THE 7 SAYING FROM THE CROSS

 

There are many lessons that can be taught about the cross, but for our lesson this morning we are going to examining the 7 things that Jesus said from the cross. Jesus death, burial and resurrection is what makes New Testament Christianity possible. It was through Jesus death and the shedding of His blood that it made possible for us to have the forgiveness of our sins. His blood reached back to the time of Adam and Eve and reaches forward until He comes again. We can see this from,

 

Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

 

If Jesus had not choose to give up His life for us on the cross and He had not been raised from the dead then all of us today would be without hope as Paul said,

 

1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up -- if in fact the dead do not rise.16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

 

When Jesus was on this earth, He was 100% human and 100% Deity. He experienced the same sufferings, emotions and temptations that we do. This is why when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, His emotions were overwhelming Him and causing Him to sweat great drops like blood. Jesus knew that He was going to have to experience agonizing pain, so that we could live. This was a great burden for one man to bear, but Jesus loved us enough that He was willing to die for us.

 

As Paul said,

 

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

 

When we think about all the suffering that Jesus endured for us, it makes it worse knowing that He didnít deserve any of it because He was perfect and He had no sin, but this was Godís plan all along, and He did it for us even though we did not deserve it.

 

After Jesus was arrested, He was falsely accused at an unlawful trial by the Jews at night. Then He was drug to Pilate, then sent to Herod and then back to Pilate. Pilate could not find anything Jesus did worthy of death and so He washed His hands of the matter and he allowed the Jews to make the decision. Jesus was scourged, which was such a brutal practice that sometimes the victim died from it. Jesus was beaten and mocked by soldiers and had thorny crown shoved down on His head. Not only was Jesus bleeding from His scourging, He would have been bleeding like crazy from the puncture wounds from the thorns. He was a bloody mess, no wonder He had to have help carrying His cross to His death.

 

Jesus was upon the cross for 6 painful hours from 9 am to 3 pm. His hands and His feet were nailed to the cross and He was raised up just as He said He would be in,

 

John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

 

He was put between two thieves and they mocked Him along with the others that were there watching this crucifixion. This brings us to Jesusí first saying.

 

Luke 23:33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.

 

Now think about this first saying. Jesus was praying for these people that they might be forgiven for what they were doing. Even though Jesus had went through more suffering and pain than most could bear and even though these Jews had earlier shouted, Crucify Him, Crucify Him! He was willing to pray for them. In doing this Jesus was practicing what He preached.

 

Matthew 5:43 " You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

 

Not only did He practice what He preached at this difficult moment, Isaiah prophesied that He would make intercession for these transgressors.

 

Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Jesusí prayer teaches us how much He wants us to be forgiven of our sins. Some Christians have the attitude that they hope they are saved, but friends we can know that we are saved and we can learn from this prayer of Jesus that God desires us to be saved. Notice what John said,

 

1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

 

If you donít learn anything else from this lesson this morning, I want you to understand that you can confidence in your salvation, and just as Jesus had demonstrated on the cross, His desire is that you be saved and have the forgiveness of your sins. God is not against us, He is for us.

 

When Jesus prayed for these peopleís forgiveness, Do you think they their sins were forgiven at that point without repentance on their part? Well, this question is answered when we read about the birth the church in Acts 2. The apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit and they begin to speak to the people in their own languages and they teach them about Jesus death, burial and resurrection and how many of them had a hand in crucifying their own Messiah.

 

Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Notice they were still in their sins because they had not been forgiven, but they found out what they must do to take care of their sins. They were told to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Peter tells us,

 

2 Peter 3:9 ††The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

 

While it Godís desire that we be saved and have our sins forgiven, our sins are not forgiven until we obey the gospel. God provided us salvation through Jesus. This is Godís part, but our part is obeying the gospel and living faithful lives according to Godís Word.

 

We can also learn from Jesusí forgiving spirit he had toward those who had done all these cruel things to Him show us how we should have a forgiving spirit toward those who sin against us. If they repent, we must be strong enough to forgive them and we must try to forget that sin so we can be reconciled with them and God. That is exactly what God does when we repent and confess our sins to Him.

 

Hebrews 8:12"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

 

The second think Jesus said from the cross is found in,

 

Luke 23:39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?41 "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

 

Again, this was prophesied by Isaiah in the passage we looked at earlier in Isa. 53:12.At first both of these thieves were mocking Jesus, but this one thief had a change of heart and He defended Jesus. Because the thief had a change of heart, Jesus assured Him that he would be in paradise with Him that day. Jesus had the authority to do this. This saying teaches us that when we die that we do not cease to exist. Yes, our life here on earth is over, but we begin a new life as we wait in paradise if we are Christians. If we are not Christians Jesus taught in the story of the rich man and Lazarus that we will be waiting in awful place of torment. Of course this entire area is called the Haden realm and it is the waiting place for all the souls that have passed on until the day of Judgment.

