Summary: The final sermon in a series on the seven sayings of Christ from the cross.
You are not really prepared to live unless you are prepared to die. Death is inevitable. It is an appointment, and only God knows the hour. That is why it is wonderful to be a Christian. You can have confidence in life because you are ready for death.
In these verses, we learn how our Lord faced death.
1. Jesus faced death confidently.
How was he able to do so?
A. Because He had the Father’s presence.
Three times, Jesus addressed the Father:
1) “Father, forgive them.”
2) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
3) “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
The second cry was made at a time of broken fellowship with the father due to our sins being poured out upon our Lord. But, having paid the price for our sins, fellowship with the father was restored, and Jesus had the father’s presence with Him as he faced His death. So, at the beginning and at the end of his ordeal, Jesus had His Father’s presence.
It was His Father’s presence that sustained Him through-out His life and that strengthened Him in His death.
During his life time, the word "Father" was often on our Lord’s lips. When He was 12 years old, He said, "Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?" In the Ser¬mon on the Mount, He used the word "Father" more than 15 times. In the upper room discourse and in His high-priestly prayer (John 17) our Lord talked about the Father many times. He died confidently as He had lived, with His Father’s presence.
One of the wonderful promises that is made to everyone who gives their life to Christ is that God is with us, never to leave us.
“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” - Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
“[God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]” - Hebrews 13:5 (Amplified)
It is no wonder that the angel told Mary that the child born to her would be called “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us!” For when one receives Christ as their Savior, they are blessed with the presence of the Father that will sustain them in life and in death.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer left his pastorate in London in 1935 to return to Germany as the head of the Confessing Church Seminary. When the Nazis rose to power, he returned to the United States in 1939, but the move was short-lived. He called it a "mis¬take."
Bonhoeffer returned to Germany once again and was soon imprisoned under the Nazi regime. Conditions in prison were horrible and the inmates were not allowed to speak. However, their code signifying "God With Us" was three taps on the wall.
On April 9, 1945, Dietrich was escorted to the gallows for hanging. As he was, the entire prison body responded with a thunderous "three taps" in rapid succession. God is with us.
Jesus faced death confidently because he had the Father’s presence, and . . .
B. Because He had the Father’s Promise.
Jesus claimed this promise in facing death, knowing that though He would succumb to death, He would, nevertheless, be vindicated as by being raised to life!
All three of the prayers from the cross are tied to Scripture. When Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34), He was fulfilling Isaiah 53:12: "He . . . made intercession for the transgressors." When He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" (Matt. 27:46), He was quoting Psalm 22:1. When He said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46), He fulfilled Psalm 31:5.
Jesus lived by God’s Word and He died by God’s Word. We can do the same. You can rely on the promises of God!
Jesus faced death confidently because he had the Father’s presence, the father’s promise, and . . .
C. Because He had the Father’s Protection.
For many hours, Jesus had been in the hands of sinners. The hands of sinners took hold of Him and bound Him. The hands of sinners beat Him. The hands of sinners stripped him. The hands of sinners put a crown of thorns upon His head. The hands of sinners nailed him to a cross.
But at the conclusion of His work, Jesus was no longer in the hands of sinners; He was in His Father’s hands. We note again what was prophesied in Psalm 31: