to Jesus in faith as their saviour could lay hold of this promise. Consider this verse in John 5:24: “He that hears my word and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life.”
The last saying I would like to look at is found in John 19:30. Jesus said, “It is finished,” which is one of the shortest strong of words of the Lord from the cross. But it is a saying that is full of meaning for us. If he hadn’t been able to utter, “It is finished,” there would be no hope for us for eternity.
John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This verse was said to a man who was a teacher in Israel, but like everyone else, he also needed to trust Jesus as his saviour.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he meant the work he was doing on the cross in suffering for our sins was finished — done.
John Eggers is an elder in the assembly that meets in Westsyde Gospel Hall in Kamloops. KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be about 700 words in length and include a headshot of the author, along with a short bio on the writer. Email email@example.com.