Summary: The 7 sayings of Jesus from the cross in one sermon.
The 7 Sayings of Christ on the Cross
TEXT: Matthew 27:35-50 [READ AS COMMUNION MEDITATION BEFORE SERMON]
Illus. – In 1979 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and the doctor told Susan that he did not expect me to live more than six weeks. But my urologist and surgeon disagreed about what type of cancer I had, so they sent my results to a national diagnostic center and it took over 6 weeks to get the results.
By that time, I was supposed to be dead, but no words can express how relieved I was to learn that I actually had another, less aggressive type of cancer.
Well, that was 35 years ago, and still I’m around. But during those six weeks when I thought I was going to die, believe me, I said a lot of things that needed to be said. I got a cassette tape recorder (yes, we had such “advanced” devices back then), and recorded for Chris, who was just a toddler at the time, my dreams and goals for him and what I wanted him to remember to grow up into a godly, successful man and how very much I loved him. I voiced my love to Susan and told her how she had enriched and blessed me. I called friends and family members and shared my love and appreciation for their contribution in my life. All the most important things, what was in my heart, my feelings, and what was important to me came out during those dark days.
So it is with the words of Jesus on the cross.
The four Gospels record seven sayings of Christ on the cross. You might think they’re simply the normal responses of a dying man, and if you thought that, you would be wrong. In fact, each saying is pregnant with special personal and theological meaning and significance. They’re like a recording of Jesus’s heart, leaving a record that teaches us how He feels about us; what He meant to accomplish on the cross and what is important to Him.
Let’s examine the seven saying of the cross today and see what Jesus is saying to you.
I. IN THE FIRST SAYING ON THE CROSS, JESUS’S WORDS TEACH THAT HE WILL FORGIVE YOU ALL YOUR SINS, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ARE.
After nailing Jesus on the cross, Luke tells us in “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do...” (Luke 23:34)
It’s remarkable that Jesus said this after they had nailed Him to the cross—and yet He did. But WHEN He said it is not as remarkable as WHOM He said it ABOUT. Jesus was asking forgiveness for JUDAS, who had betrayed Him; for HEROD and PILOT who had been derelict in their duty; for THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS who had plotted Jesus’s execution; for THE CENTURIONS who had scourged Him, mocked Him, rammed a crown of thorns into His head, nailed him to the cross and cast lots for his clothing; and for EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD in that crowd who had shouted in a frenzy, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Jesus was not only willing to forgive all those who crucified him and participated in the wicked deed, He was EAGER to forgive them, for JUST after they put Him on the cross, THE VERY FIRST WORDS that come from His lips are words for their forgiveness.
Some people live under a cloud of guilt because they think that some sin they’ve committed is just too bad, too heinous, too wicked, or too depraved for God to forgive. But what sin could be worse; what crime more heinous; what choice more wicked; what act more depraved than crucifying the sinless, innocent Son of God? The whole point of the cross was to take away the guilt and stain of ALL our sin, no matter how bad and no matter how many cumulative sins you have done. John put it this way, “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin.” (1 John 1:7)
If you’re here this morning struggling with a weight of guilt for some sin or a lifestyle of sin in your past, there is peace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
II. THE SECOND SAYING OF JESUS ON THE CROSS TEACHES THAT JESUS WILL SAVE ANYONE WHO IN FAITH ASKS.
The Bible says many in the crowd mocked and taunted Jesus. But there was another drama playing out up on the three crosses above the crowd. Two thieves were also crucified with Jesus, one on His left and one on His right. The one on the left began to mock him as well, and at one point said, “If you’re really the Christ [that is, the Messiah], save yourself and us too.” But the other thief rebuked him, pointing out that they deserved their punishment, but that Jesus had done nothing wrong.