Summary: Our dying words reveal a lot about us. This message looks at the seven last words of Jesus
So, this is how it would end. Not being crowned a king but dying a criminal. Executed as a traitor to both his country and his faith.
This weekend we are tying up our Worst-Case Scenario series. Through January and February and then again in April we’ve been looking at various Worst-Case scenarios from the Bible, last week was What to Do when You’ve lost all Hope. But we’ve also covered what to do if you have to fight a giant, and what to do if you miss the Rapture.
And of course, we ended up there as a result of a chance encounter I had with this book. The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook. Where you will find all kinds of hints for your daily life, like, how to defuse a bomb, or how to deliver a baby in a cab or how to survive if you’re in the line of gunfire.
Today’s helpful hint is: How to survive a poisonous snake attack. 1. Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as you can. 2. Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart. 3. Get medical help as soon as possible 4. Immediately wrap a bandage two to four inches above the bite to help slow the venom.
They forgot the most important one: Kill the snake. And again, there are pictures.
For those watching the events unfold that Friday, this must have been their Worst-Case scenario. But it is unlikely that any one of them could have imagined the story ending like this. Even Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, couldn’t have imagined that Jesus would have ended up nailed to a cross like a common criminal. And he did.
Jesus had been arrested in the garden, handed from the High Priests to Pilate, to King Herod and back to Pilate, who finally in an effort to appease the crowd, that been stirred into a frenzy by the religious leaders, had Jesus beaten and flogged. But even that did little to satisfy the blood lust of the crowd.
So, even knowing it was wrong. Even knowing it was wrong Pilate gave into the crowd.
We read the account in Matthew 27:24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
And with that, Pilate did what he knew he shouldn’t have done. He surrendered an innocent man over to a blood thirsty mob. He probably had no idea that those eleven words would be immortalized in God’s word.
And when he turned and walked away, he probably thought that the story was over and done with. Little did he know that this wasn’t the end of the story it was just the beginning.
If we keep reading in Luke account we read these words, Luke 23:33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.
They nailed him to the cross, and I would suspect that those who had conspired to see it happen, and those who had actually taken part in his crucifixion probably thought that this would be where the story would end.
Little did they know that this wasn’t the end of the story it was just the beginning.
They just expected him to die.
But what happened during the six hours that Jesus spent on the cross?
We don’t know all that happened, the six hours are pretty much telescoped down to a few dozen verses between the four gospels.
We don’t know all that was said and done, but we do get a little glimpse into the heart of Jesus from the words he spoke during that time.
Sometimes called the seven last words of Christ, these are the words that were preserved for us. Were there other words, other statements? We don’t know. I would suspect that maybe there were, but it is useless to speculate, because these are the words of Christ, that we do have, from those six hours.
So worst case scenario, what if you found yourself nailed to a cross? I don’t know what I’d do. I doubt that you know what you’d do. But through these words we get a glimpse of what was going through Jesus’ mind while he was dying. What concerned him and who he was thinking about.
I have read the dying words of literally thousands of people. You think I’m bluffing but I kid you not. A few years ago, I bought a book entitled, Last Words of Notable People. And from A-Z it contains, exactly what the title says it contains. The last words of Notable People.