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Summary: Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, the final word is our salvation.

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First Baptist Church

March 24, 2002

Luke 23:44-49

It was Palm Sunday and Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. He was riding on a blazing white stallion, kicking up a cloud of dust as He rode along. He was looking for trouble. The people He passed were in awe of such a beautiful animal but they were even more awestruck by the man who was riding it. As Jesus passed by, you could hear the people say,

"Who was that masked man?"

There were bad guys on the loose and Jesus had a job to do. As He rode into Jerusalem He quickly sized up the situation and formed a plan to capture the ring leader of the trouble makers. His name was Diablo, satan. There was a short fight, but the outcome was never in doubt, Jesus easily defeated Diablo. He handcuffed the devil and threw him in jail.

As a large crowd of people gathered to see what the commotion was all about, Jesus mounted His horse and pulled on the reigns. His pure white stallion stood on its hind legs, neighed loudly, and pawed the air with its front legs. When it stood as tall as it could stand, Jesus leaned forward in the saddle. Holding the reigns with one hand while lifting His white hat in the air with the other, He shouted with a loud voice, "Hi Ho Silver, the Lone Savior." As Jesus road off into the sunset, the music began to play softly and it got louder and louder. (Play the William Tell Overture). {Adapted from "Not the Lone Ranger, But the Lone Savior," by Roger Griffith}

Isn’t that how you would have done it if you were Jesus? That’s the way I would have done it. Well, maybe the Lone Ranger wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I could have been G.I. Joe or Rambo, maybe Superman, or Batman, maybe Batwoman. Maybe you would have been Wonder Woman or even the 6 Million Dollar Man or Bionic Woman. No matter who you would have been, it seems that there had to be an easier way to go about bringing salvation to the world and redeeming us from our sin, so that we could have forgiveness and life everlasting.

Today, we come to the end of the words of Jesus from the cross. For the past 6 weeks, we’ve journeyed together from the first words on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" — to the cry of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" We’ve experienced, as best as we can, what the cross was like for Jesus and why He said what He did.

Today, we look at the last word from the cross. Only Luke records these words from Jesus, "Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit."

As we have done for the past few weeks, let’s look at Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. For the Romans, it was all going according to plan. The three men were on their crosses at 9 AM, there were no inconveniences, other than a larger than normal crowd. It was larger for two reasons — 1st, people wanted to see what happened to this man who claimed to be the Savior, and 2nd, it was time to celebrate Passover and Jews would have made the journey into Jerusalem to celebrate. So, there would have been more people milling about the streets of Jerusalem. The Romans knew what they were doing, they wanted the Jews to witness their own being killed. The message would be loud and clear ~~ ‘Don’t mess with us.’

People were yelling at the man on the middle cross, Jesus, King of the Jews. They were cruel insults, not what you would normally shower upon a man who is dying a gruesome and excruciatingly painful death. All went according to plan until 12 noon, that’s when the lights, or the sun went out in Jerusalem. Nobody could understand it, but the sins of the world; past, present and future were being heaped upon Jesus. When the sun came back at 3 PM, Jesus was much closer to death than the other two criminals. After a few minutes, Jesus cried out "tetelestai," it is finished, it seemed that it was over. His chest was no longer heaving and then he called out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

What does this phrase mean? I wanted to break it down into sections, so we can have a greater appreciation for the last words of Jesus before His death. He begins be calling God, FATHER. Did you know that every time Jesus referred to God, He is Father, except when He was on the cross and cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" In fact, Jesus’ name for God was Father, He called God, Father almost 150 times, and often times referred to God as, "my Father" which would have been blasphemous for the Jewish people. They didn’t regard God in familiar terms, for God was not a personal God, as we often consider God today.

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