Summary: A summary of how the gospel is presented in the seven sayings Christ uttered from the Cross.
a. Learning how to listen for and hear God, understanding His instructions for and to us, and learning how to apply them in our lives is not unlike learning a craft or a skill and honing from apprentice to journeyman to master level.
(1) It requires a desire to never be satisfied with your best to date.
(2) It requires a determination to always excel, always competing with yourself.
(3) And, it requires focus. Not giving your study and time with Christ the depth it requires, just might cause you to miss a pearl He has prepared just for you.
b. Opening Illustration:
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.
The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They talked among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.
Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”
The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”
The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.” (courtesy of Kent Kessler, Profound Ministries taken from www.sermoncentral.com)
c. Today I want to begin a series based on a topic that is usually reserved for Good Friday devotionals, the last seven things Christ said from the cross.
(1) Because they are not recorded in one gospel, we don’t know the exact order in which they were spoken.
(2) But, we can see in them an obvious progression of God’s will and purpose for the mankind’s redemption. They like a Reader’s Digest extremely abridged version of gospel.
(3) They are significant because even in the pain and suffering of His physical death, He was still focused on us and was still the consummate teacher.
2. The first three words
a. The first three were uttered between the 3rd and 6th hours (9 a.m.-12 noon).
b. They asked for forgiveness and established fellowship with God, provided an assurance for our future, and dictated familial responsibility.
c. Forgiveness and fellowship.
(1) In the first words of the cross, we find forgiveness and fellowship—one obvious, the other not so obvious.
(2) Read Luke 23:34a—And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
(3) We know that Jesus came specifically to seek out and forgive sinners. Luke records this purpose in Jesus’ own words 19:10, where Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
(4) While this statement was focused specifically on the Romans who were crucifying Him, it was equally applicable to all He encountered both before and after his death and resurrection.
(5) Even if they did not or do not have a full recognition of what they were or are forgiveness is still needed.
(6) It was specifically because of His sacrificial death that fellowship enters the picture. Before this historic event, man could not have fellowship with His God; not even his high priest could enjoy that privilege.
(7) But through His cleansing blood and His intercession on our behalf requesting forgiveness, we as sinners can make God our Father and have fellowship with Him 24/7/365 until Jesus comes to take us home. (John 1:12)
d. Assurance for the future.
(1) Because of the next important thing Christ said, we have an assurance of our future, its relative timeline, and its location.
(2) Read Luke 23:43—And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”