"Seven Last Sayings of Christ from the Cross"
Sermon shared by Jerry Depoy
Summary: These are some thoughts and instructions on how to have a special Easter Candle lighting Service in your Church based on the Seven Last Sayings of Christ from the Cross.
Audience: General adults
Our faith in Christ makes us one family. Although Mary was not the Mother of John the beloved, and John was not the earthly son of Mary, our faith in Christ unites us into one family.
Just a few days earlier, John had aspired to be at the right hand of Christ when he would be coming into his kingdom. Before that event could ever unfold, he was called upon to be at the right hand of the mother of Christ. We are reminded by Christ, that “whatsoever you to do for the least of the brethren, ye have done it as unto me.”
Christ was a loyal loving Son. Mary had already witnessed the death of her husband, now it would be the death of her eldest son. Christ would make provision for her. The Church needs to step forward and help those who are within its membership and need special attention and love. God has called upon all of us to become a family, to provide for one another.
The fruits of the Spirit demonstrated to us by Christ in this saying: Gentleness, and Goodness.
“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise” Luke 23:43
Meditation: Christ still is hanging in the middle. The two thieves represent all of humanity. People must decide on Christ. One day, Christ will divide people to the right and to the left. Those who have received him will be on the right hand side, and those who have rejected him will be on the left hand side. On which side will you be?
Note that both thieves had prayed. I think perhaps that all men have cried out to God at one time or another. But there is a difference between the prayer of repentance and the prayer for comfort. One thief prayed, “Remove me from the Cross.” The repentant thief prayed, “Lord, remember me in your kingdom.”
Something changed the heart of the dying repentant thief. At first both thieves were mocking on Christ. Both thieves had witnessed the same events. Both thieves were approximately the same distance from the crucified Christ, but only one repented.
Perhaps the repentant thief was touched by the prayer of Christ, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Perhaps it was the fact that he knew that his death was imminent.
Perhaps it was that he finally realized that the world was wrong about Christ, and that the world had no love for him, and that the no one and nothing in the world was trying to save him, nor could save him.
Perhaps it was that he saw the Mother of Christ at his feet, and John the beloved there too, and thought to himself, I have no one.
Perhaps he saw Pilate’s inscription over the head on Christ that read, “The King of the Jews.” Perhaps he suddenly believed that to be true, and therefore he cried, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Now note the response of Christ. What had the thief asked for? Let me paraphrase: “Lord, someday in the eons of time, when you are finally established on a throne in a yonder kingdom… I am sure that I will be in Hell, and I want you to have a passing thought about me. I do not want to be utterly forgotten.”
Now, consider the blessed promise of Christ to the repentant thief. “Today…” Not some where in the eons of eternity. “Shalt thou be with me…” Not me in Heaven and you in Hell. “In paradise…” Not only will I be sitting as a king and enjoying the desires of my heart, but you too will be seated with me on a
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