Summary: Two thousand years have passed since the Crucifixion Day, yet the Bible account enables us to visualize the day and event with a great deal of accuracy.
About 2000 years ago a man named Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Israel. His birth is considered the most sacred moment and marked as a turning point in the history. Jesus life, mission, death and resurrection were foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament and revealed to us by the writers of the New Testament. From humble birth to glorious Resurrection— Christ was, and is, a miracle. Jesus Christ was fully God and yet fully human. God had allowed himself to be born as a man so that he could live and suffer among us, to serve as the perfect atonement for our sin, and to offer forgiveness and salvation to anyone who believes. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Christ preached and performed miracles for three-and-a-half years until he was crucified. He died on a wooden cross and was buried in a tomb. God incarnate suffered and died on the cross as a propitiation for the sins of all mankind.
Two thousand years have passed since the Crucifixion Day, yet the Bible account enables us to visualize the day and event with a great deal of accuracy. It was a turbulent Day in Israel. An execution was taking place, a surging crowd stood by. It was the eve of a great annual festival that had brought thousands to Jerusalem. The earth had been rocked by an earthquake. The sky was darkened by a supernatural eclipse. There were three crosses on Golgotha. On the right and on the left were two robbers crucified for rebellion and murder. On the centre cross hung a sinless Sufferer! The world knew not that Jesus was dying for the sins of the world. However there is one man in history whose last words not only tells us a great deal about Him, but also tells us a great deal about how we should live our lives.
Jesus spoke seven times during the closing moments on the Cross. The words which Jesus uttered on the Cross are worthy of special consideration because of who uttered them, where they were uttered, why they were spoken, and what they mean. They are precious because they are deep expressions of the Eternal son of God in His time of terrible agony in those moments when He actually paid the price of our redemption. From these Seven Words of Jesus we can draw strength and courage for our own walk on this earth as we follow His call to be His disciples. He suffered the extreme penalty of death that we may live eternally.
1. THE WORD OF FORGIVENESS and RECONCILIATION
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Luke's gospel presents the sufficiency of Christ to save sinners (19:10). It makes sense that the first word of Jesus from the cross is a word of forgiveness and reconciliation. That’s the point of the cross, after all. Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy that He would make “intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Jesus is dying so that we might be forgiven for our sins, so that we might be reconciled to God for eternity. The wonder of this Word from the Cross is that there is forgiveness. Forgiveness for the disciples who forsook Jesus and fled in the night, Forgiveness for the evil ones who drove Him to the Cross, Forgiveness for the soldiers who nailed him to the tree, Forgiveness for the bitter hearts of his religious enemies, the priests and teachers, Forgiveness for every person who has ever sinned or made a mistake and Forgiveness for you and for me. Bible says “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). Because Christ died on the cross for us, we are cleansed from all wickedness, from every last sin. We are united with God the Father as his beloved children. Forgiveness has always been the hallmark of Christ followers, following the great example of its founder. The first Christian martyr, Stephen, showed this spirit when he was being stoned to death, "Lord," he prayed, "do not hold this sin against them."
2. THE WORD OF ASSURANCE and EVERLASTING GLORY
Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
If the First Word embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through his prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world but he sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. Both had reviled Him (Matthew 27:40-44); but later, when one blasphemed Christ again, the other had a remarkable change of heart and responded, “Do you not even fear God?” (Luke 23:40). Even more extraordinary, he expressed faith that Christ would rule over God’s coming Kingdom.