Parting Thoughts

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  

            “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

            “Woman, behold, your son!”  “Behold, your mother!”

 Read the final words of Jesus.  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 being nailed to a cross and finally, bearing the full 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.  In the midst of His agony, He offers eternal assurance to a repentant man.  He ignores His horrific pain, to insure His Mother will be cared for.

 It is only after He has seen to the needs of others that He turns His attention to His own suffering.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

            “I thirst.”

Even then, as Christ desperately cries out to His Father, I can’t help but wonder if He wasn’t thinking about us.  Are there any of us who have not, at some time in our lives, called out to God “why have you abandoned me”?  Haven’t all of us been through a dry season and longed for a cool stream to refresh our parched spirits.

Jesus’ pleas were heard.  And so are ours as He declared, once and for all…

“It is finished”

Nothing more to be done.  Nothing else needed  All the requirements fulfilled.

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 of you and me.

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?  Knowing He did all this for us, how can we do less for Him?



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.

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

The Planting Season

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.(Isaiah 61:11)

Folks who have a green thumb have always impressed me. I have such warm memories of my grandmother Bivens who each summer had a bountiful vegetable garden.  She would put the green beans and tomatoes into Mason jars to carry her through the winter months; and oh those pickles she made! Grandmother Lingerfelt amazed us at how she would take just a sliver of a plant and grow a beautiful new specimen. In my yard is a cutting of a cutting of a cutting from one of her hydrangea bushes. My husband has the gift of gardening as do both of my sisters; sadly, I do not. But I do like to think about it – preparing the soil, putting the seed or young plant into the hole that’s been dug and then carefully covering it with cool, rich dirt. I think of how he tends the garden and when the season comes, his joy of seeing the fruit of his labor and knowing that God has used his hands to bring new life. Wow!

As spring approaches, and I see farmers preparing their fields, I’ve been thinking a lot about the planting season. I’m reminded of another kind of gardening that those of us who belong to the Lord have been given to do.  Planting this garden doesn’t require a green thumb, only willingness, commitment and obedience.

We’ve been given all the tools we need.  We turn the rocky soil of a wounded heart with the tiller of compassion. The seeds are sown with words of kindness. We make way for the tender sprouts of new life by pulling the weeds of bitterness with acts of love and grace. We water with words of hope, prune with encouragement and keep away the insects that destroy the tender plants with our prayers. And when we’ve done all, the harvest comes and the Lord of the harvest is well pleased.

Just something you might want to consider.

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to end out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)