Summary: Discover Jesus’ true understanding of God and mankind through His last words on the cross (A Good Friday Devotional)
Words from a dying man can be fearful, resentful or senile, but rarely confident. These last words from the lips of Jesus were confident.
These words reflect a true understanding of God and mankind. With such understanding Jesus responded confidently on the cross.
Jesus said in Luke 23:24, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
We need to recognize that people don’t know altogether what they are doing. There is a spirit of deception where sin is present. The husband who thought he won the argument lost intimacy with his wife. The person who hurt you has hurt herself and her relationship with God. People badly need forgiveness from God, but few people know this.
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
In Luke 23:43, Jesus said to the thief who was also crucified, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
A story is told of a thief who robbed John Wesley. While the thief walked away, Wesley shouted, "If you should someday come to your senses and know what you have done is wrong, turn to God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ." If we have the promise of Heaven, because we belong to Jesus, then every situation in our lives is an opportunity to bring others into Heaven with us.
"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
John 19:26 records, "When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ’Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ’Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."
Someone has said, "Family is the place where they won’t kick you out." But the families in America are breaking apart due to divorce, abuse and absent fathers and mothers who chose selfish ambitions over responsible integrity.
The church, the gathering of believers, is God redeeming family. When you’ve been caste out in life, God’s church is "the place where you won’t be kicked out."
"Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ’Here is your mother."
Matthew 27:46 records Jesus’ loud cry on the cross, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
These words from Jesus tells us that whatever we’re going through, God is aware, and if He chose to, He could have changed the outcome. Therefore, direct your questions to God, but know that you can trust His goodness and righteousness. We see only a day at a time. God sees the whole picture. He will do what is good and right.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
John 19:28 records, "Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ’I am thirsty.’"
To confess need, weakness or injury opens up our heart for God to heal. Resentment and anger says, "I’ll get even," or "God doesn’t care." But a hopeful and trusting person confesses his need and weakness to God.
"I am thirsty."
John 19:30 continues, "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished."
If you belong to Jesus, you will have the resources and resolve to deal with the trials in your life. Tough times are temporary; God’s people are eternal. Most people give into circumstances or temptations, not because they lack resources, but because they lack resolve; they gave up too soon. We can finish and finish well.
"It is finished."
Finally, Luke 23:46 records, "Jesus called out with a loud voice, ’Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last."
We have not lost if we know in Whose hands we are held. Whether stripped of our possessions, reputation, physical or mental health, we need not be anxious, because our lives are not like dry leaves, blown and tossed by the wind. We are lovingly and eternally held in our Father’s hands.
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
These final words of Jesus offer eternal confidence and eternal relationship. There is the promise of forgiveness, the promise of Heaven, the promise of family, the promise of God’s watchfulness, the promise of resources and resolve, and the promise of God’s sovereign care.