Summary: Biblical idioms are key to understanding the text. The "Green Tree" is a description of faithfulness and the Messiah.
Some Famous Last Words
Washington, George (1732-1799) "It is well, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go."
Adams, John (1735-1826) "Thomas Jefferson--still survives..." (4 July 1826. Jefferson died later the same day.)
Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826) "Is it the Fourth?" (4 July 1826)
Sedgwick, John (1813-1864) "Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." (In response to a suggestion that he should not show himself over the parapet during the Battle of the Wilderness.)
T.J. Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863) "Let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”
Some words live on!
• A lady who died in Kansas and on her tombstone were these words: "I told you I was sick."
• A man who owned a restaurant for years, and he was about to die. He had always been known for being stingy! As he laid on his bed, he began mumbling something. So the family leaned in to hear his final words. Very faintly he said, "Slice the ham thin," and then he died.
• A wealthy man who died and the family gathered together to hear the reading of his last will and testament. The family all sat in a circle trying to look sad as the attorney read the will. They were all anxious to learn what their portion of the pot would be. The attorney began reading, "I, Sam Jones, having made a large fortune, being of a sound mind and proper judgment, want to reveal to my family that I spent it all." Some words live on!
The final words of a person represent something about his or her character.
Yeshua (Jesus) reminds us in Matthew 12: 34, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
On the cross and on the way to the cross Yeshua speaks some powerful words.
I. The Fire
If your house is on fire, warm yourself by it. -Spanish Proverb
Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies, and more than 1000 other things. December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances. This particular evening spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in flames. Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile. Everything was destroyed. Edison was 67. With all his assets going up in a whoosh (although the damage exceeded two million dollars, the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof), would his spirit be broken?
The inventor’s 24-year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. "My heart ached for him," said Charles. "He was 67--no longer a young man--and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ’Charles, where’s your mother?’ When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ’Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.’" The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew." Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to deliver the first phonograph.
A. Fire in Prediction – John the Immerser
10”Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
B. Fire of Punishment – inflicted on Yeshua
1. To the Nation for its sins -- Jeremiah 21: 14, ‘But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings,” says the LORD; “ I will kindle a fire in its forest, and it shall devour all things around it.”
2. The Innocent Messiah for Guilty Men
3. The Lamb to the slaughter – Isaiah 53
C. Fire of Pain
1. Women Weeping – for Him
a. Saw him as an innocent son
b. Imagine the inner fortitude of Mary
2. Fire is coming to them – “Weep for yourselves”