Summary: We find forgiveness, hope, and life in The last three utterances from Jesus while he was on the Cross from the gospel of Luke.
Utterances from the Cross
Introduction: If ever there was a holiday to celebrate; it is Easter. What other holiday celebrates an event that promises everlasting life? I love Easter! I look forward to it, especially when the long cold days of winter have me trapped inside the house, cabin fever sets in and I'm longing to get outside. And then just as shortly as we cancel church because of the weather the next week things begin to thaw and a couple weeks after that I drive into town and notice among the sea of gray dead trees, a Bradford pear is turning white and now the Redbud and Dogwood trees are in full bloom. The weather is warming up. I can hear the locusts and the frogs. And the spring lightning storms off in the distance are entertaining. I love Spring because more than anything it reminds me that the cold days are behind us, and the dark trees and dead plants are in the past and new life has begun!
There couldn't be a better time to celebrate Resurrection Sunday than in the spring time! Not everyone appreciates Easter like we do. What a shame. Perhaps they don't understand the gospel. Perhaps they don't know the gospel. Perhaps they don't care or perhaps they just don't believe.
Jonathan Edwards said “If any man could disprove the doctrines of the gospel, he should then sit down and weep to think they were not true, for it would be the most dreadful calamity that could happen to the world.”
Indeed it would. Why any man would choose not to believe the gospel, is beyond me. But I hope they find Jesus soon. I want them to experience this great new life that you and I have found!
Transition: Its been noted that Jesus gave 7 utterances on the cross, but for this morning, I would like us to notice the three that are mentioned in the gospel of Luke. We find forgiveness, hope, and life in the last three utterances of Jesus on the cross.
We find Forgiveness at the Cross
“..Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing..”-Luke 23:34
“Father, Forgive them” Here in his first three words we see Christ's forgiving nature. So let's first draw attention to the fact that it is the will of God for men to be forgiven, not condemned of their sins. (Jn. 3:17) If it were us, that were beaten, stripped naked, cursed, punched, mocked ruthlessly, if we saw the crowds approving our torture and heard them laughing at our pain and although innocent we could sense the condemnation from our persecutors, we might have prayed, “Father, curse them! Father, destroy them! Father, consume them! Father, humiliate them! . . . but Jesus says: “Father, . . . forgive them.” and praise God! His prayer is answered, because Jesus dying on the cross was the only way for men to be forgiven.
Ill. During the war between Britain and France, men were conscripted into the French army by a kind of lottery system. When someone's name was drawn, he had to go off to battle. There was one exception to this, however. A person could be exempt if another was willing to take his place. On one occasion the authorities came to a certain man and told him he was among those who had been chosen. He refused to go, saying, “I was shot 2 years ago.” At first they questioned his sanity, but he insisted that this indeed was the case. He claimed that the military records would show that he had been conscripted 2 years previously and that he had been killed in action. “How can that be?” they questioned. “You are alive now!” He explained that when his name came up, a close friend said to him, “ You have a large family, but I am not married and nobody is dependent upon me. I'll take your name and address and go in your place.” And that is indeed what the record showed. This rather unusual case was referred to Napoleon Bonaparte, who decided that the country had no legal claim on that man. He was indeed free. Another person had died in his place!
This principle of substitution is also at the heart of the gospel. The savior willingly took our place, not because He had any less to lose than we, but because of His infinite love. He died in our place and paid the penalty for our sin. The law, which demands the ultimate punishment, has no claim on us, for we died nearly 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. His finished work is the basis of our salvation. We depend on Him – our Substitute! (sermonillustrations: Our daily bread)