Mark 15:22-39 (KJV) 22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha , which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. 33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
This is one of the four inspired narratives of the trial and death of Jesus Christ. Each Gospel account compliments the other and contributes to the full picture of this great event. In this message I want to preach on the last words of Jesus Christ, His DYING WORDS.
A man’s dying words are usually his most important if he is in his right mind when he is about to pass into eternity. In the past 100 years or so, the last words of men and women have lost their impact because many are not spoken in the time of imminent death. When a person dies today, he/she is usually on some sort of powerful pain killer, and may not even speak. Before the blessing of modern medicine and sedatives, people died in pain and in full possession of their faculties, and their last words held more importance and interest.
When the Lord Jesus was hanging on the Cross, the Roman soldier offered Him a sponge containing a mixture that was a form of pain-killer, but Jesus refused it. He endured all the agony of crucifixion while fully conscious and completely aware of His suffering.
There are 7 Famous Sayings that Jesus spoke as He hung from the Cross, suspended between heaven and earth. Now if the dying words of mortal men are important, then we must acknowledge that the dying words of the Son of God must have even greater significance.
I. The first saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found inLuke 23:34, where He said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”This is the Saying of Forgiveness.
Throughout His life Jesus Christ demonstrated the grace & mercy of God by forgiving sinners of their sins. As God He was the One that had been wronged by sinners who broke the Divine commandments, and He forgave them as part of His earthly ministry. But on the Cross He did not just forgive people at a distance, or in some detached way, but on a more personal, tangible level. Those who were offended by His acts of pardoning sinners, those who did not accept His deity and rejected Him as the Messiah, saw Him forgive those who had personally offended and sinned against Him in the flesh, as a human being, whether they believed He was the Son of God or not. In His death, He forgave the ones who betrayed Him, who falsely accused Him, who unjustly condemned Him, who unfairly sentenced Him to die; even the very ones that hammered the spikes into His hands and His feet and nailed Him to the cross.
What love! He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set Him free, but He didn’t – He forgave us, and He died for us, that He might save us from our sins and deliver our souls from hell.
The Psalmist said of God: “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5)
What a lesson for us! We are to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Richard Wurmbrand, who spent years in a communist concentration camp for not selling out his ministry to the atheistic state, tells of a woman whose father was murdered by the communists. Several year later she was attending one of their regularly scheduled outlawed Bible studies in another believer’s home. That particular night, a visitor came to the service, seeking the Lord. He did not recognize her, but she knew him – he was the communist party member who had killed her father. After the Bible study, this man wanted to make peace with God, and he approached this woman, and asked her if she would help him. The terrible thoughts of that night flooded her mind, along with the feelings of hatred she had for this man. She thought: “his soul is in my hands – his destiny, heaven or hell, depends on what I tell him right now.” She needed God’s strength and grace to forgive him so that she might lead him in a prayer of salvation. The thought came to her mind: “If Christ can forgive those who crucified Him, then I must forgive those who have sinned against me.” And she explained the way of eternal life to him and led him in a prayer to receive Christ and he was gloriously saved.
Booker T. Washington, a man who knew what if felt like to suffer abuse and mistreatment, said: “I am determined to permit no man to narrow or degrade my soul by making me hate him.”
It is said that we are never more like Jesus than when we forgive those who have wronged us. The Bible admonishes us to “be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 ).
One of our founding fathers, the great Benjamin Franklin, summed it when he said: “Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one makes youeven with him; forgiving it sets you above him.”
II. The second saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in John 19:26, 27 where He said: “Woman, behold thy son!”.... “Behold thy mother.” This is the Saying of Affection.
Jesus, though He was God manifest in the flesh, still had special affection for His human mother, Mary. He knew her as the one who gave Him birth and brought Him into this world; the one who suckled Him as an infant; the one who nurtured Him as a child; the one who saw Him through His teenage years and into young adulthood; the one who watched Him grow into a Man and carry on the trade of His earthly father; who saw Him forsake His secular work and enter the ministry and watched His fame grow throughout the land, until He was betrayed and crucified before her very eyes for the truth that He preached.
The Bible said that Mary would feel as though a sword had pierced her own soul (Luke 2), and here is where it was plunged deep into her heart, when she heard and saw the people mocking and degrading her Son as He died on the Cross.
Jesus, the good Son, sees to it that she is taken care of, that she has a home and family. Mary takes John as her son, and John takes Mary in just like his own mother.
