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Summary: Love of Christ towards enemies, criminal, family, God the Father, and us is witnessed in His seven final sayings while on the cross.

Great Love Witnessed in the Seven Sayings of Christ While On the Cross

by Thomas A. Gaskill

Good Friday Service, April 22, 2011

Slate Valley Baptist Church – Oxford, Kansas

[[Background: Agapao is one of the four main Greek verbs for love. It and derivatives of it are the most common Greek words translated as “love” in our English translations of the Greek New Testament. The writers of the New Testament needed a word to designate God's unique love and so they chose the word “agapao” due to its vague meaning in secular Greek; now it is a word specifically designating God's unconditional, benevolent, sacrificial, willful love towards His people; and in turn, His love flows through His people in love back to Him, neighbor, and self. Agape, which is a noun derivative of “agapao” is very rarely used outside of Biblical writings during the New Testament times.]]

Ill:When asked how much Jesus loves them, Jesus stretches his arms wide-open with nail pierced hands and says “this much!”

Intro: We will be seeing Christ's love for enemies, criminal, family, God, and us in His final seven saying while on the cross.

Def: Christ's great love is unconditional, benevolent, sacrificial, willful love

Jesus Christ, Son of Man, Son of God was betrayed into the hands of wicked men. He was tried and found guilty only of being innocent.

1.Luke 23:32-39 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. (33) When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left. (34) Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (35) The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." (36) The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar (37) and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself." (38) There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (39) One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

Loving His enemies

Christ's love for His enemies compels Him to pray

seeks enemies best interest by asking God to forgive them.

Forgiveness for beating him, plucking his beard, crowning him with thorns, flogging him, spitting on him, taking his garments and putting him to open shame, driving nails through his hands and feet and crucifying him with criminals, mocking him, gambling for his clothing, sneering at him, insulting him – all this even though He never did anything wrong, His entire life was without sin, good, righteous. His life was a life of pure love: he healed the sick, raised the dead back to life, gave hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind, cured the lepers, caused the lame to walk. All His teachings were done with love, nothing but love, love, love.

Love pities and seeks to help the ignorant

Christ command to love your enemies

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

A perfect example we find in Christ's love towards His torturers in the midst of His horrific sufferings

Jesus said "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." This was taken to heart by one of the two thieves crucified beside Him.

2.Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" (40) But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? (41) We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." (42) Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (43) Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

[In his commentary, John G. Butler makes the observation that by saying these words, Christ refuted three popular false doctrines: “Today” refutes purgatory, soul sleep, and baptismal regeneration.]

The greatness of Christ's love can be seen in:

Love towards a repentant criminal

Love witnessing righteousness to the sinful (Jesus' love for enemies was seen by thief)

Love listening to those who confess their sins

Love speaking to the sinful criminal

Love having mercy and saving sinners by grace

Love giving hope to the repentant

We also see that Christ's love:

does not turn away from those in their dying moments but remains

proves to be paradise

is the very presence of Christ Himself

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