Summary: Said a Wise preacher that the seven “utterances” (kindly note, not “words”) of the Saviour on the Cross reminded him of a seven pearl lustrous necklace, woven around the common thread of Christ’s passion! Why not, for therein our Lord who had all along sh
THE “SEVEN” PEARL NECKLACE
Said a Wise preacher that the seven “utterances” (kindly note, not “words”) of the Saviour on the Cross reminded him of a seven pearl lustrous necklace, woven around the common thread of Christ’s passion! Why not, for therein our Lord who had all along shown, how we ought to live was also a showing a way to die AND HOW!!!
In this Sermon, I intend to cast light on these “Seven utterances” (mind you 7 in the Biblical parlance denotes a complete number) of Jesus’ on the cross, which were eloquent sermons in themselves.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."…-Luke 23:33-34
There are three dimensions to the first utterance on the cross, steeped in spiritual import
All along Jesus’ had preached a loving disposition towards his enemies (Matt 5:43-45), now could his demeanor be any different on the Cross? So there he was, at a time when any in his place, could have bitterly railed at his transgressors interceding for them. Stephen, the first martyr was also very much walking in his Master’s steps when in his final moments, he besought the forgiveness of his killers (Acts 7:60).
Jesus’ life had been marked by fulfillment of all prophecies concerning him right from his virgin birth onwards, so even in the cross, the prophecies regarding his final moments were getting fulfilled one after the other. While his murderers were assigning the middle cross to him on the Calvary hill all with the purpose of conveying the message, that he was a bigger criminal than the other two who were crucified along with him, they were merely fulfilling (unconsciously, of course) the prophecy recorded in Isaiah 53:12 which said “he was counted amongst the transgressors”. Right in that same verse was another prophecy “ he made intercession for his transgressors”, now that too was fulfilled, when Jesus’ spoke the very first word exuding loving forgiveness.
Also can we deny the fact that his killers were all figuring in the Divine redemption plan? As such they knew not, what they were doing…if they were actually thinking of extinguishing the Divine lamp, by shedding the Lamb’s blood they were actually oiling it. Oh the great wonder in the Divine scheme of things, where even the intended acts of wickedness, acts of extreme imperfection are used to bring forth perfection of Eternal value.
REASSURANCE FOR REPENTANCE
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43
The reassuring second utterance of the good Lord on the cross in response to the dying plea of the repentant thief on the cross, holds out hope to many a sinner on a deathbed that, one can repent even at the fag end of his life and be forgiven. The three crosses on the Calvary hill are symbolic of the eternal salvation and the two different responses to the same. There can be only two of it-YES or NO.
While one thief had nothing to with it (the Divine redemption plan), the other one hung onto it, like a sinking man onto a lifebuoy and guaranteed a place for himself in paradise. In the entire history of sinful mankind (who is not a sinner and in need of forgiveness –Romans 3:23?), we see basically the two categories of people- the unrepentant and the repentant ones. If proud Saul and his contrite successor David, repentant Manasseh and his adamant son Amon are symbolic of the same in OT times (II Chronicles 33:23), then conniving Judas (did not repent after betraying the Lord) and humble Peter (repented after denying his master) and these 2 thieves are a kind of their counterparts in the NT era.
In which category do we belong? When we picturize in our mind the Sinless one dying for sin, we can either die to sin, like the repentant thief did or choose to die in sin like the unrepentant one, sadly did.
One statutory warning: While it’s good to repent even at the fag end of one’s life like the remorseful thief did, let’s never put off our repentance to the eleventh hour, because we do not know when death will knock at our door, what if it does at 10.30? So the convicted ones’, better repent now (II Cor 6:1-2)!
There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing!!!
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.-John 19:26-27