We don’t know what happened to Joseph, but no doubt he has died by this time, and Mary is a widow, without any one to take her in and care for her. What about her other children? Her other sons and daughters (Mark 6:3; John 7:5) did not yet believe in Jesus as the Messiah, and the Lord wanted His mother to be taken into a believer’s home rather than an unbelieving home, even though they were family.
So even when Jesus was dying on the Cross He was obeying the Law of God, in that He was honoring His mother; He was practicing the 5th commandment, “Honor thy mother and father.”
By the way, Jesus DID NOT honor her like a world-wide religion does, that makes her the Mother of all Christians or the co-mediator with Christ or the Queen of Heaven, and our way to Jesus. She would be insulted by such veneration and adoration and exaltation. The only thing that Mary ever told anyone to do in the Bible was to do whatever Jesus told them to do (John 2:5). She was not immaculately conceived or assumed bodily into heaven, like the Pope teaches and has declared. The mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was a sinner like you and me who needed a Savior, too. She had to be born again like any sinner to be saved and go to heaven. And she would tell you the same thing if she were here today!
III. The third saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in Luke 23:43 where He said: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” This is the Saying of Salvation.
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that He would die with the wicked: He was crucified between two thieves. As our text says: “And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:27).
There were three crosses on the hill of Golgotha that day. In the middle was Jesus, the LORD & SAVIOR & REDEEMER. On one side was a SINNER who REJECTED Him. On the other side was a SINNER who RECEIVED Him.
These two men are representative men. Every man, woman, boy and girl in the world is in a sense one of these men. Either you are a sinner who recognizes that he has sinned against God and needs His forgiveness for their sins and is willing to admit that and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you, or you are a sinner who is only interested in being delivered from the consequences of his bad living, and senses no need of forgiveness. The thief who rejected Christ was the type that wanted down from the Cross without a change of heart, without repentance, without feeling the need for forgiveness, so he could continue his life of crime and vice. Many are like that man – they just want to get out of their problems and be saved from their predicament without being saved from their sins. But the other thief who called upon the Lord knew that he was guilty and deserved to be punished for his crimes and go to hell for shi sins. He believed that Jesus was the sinless Son of God who could forgive him and give him eternal life. He did what the Bible says in Romans 10:13. He called upon the name of the Lord, and was saved. Jesus gave him assurance that he would be saved and be with Him in paradise. The sinner who receives Christ as Savior can be assured that he shall be saved the very moment he calls upon Christ for salvation.
If you were there that day, and you were one of those thieves, which one would you have been? Where are you in this picture today? Are you a sinner who has received Christ as your personal Savior, or are you a sinner who still rejects Him? Why not call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save you today if you haven’t already?
IV. The fourth saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in Matthew 27:46 where He said: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is the Saying of Grief.
At this time Jesus is experiencing total separation from His Father, not just physically, but now emotionally and spiritually.
The Bible says of God in Habakkuk 1:13 - “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” From this we learn that God cannot look upon sin, and whoever has sin on him/her, God cannot look at them. In the case of His own Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father looked away and forsook His only begotten Son. WHY? Because Jesus was bearing the sins of the world (John 1:29 ). He was becoming sin for us and a curse for us (2 Cor. 5:21 ; Gal. 3:13 ). The LORD was laying our sins on Jesus (Isaiah 53:6). He literally became our SIN-OFFERING while He was on the Cross.
At this time all ties to Heaven are severed and He is totally alone, abandoned by both God and man.
Now, let me ask you this: If God would abandon His only begotten Son because He had taken our sins upon Him and even became sin for us, how do you think that you are going to get by the judgment? If God could not look at Jesus, His own Son, while He was bearing our sins in His own body on the tree (2 Peter 2:24 ), just how do you think that God is going to overlook your sins and let youinto heaven if you reject Jesus Christ as your Savior? Friend, there is no way you will make it to heaven without accepting Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the Cross.
V. The fifth saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in John 19:28 where He said: “I thirst.” This is the Saying of Suffering.
In life, Jesus thirsted, He hungered, and He got tired: He suffered the same pressures and temptations and feelings that all of us do. Jesus did and can relate to the sinner’s condition, without giving in to temptation and partaking in sin.
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 53:3-4 that “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Not only did Jesus suffer with us in life, but He suffered for us in His death.
