Summary: The record of Jesus’ seven statements from the cross are not just recorded as historical fact it is given to us to apply to our present moment…”
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 66
“What To Do In Your Hour of Need!”
[Christ’s Seven Statements from the Cross]
“The final statements of even the most ordinary people have a way of fixing themselves firmly in the memories of those who hear them. The words of dying men are always sacred; the last words of those we love linger in our minds.” “It is no surprise, then, that the statements Jesus made as he was dying on Calvary should have stuck like burrs in the minds of those who were closest to Him.”
What a contrast his passing was with the way in which most people leave this life. Most don’t depart with a song in their soul and hope in their heart. The noted historian and infidel Edward Gibbon’s last words were, “All is now lost, finally, irrecoverably lost. All is dark and doubtful.” Clarence Darrow, the agnostic lawyer who helped foist Evolution on us, was so distraught as he lay on his deathbed he commanded his law clerk to get him three clergymen. When they arrived he confessed that he had written and spoken many things against God and he pleaded with them to intercede with the Almighty on his behalf. David Hume, the famous atheistic philosopher, was a sad sight as he was about to leave this life. His housekeeper who was with him during his last moments said, “his mental agitation was so great at times as to occasion his whole bed to shake.” He was so distraught and frightened he would not allow the lights to be put out during the night nor would he be left alone for a minute.
Six hours passed between the pounding of the first nail into body of Jesus and the last breath of Jesus on Calvary’s cross. During those awful hours with great expense of effort, Jesus spoke seven times. In order to read the record of all seven of Jesus’ statements from the cross we must not only look in Luke but we must look to two of the other parallel account’s (John and Matthew). But since three of Jesus’ statements are found in Luke I think is very appropriate to our study of the gospel according to Luke.
But I believe that the record of Jesus’ seven statements from the cross are not just recorded as historic fact but as Jack Hayford says in his little
book “… 7 Encouraging Insights from Christ’s Words on the Cross” that “it is given to us … to apply to our present moment…” [Jack Hayford. How to Live Through A Bad Day: 7 Insights form the Christ’s Words On the Cross. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001) p. xii.]
So what does Christ teach us in his statements from the cross for our hour of need?
#1. In Your Hour of Need - Choose to Forgive (Luke 23:34)
Has anyone ever hurt you? I mean has anyone ever done something so terrible that you think that forgiveness is out of question? Think for a moment at all of what Jesus has been through, he has been beaten, probably several times. He has been punched and mocked, he has had a crown of thorns jammed onto His head. He has been stripped, and marched through the streets of Jerusalem; forced to carry at least the cross beam of his cross. He had metal spikes drive through his wrist and his feet and left to die a long and cruel death. Now Jesus looks out over the crowd at the foot of the cross and makes his first proclamation.
The first statement from the cross was found in Luke 23:34 which we skipped over until now where Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." People do things that hurt us and we find it difficult to believe what Jesus said about them that they did not “know” what they were doing. Sometimes to us it seems that the people who hurt us did it with great deliberateness, they seemed to know exactly what they were doing but just did not care. But in a very real sense, even when a sin is carefully calculated and planned thoroughly and carried out with great exactness, no really understands the degree of its terrible damage to people. We don’t know how deeply we have hurt others and those who have hurt us don’t realize how deep the pain goes.
It is to just such a situation that Jesus speaks and says, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Could you do that? How do you forgive the unforgivable?
Sometimes we think we don’t have to forgive because the offender has never asked for our forgiveness, and until they ask we don’t have to forgive. But let’s look at what Jesus said another way, for he is saying, “Father forgive them because they need forgiveness more than they can ever imagine.” “Father forgive them because they desperately need forgiveness and they don’t even know it.”