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.
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 throne enjoying the pleasures at the right hand of God! Wow… Amazing Grace!
The fruit of the spirit: Joy.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”
Meditation: The sin of the world was now placed upon Christ. Jesus had become “sin for us.” The Father was of too pure eyes to behold sin. He, and all of Heaven, had to look away.
Remember the story of Noah. After the flood, and when the earth had settled again, Noah planted a vineyard. He got drunk and was naked in his tent. His son, Ham, laughed and mocked his Father. Shem and Japheth, honored their father by walking backwards with a blanket to cover their Father’s nakedness. That is what God the Father was doing in this text. Our sins were being covered by the blood of Christ.
This cry from Christ from the cross exemplifies every lost man’s cry as he goes out into a Christless eternity. Those in Hell will be forsaken by God. That is what will make Hell Hell.
Note that Christ could not call upon God as “Father,” in the text. The lost man has no relationship to God. Christ had indeed become sin for us!
The fruit of the Spirit revealed in this saying: Longsuffering.
Meditation: The first thing that the rich man in hell cried for was a drop of water to cool his tongue. Christ hung on that Christ. In the suffering of his humanity he cried “I thirst.”
There is a song that has been written that highlights the truth of this saying. The chorus of the song goes, “He said I thirst, yet he made the rivers, He said I thirst, yet he made the seas, I thirst, cried the king of all ages. In his great thirst, he brought waters to me.”
Not only did Christ cry, “I thirst,” because he was thirsty. The context of the verse implies that he said the words because he wanted to be sure to fulfill the scriptures! It had been written that he would be given gall and vinegar to drink. Jesus was in total control. He knew the purpose his death. By fulfilling all of the scriptures about him, above his desire for water, Christ had a desire to please his Father.
The fruit of the Spirit revealed in this saying: Temperance.
“It is finished”
Meditation: Christ had now fulfilled all that he came to this earth to do. His mission to world was complete. Mankind now had a Savior. Jesus had removed the curse of law by taking the penalty of the curse for us on the cross.
“It is finished,” could also be rendered, “Devil, you are finished!” It is true that Satan had bruised the heel of Christ, but, by means of the cross, Christ had stepped on the head the snake!
“It is finished,” could also be rendered, “Paid in full.” Jesus stood at the courts of heaven and declared that mankind’s atonement price of redemption was now paid in full.