The Bible goes on to say in Isaiah 53:5-6 - “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus suffered shame and humiliation for us. Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus quoted much of the 22nd Psalm while on the Cross (read verses 6-18). The method of execution was crucifixion, which Psalm 22 vividly describes. This prophecy attests to the divine authorship of the Bible, for the method described was unknown to the world when David wrote this Psalm in 1000 BC. Crucifixion was not invented until hundreds of years later, and was perfected by the Romans. It was a horrible death that could last for days, and exposed the victim to the elements and the vultures and flies, as well as the physical pain and emotional abuse that the victim endured.
But more than the physical aspect, Jesus suffered the pain and endured the agonies of Hell for us while on the Cross: that is why He said that He “thirsted”; it reminds us of the rich man in hell, who could not get one drop of water!
Jesus Christ endured the pain of death and the agonies of hell for you and me, so we would no longer fear death and would not have to experience hell.
VI. The sixth saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in John 19:30 where He said: “It is finished.” This is the Saying of Victory.
Under the OT economy the believer had to bring an offering to the Temple and there the priest would offer it to God for him; this was in view of the coming Redeemer. His sins were forgiven, but He was not saved yet: the lambs of Israel pictured the coming of the Lamb of God, who would not just cover our sins, but would take them away fully, finally and forever. The OT believer had to bring an offering every year, and the priests offered sacrifices every day of the year, and there work was ongoing and continuous, and never done.
But when Jesus, the Lamb of God, made that perfect sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, the price of our redemption was fully, finally and forever PAID.
When Jesus cried, “It is finished, “ He used the Greek word “Tetelestai!” >From history we learn that the word was used frequently in business. When a person bought something and paid for it, the seller would give him a sales reciept, with the word “Tetelestai” written on it. What is meant was: PAID IN FULL!
When Jesus cried on the Cross, “It is finished,” what He meant was that salvation is finished and completed - in other words, IT’S A DONE DEAL! The transaction has been completed!
This tells us that our salvation is not to be continued or added to because Jesus said, “It is finished!”
Our salvation and our redemption has been bought and paid for in full by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!
A man under conviction of his sin and his need of being saved came to a preacher and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The preacher said: “IT’S TOO LATE.” The man asked, “What do you mean, too late?” The preacher said: “IT’S TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING.” Distraught, the man asked again: “How can that be?” The preacher, with a smile, said: “Because IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE.” The man understood and he accepted Christ and His finished transaction and was gloriously saved.
VII. The seventh and final saying spoken by Jesus from the Cross is found in Luke 23:46 where He said: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” This is the Saying of Contentment.
Jesus did not fear death, He did not fear eternity, and He did not regret the life that He lived or the sacrifice He had made.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that “for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, despising the shame...”
Jesus did what He was meant to do and He finished the work He had come to do: He died IN PEACE, SATISFIED in knowing that His MISSION WAS ACCOMPLISED!
Every biography I have ever read ends with the death of the hero and a summation of his/her legacy, but when I read the 4 biographies of Jesus Christ contained in the Gospels, I find that the final chapter is not about His death, but about His resurrection!
God & the Bible did not leave Him on the Cross or in the Tomb - neither will we:
Brother Willard Thomas of Georgia wrote this poem about the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
They laid His body in Joseph’s new tomb And filled His disciples with sorrow and gloom. They did not remember what He had said That He would die, but He wouldn’t stay dead.
Mary came at the break of day And found the stone was rolled away. She saw an angel and in terror fled And told His disciples that He didn’t stay dead!
In that cold dark tomb He would not stay; He conquered death and walked away. And now that old grave has lost its fear and dread; He lives again! He wouldn’t stay dead!
Full atonement and pardon were made And forever the sin debt is marked “Fully Paid.” The price was His blood as it flowed crimson red, And I’m thankful today that He didn’t stay dead!
Let’s go to our churches and cry aloud, Let’s go to the market place and talk to the crowd Let’s go to the mission fields that lie up ahead And tell the whole world that He didn’t stay dead!
In this message we have looked at the DYING words of Jesus, but, thank God, they were not his LAST words!
The very night after His resurrection He appeared to the disciples and said: “Peace be unto you.” He said to ohn the Apostle as he wrote the book of Revelation: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1:17&18)
Let me leave you with this thought: Jesus was ready to die and meet God asthe Son of God. When you are saved and know Christ, you are ready to die and meet God as a born again child of God.
HAVE YOU BEEN SAVED? ARE YOU BORN AGAIN? WILL YOU BE I N HEAVEN IN ETERNITY?
Are you ready to die and to meet God?
Solid Rock Baptist Church - Serving the Lord in the Memphis/Mid-South area