Summary: By looking at the last phrases used by Jesus we get a better grasp of who he was.
The Cross: It’s Words
Thesis: Every person can take a more balanced view of their life by understanding the last phrases of Jesus.
In his book, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Max Lucado tells the story of his dad discovering he had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dad always wanted to be buried under an oak tree. One of the first things he did was to special order an oak tree from the local nursery. Oak trees are not common in the oil fields of Texas, so it was something special. That just the first of many things to get prepared.
He made sure that his will and his insurance were all up to date and accurate. He also made sure that everything in his house was ready for his spouse after he was gone. He purchased stock to be given to his grandchildren after he was gone.
Each of these actions gives us a glimpse into this man’s life. They let us see the things that are important to him. They give us a view of the kind of person he was. As we look at Jesus in these days approaching Easter I want to look at the words and actions of Jesus, and I know we will go away with a better understanding of that man.
Today I want to take a look at some of the last phrases uttered by Jesus as he hung on the cross. There are more than I had time to cover today, so I will just pick out a few. As we examine these phrases and the meaning behind them, we will be able to better understand who Jesus was and why he would want to have a relationship with you or me.
Phrases I. Father forgive. Luke 23:34
A. The scene here is an ugly one. The people are throwing insults at Jesus, which are intended to hurt. In v. 35 they yell, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One." These were things which were intended to hurt, and for me it hurts to see these people throwing insults at the man who is giving up his life to save others. It makes me want to yell back at them, don’t you see what this man is doing. You need to shut your mouths. I can’t be there so I just hear the insults. The people, the rulers, and the soldiers, all hurled insults at Jesus. These were words that were intended to hurt.
B. When I look at what happened there, I have to compare it with people who kill people for no reason. One of the most difficult things about the World Trade Center attacks was that it was a military attack on non-military targets. There were innocent people going to work in those buildings. They were not people who were plotting to overthrow a country. Innocent people were killed for no apparent reason.
C. The same thing is happening to Jesus, but his response is not of this world, because Jesus says, "Father, forgive them.” While everything points to Jesus being justified at a shot at revenge, he instead demonstrates love. It really makes my wounds seem pretty insignificant.
Phrase II. They don’t know. Luke 23:34
A. When Bernard Hugo Goetz gunned down three muggers in a New York sub-way he became an instant hero. Confusing to many was the trial of this man. There were thousands of dollars raised for his defense at the trial. He was a hero, because he had done what everyone else was afraid to do. He kicked the bully in the shins and lived to tell about it.
B. It seems to me that revenge is build to a large extent on our anger. Mr. Goetz probably had a lot of things, which had come together in his life which lead to him being able to react in this way and become a hero. Look at your life. You get up in the morning late because your alarm did not go off. You toast burns and the coffee is not ready when you leave. You get behind some slow drivers on the way to work. When you finally get to work your boss chews you out for being late. This is just in the first two hours of your day. You are in a prime position to get revenge.
C. Now lets look at it from Jesus’ perspective. Jesus says, “they do not know what they are doing." Jesus did not look at these people as the bad guys, but he saw them more as the victims. He saw in them confusion, not hatred. Even at a time when we see a savior who has every right in the world to take revenge, instead that is overcome by love.