Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Today, we are beginning to move towards the greatest day in the history of mankind, Easter, by looking at the statements Jesus made as He hung on the cross. These statements give us a beautiful portrait of the heart of Jesus and the plan He had for all of us. Let’s look at these statements, not only for what they meant to those in that time, but for what they continue to mean for us.
Luke 23:32-34 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
- To think, Jesus’ concern at this moment was not about His pain, it was about His people
- This plea for forgiveness was for the very people who were currently nailing Him to the cross, and everyone else
- “The prayer is answered by his death, which brings the forgiveness of sins”
Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
- One criminal dismissed Jesus, one believed
- Notice the second criminal used the word “when” and Jesus used the word “today” – clearly an encouragement Jesus gave for when we die
- This is the epitome of hope, Jesus promises His presence for eternity
John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wifeof Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
- In the last moments of Jesus’ life, His concern was to care for others
- It shows the constant state of the heart of God is absolute love
- Jesus stated in Matthew 20:28 – “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
- Jesus’ concern for His mother at this moment is a clear statement of His desire to serve
- The real meaning of this episode is that Jesus was caring for his mother and thus fulfilling the Old Testament commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother”(Exod. 20:12) (Boice, V, p. 212).
It is telling that Jesus uttered words from the cross that continued to provide forgiveness, hope and comfort to those witnessing this horrific event, as well as for those of us experiencing our own challenges and traumas today. Everything Jesus did was to bring us the forgiveness we need, the hope we crave, and the comfort we long for. Let Him do the same for you today.
Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke(Vol. 24, p. 589). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Gangel, K. O. (2000). John(Vol. 4, p. 351). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.