Summary: Lessons we can learn from Jesus’ final words on the cross.
Intro>D. M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you speak of the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus as our teacher and our example.” Dr. Stearns replied, “So you think that if we presented Christ that way, as a teacher and example, that you would be better able to follow Him?” “I certainly word,” the man responded. Dr. Stearns told him, “All right then, let’s take the first step: Jesus did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?” The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin.” Dr. Stearns then told him, “Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not just as an example!”
-The good news for us is that Jesus provided us with both a great example and at the same time taught some of His greatest lessons while He was dying for us...teaching us with His final words...His words spoken from the cross.
-Today, in the conclusion of a message we began last week, I want us to look at the final words, the final statements of Jesus, statements spoken while He was on the cross.
-I want to ask you to open a Bible and turn to a passage you might find a little strange, considering we’re looking at a New Testament event...I want you to turn to Psalm 22.
-In each of the four statements we’ll examine today, we’ll discover there was an irony.
-We‘ll also see how many did or do misunderstand the words He spoke.
-And we’ll focus our attention on some practical applications of His words in our lives.
<>Let’s look at Jesus’ final words...
1) WORDS OF AFFIRMATION.
--Mk.15:33-34 -- "And when the sixth hour (noon) had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour (3pm). And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ’Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ’MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’”
->The irony: Here we see God the Son somehow being separated from God the Father!
--Do I understand all of that? No. However, when we understand what was really going on, we’ll see that His statement was actually about something else.
->His actual words: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani,” which is Aramaic, meaning “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
->The misunderstanding: Some in the crowd were thinking maybe Elijah was about to show up...again confusing the Messiah’s second coming with His first.
--In fact, on the night before the Jews had celebrated the Passover meal, which involved at the beginning sending out a young male child to check and see if Elijah was showing up.
--So, they had Elijah on their minds to start with.
->But the true meaning of His words was something else: It’s BIBLE STUDY TIME!
--You see, long before the Guttenberg press had been invented, enabling the mass printing of books, particularly the Bible, the Biblical scrolls were hand-written, copied by scribes.
---It was a long, painstaking achievement.
--Consequently, almost nobody owned their own copy of any of the books of the Bible.
---Even the synagogues were in possession of only the Torah (the first 5 books) and perhaps a scroll of Isaiah, and maybe one of the Psalms.
--So, the Jewish boys memorized the entire Old Testament (which was the whole Bible of their day, since the New Testament hadn’t been written before Jesus’ coming to the earth as Messiah).
--And, when it came time to study the Bible, the teacher would call out a passage of Scripture, as a starting place, and then the rest of the folks would begin reciting out loud the verses that followed where the teacher had begun.
--That’s what Jesus was doing here!**
->Look at Psalm 22.
--How does it begin?... "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
<>Jesus was affirming His identity as the One sent from God...the Anointed One...the Messiah.
--But He was teaching the crowd how He was fulfilling the prophecies of Psalm 22...a prophetic psalm about the Suffering Servant.
--He was calling out the beginning of the chapter and asking them to use their eyes and see how what was going on around them that day was proof, an affirmation that Jesus was indeed the One sent from God the Father.
<>Look at what Psalm 22 describes...
--v. 7 -- "All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, ’Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in Him.’"
---The crowd was jeering Jesus, saying, “If You’re really the Messiah, come on down from there! If God is really pleased with You, let Him now deliver you!” Even the thief on Jesus’ left was saying, “If You are the Messiah, deliver Yourself, and us too.”