Saturday, April 3, 2010

Partnering in Prayer - A Lenten Devotion - Day 46 - The Seven Last Words of Christ

Day 46 – Holy Saturday
The Seven Last Words of Christ

Yesterday, we looked at Jesus’ three prayers from the cross. At the risk of being redundant, I want to share with you from this morning’s quiet time, something the Lord showed me about the seven last words of Christ from the cross.

The seven last “words” aren’t single words at all, but phrases Jesus uttered as He hung upon the cross. I’ll share the words with you, and then some insights on them.

1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 24:34).”

a. Even when Jesus was on the cross, He prayed for us. Though it seems perhaps forgiving His tormenters didn’t come naturally. Notice that He didn’t say, “Tormenters, I forgive you, for you know not what you do.” Instead, He prayed that the Father would forgive them. Could Jesus, as God, have forgiven them Himself? Of course He could have—but I believe that being overcome with the sin of humanity made forgiving His enemies something difficult for Him to do. It was not beyond His Father’s ability, though. So, wishing to forgive them but finding Himself unable to do it Himself, Jesus prayed the Father to forgive not only Jesus’ tormenters, but all of humanity whose guilt He bore. If Jesus can pray for God to forgive sinners, then I can, too.

2. “This day you shall be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).”

a. If jesus can save that gujy, who had insufficient theology, and no baptism, and no future of good works, then maybe—just maybe—there’s hope for me! Notice—Jesus knew the length of time it would take this man to die. Every second of our lives is in God’s hands.

3. “He said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother (John 19:26-27).’”

a. Even at the end, He was thinking of others instead of Himself. Jesus entrusted His mother into the hands of the church, not into the hands of family members who even at this point did not believe He was the Messiah. He knew what real family was, and wanted the faithful to care for the woman who dedicated her life to Him.

4. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me (Mark 15:34; Mathew 27:46)?”

a. Here, Jesus understands humanity’s plight to the fullest. He had taken on so much of humanity’s sin and depravity that He felt God had turned His back on Him. How tragic for Jesus, but how wonderful for humankind, that our Savior can understand us that completely!

5. “I thirst (John 19:28).”

a. Jesus’ physical thirst must have been agonizing, for what Roman would think to take a break in the middle of his beating and offer Him a cool drink of water? He must not have drunk anything for many hours. Yet, when they offered him drugged wine to dull the pain, He would not take it. Instead, He drank in our suffering. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Jesus had said from the mountainside, “for they shall be filled.” Yet instead of being filled with ighteousness, Jesus’ thirst was only filled with our grief, shame, and sin.

6. “It is finished (John 19:30).”

a. A better translation would probably be “accomplished.” There was nothing more than Jesus needed to do, to secure our salvation. His work was complete, and now He could rest.

7. “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit (Luke 23:47).”

a. These should probably be my last words, too—every day! Maybe my first words each day, as well. May each day be fully committed to God!

These Seven Last Words are also the mission of the church: to forgive, to evangelize, to care for widows, to seek God’s face and care for the forsaken, to feed and water the hungry and thirsty, to finish the ministry that He began, and to commit ourselves completely to God.

Tomorrow will be our last email together. Our time of covenant prayer will be ended, but I pray that you will take Jesus’ Seven Last Words to heart, and make them your mission in life.

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