And they brought Him to a place called Golgotha…and they crucified Him. (Mark 15:23a,24a)
All four gospels give an account of Jesus’ last earthly hours. As you read His final words, take some time to think about all He had suffered just before He spoke them. In the garden, sweating blood as He anticipated the agony of what lay ahead. The betrayal of His closest friends. Merciless beatings, severe enough in and of themselves to have caused His death. Scorn from those, who just days earlier, had honored and praised Him as their king. The humiliation of being mocked, spit upon, and stripped naked. The torture of of being nailed to a cross. And finally, the horrific pain of taking the sin of all mankind upon His sinless body.
Read Jesus’ words again. Do you see it?
At His height of suffering, Jesus prays for the ones who drove the nails into His feet and hands.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In the midst of His agony, He offers eternal assurance to a repentant man.
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
He ignores His horrific pain, to insure His Mother will be cared for.
“Woman, behold, your son!” “Behold, your mother!”
It is only after He has seen to the needs of others that He turns His attention to His own suffering.
It must have been the full weight of the sin of all mankind that caused Jesus to cry out desperately to His Father.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus’ pleas were heard. The veil was torn as He declared, once and for all…
“It is finished”
Nothing more to be done. Nothing else needed. The Lamb had been slain, the blood had been shed. All the requirements fulfilled.
Then, final words, final assurance.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
To anyone who has ever stood by the bed of a loved one as they took their final breath, these are words of comfort. They promise us that He who knit us in our Mother’s womb is there, waiting to receive our spirit. These words confirm that Jesus has defeated death. We can have confidence that His spirit, having returned to the Father, will live eternally and so will ours. In this final statement, we have God’s ultimate promise and our ultimate hope.
At no other time in recorded scripture do we see Jesus’ humanity so evidently revealed. In the final hours at Calvary, we see Jesus, fully God, fully man. The One who knew no sin, became the embodiment of sin.
Seven statements from the cross. Parting thoughts. Thoughts for you and me.
©️2014/2020 Sandra Bivens Smith
Father, never let us forget what the Easter season is really about. Keep us mindful of the horrors of the cross and the sufferings we have been spared because Jesus suffered for us. Always remind us that even in His final hours, we were never far from Jesus’ thoughts. Above all, place deep within our minds the truth of the victory that was won for us that day at Calvary; and deep within our hearts a desire to share the message with those who remain lost. Amen.
In Jesus’ last words, we have the entire gospel message. The message of forgiveness, eternal life, love for one another, His righteousness imparted to us. It is a message important enough for Jesus to die for; shouldn’t it be important enough for us to live for?
Christ died so we can live. His sacrifice at Calvary is for everyone who will come and follow Him. Have you made that commitment? Have you knelt at the foot of the cross and surrendered your heart to the One Who died for your sins? If you haven’t, there will never be a better time than now.
All you need to do is pray:
Confess to Jesus that you are a sinner who needs salvation. Believe in your heart that He is only One who can save you. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Surrender your life and your will to Him. Ask Him give you a new heart, and a new spirit
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9