Summary: THe last words of Jesus on the cross and the first words at the Resurrection bring the Gospel in all its essence.
Sounds of the Crucifixion Sounds of the Resurrection
I am told there are a lot of books on the last words for Jesus. I will focus on these briefly and then move to the first words spoken by Jesus at the Resurrection.
In John Masefield’s drama The Trial of Jesus, there is a striking passage in which the Roman centurion in command of the soldiers of the cross comes back to Pilate to hand in his report of the day’s work. After the report is given, Pilate’s wife beckons to the centurion and begs him to tell how the prisoner died. When the story had been told, she suddenly asks, "Do you think He is dead?" "No, lady" answers the centurion, "I don’t." "Then where is He?" to which the Roman replies, "Let loose in the world, lady, where no one can stop His truth." The gospel of the crucifixion and resurrection are an indisputable fact, an indispensable faith, and an irresistible force.
In movies about the Life of Jesus, most bring out the drama of the crucifixion with little reference or almost anti-climatical reference to the resurrection. Today we will take the climax and move it forward.
The Last Words of Christ (Luke 23:34ff)
1. The first Statement is a statement of forgiveness.
a. Father Forgive them they do not know what they are doing. (v34)
b. This was not just for the crowd at the Cross that day it was for all those from the time of the Fall in the Garden of Eden to the time Jesus comes again.
c. The Cross was a symbol of death, but for the Christian it is a symbol of Forgiveness and Mercy.
2. Statement 2 v43 "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
a. It is a statement of Promise to all who are repentant.
b. “you” makes this statement personal
c. “with me” is a personal guarantee
d. “paradise” a place of peace and rest.
Whatever Paradise is, wherever it is, does not matter. What does matter is that it is the place where Jesus is, and that is where I want to be.
3. Statement 3 “It is Finished”
a. A statement of completion.
b. On the Cross Jesus fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the Law and God’s Mercy.
But, that was the Cross, that was Friday, SUNDAY HAS COME.
Now we will look at the first words of Jesus at the Resurrection.
1. The sounds of the Resurrection (John 20:1ff)
a. Why are you crying (15)
I wonder if there is not some symbolism intended here. It was a question to a woman in the Garden that ushered sin into the world, and now it is the same one questioning a woman, “Why are you crying?” I am sure there have been generations of tears shed waiting for that moment, waiting for salvation to come to the world, waiting for the Messiah. Now, she wonders, she cries, she did not know that the Empty Tomb meant that Jesus had conquered death. With his life, a sinless life, he conquered sin, now with the Resurrection he conquered death.
b. Rev 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Mary did not recognize the Lord. Perhaps it was her tears. Maybe it was the time of day. It could have been the clothes of that day which had a hood for sun, wind, and weather.
It probably was because she was not looking for Him.
2. Mary (v16)
a. A personal call, just like the promise on the Cross this call is personal.
b. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, he knows his sheep and his sheep know him.
JN 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
c. Instantly she recognizes him, by his voice. It is the Voice of the Good Shepherd.
3. Go tell (v17)
a. We were never meant to keep it to ourselves.