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Summary: Easter

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SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS (LUKE 23:34)

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) “Dear woman, here is your son. Here is your mother.” (John 19:26–27) My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34) “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) “It is finished.” (John 19:30) “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

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Do you want to leave a “legend,” or do you want to leave a legacy in life? What’s the difference? Here are some quotes:

“Legacy is what you leave or pass down to those who follow you.”

“Your legacy is what you leave and how you will be remembered.”

“Your real legacy is what you give the world as opposed to what you leave the world.”

“Your legacy is what you do everyday. “ (Maya Angelou)

“Legacy is what you will be remembered by.”

“An inheritance is what you leave with people. A legacy is what you leave in them.” (Craig D. Lounsbrough)

“A legacy is what you leave in someone.” (Mark Batterson)

Simply put, a legend is about the person; a legacy is for others.

There is no selfishness, strife or self-interest in Jesus even to His death. The seven last words of Jesus on the cross are powerful, passionate and pastoral themes and meditations meant for believers and readers not just for Easter but every day.

What legacy did Jesus leave in us? What do the words of Jesus on the cross mean to you? How does His attitude in life and death impact us? Why are these sayings more than mere expressions, but meaningful examples in living?

1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

A girl was asked what forgiveness is. She gave the following beautiful answer: “It is the odor the flowers give off when they are trampled upon.”

The first saying of Jesus on the cross reveals how he treated those who mistreated Him. To a world that injured and insulted Him, He offered forgiveness. It was meant for offenders, officials and onlookers, the sinners, soldiers and spectators, the vocal, the vile and the violent who crucified and condemned him to the cross. “Forgive” (v 34) is in the almighty and authoritative imperative mood, with no room for doubt, debate or delay – the only imperative in the seven sayings. The same word is translated as leave (Matt 4:11), send away (Matt 13:36), forsake (Matt 19:27), omit (Matt 23:23), yield up (Matt 27:50) and lay aside (Mark 7:8). Desmond Tutu said, Forgiveness is abandoning the right to revenge.” Forgiveness is an attitude, an act and an aptitude. In forgiveness we, first of all, appeal to the Father’s attribute and not answer with our ability.

Forgiveness comes from a valid and virtuous and not a vague and vacant reason. The reason given is because the offenders do not know they are doing. Properly, the verb “know” is in the perfect tense, which means not knowing from time past to the present. The first word from Jesus’ lips and mouth was His Father and the offenders, and not Himself.

2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

The word “paradise” means a park, forest or orchard. When the Old Testament was translated to Greek for the Septuagint, the phrase “God planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Gen 2:8) is translated as “God planted a paradise…”

Paradise is a place of perfect, permanent and pleasant rest. Like the old garden of Eden, the environment is scenic, serene and sweet, with no fear or foul, death or disease, grieving or groaning. In paradise man’s sins are not remembered or revisited. In the midst of paradise is the tree of life,

The paradise the thief refers to is the kingdom of God in the previous verse. The phrase “the kingdom of God” occurs the most in Luke - 32 times in Luke, 15 times in Mark, five in Matthew and twice in John. That much we know about the kingdom of God. It is meant for the believing, the blessed and the beloved. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Further, the poor and those who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God are blessed (Luke 6:20, 14:15). The King will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). Those unworthy beloved include those who are last (Luke 13:30), least (Luke 7:28), the poor (Luke 6:20), little children (Luke 18:16), publicans and the harlots (Matt 21:31).

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