 

Again we learn from the story of the rich man and Lazarus and other Scriptures that we do not soul sleep because we are aware of surrounding whether it be comfort or torment is up to you because you can choose to serve God or not to serve Him. This saying should bring you great comfort, as Paul said,

 

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

 

Our next saying comes from,

 

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

Most of the time mothers will always stand by the childrenís side. Even when their sons or daughters have been involved in evil things and face many years in jail, they will still be there for them.

 

Mary had been given one the greatest honors given to a mother and that was to be the mother of the Son of God. She knew who Jesus was and she loved Him. She was not at the cross to mock Him and she was not ashamed of Him. We can only imagine how difficult for her to see her Son suffering upon the cross, wishing she could do something about it, but she could not. When Jesus was baby, Mary was told that this happen to Him,

 

Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against35 "(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

 

There is no doubt that Maryís soul had been pierced with a sword as she tried to take in all that Jesus was going through. Even though Jesus was is severe pain, He wanted to make sure that His mother was taken care of, so He asked John to do it. Again this shows how Jesus is always putting others before Himself. This is message that we are taught as well, because we are supposed to love one another care for one another because we are all brothers and sisters in the family of God. Jesus next saying comes from,

 

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

 

From noon until 3 p.m. there was darkness over all the land. But we can see that it is about the 9th hour (about 3 oíclock) that Jesus makes his fourth statement from the cross and it is directed to the Father. Even in this instance Jesus is quoting Scripture from,

 

Psalm 22:1 Ö My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

 

Out of all things that Jesus had to endure this was the hardest thing that He had ever had to deal with because this was the first time He had ever been separated from His Father. Sure the nails hurt and the physical pain was bad, but to be separated from the Father was worse. God had not forsaken His Son, but He did turn away from our sin the Jesus was being crucified for. I do not know when this separation began. It may have began with darkness that started at noon or could have happened at the last hour, but it really doesnít matter when it happened or long it happened because for Jesus, even 1 minute of separation from the Father would have been worse than everything He had went through so far.

 

This should teach us just how ugly sin is and how Jesus had to endure this separation from God all because of our sins. It should also teaches us how important it is that we do our best to keep sin out of our life because sin separates us from God. When we choose to willful sin after we have embraced Jesus death on the cross Heb. 6:6 describes this as crucifying the Lord all over again and,

 

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

 

Since Jesus was willing to endure this for us, it should encourage us to stay away from sin and respect and honor what He did for us on that cross.

 

Jesus fifth saying comes from,

 

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

 

Again, Jesus was fulfilling Scripture as can be seen in,

 

Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

 

Jesus had been through a lot a no doubt his mouth was as dry as a bone. Giving Him this drink was act of mercy that He accepted. The drink that was given to Him was the common drink for the Romans. Since Jesus was to high to reach they had to fill sponge with this mixture and hold it up to Jesus on a reed. This would give Jesus the moisture He needed to be able to continue His next two saying. The fact that Jesus was thirsty shows His humanity.

 

Next is Jesusí 6th statement from the cross,

 

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

From the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem until that very moment Jesus had been fulfilling hundreds of prophecies about Him and now He had done everything He could at this point to bring about our salvation and fulfill the prophecies about Him. Jesus had finished His work upon the earth and when He was raised from the dead He told His disciples,

 

Luke 24:44 "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 "And you are witnesses of these things.

 

Again this shows us how obedient Jesus was to the Father as He accomplished everything He was supposed to do and you I get to benefit from His perfection, and we are supposed do our best to follow in His footsteps.

 

Our final statement from the cross comes from,

 

Luke 23: 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last.

 

Matthew 27:51-54 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

 

In this final saying of Jesus, we can see that Jesus was in control of His life. As Jesus said,

 

John 10:17 "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.18 "No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."

 

Jesus did not have to have to die and if He wanted to he could have called on all angels of heaven to come and rescue Him, but He did not because He wanted to die for us. He even knew when He would die because as soon as He made this last statement His spirit left His body and He put His faith in the Father to take care of spirit.

 

This teaches us that when our spirit leaves our body we become physically dead and that our spirit returns back to the Lord. As Jesus was giving up His spirit to God, Matthew tells us that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom and there was a great earthquake that split the rocks and even some of those that had died were raised from the dead. As the earth cried out in response to Jesus death, it caused those soldiers to be afraid and they believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

 

Now if our story stopped here and Jesus just died on the cross, His death would just be another death added to thousands if not millions of others that have been crucified, but we know that on the third day after His death, which was Sunday morning, He was raised from the dead. Not only did He die for us, He showed us that He had power over death and if we follow Godís Word and live faithfully we can have confidence that our bodies will be resurrected and transformed into a glorious body like Jesusí body, and at the judgment day, we will be taken to heaven itself to spend eternity. As Jesus said,

 

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

 

While Jesus death is on the cross is tragic and sad and worth crying over at the same time it also something that we can rejoice over and be happy about because it truly shows the love of God, and our salvation would not be possible without it. So, I hope you will allow the message of the cross to sink in deep in your heart and to always remind what Jesus did for you so that you might be encouraged to live a faithful life until the day you die.