“Shocking Words From the Cross”
By Pastor Donald Parker
In just a few weeks we will be celebrating Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he was first put to death on a cross. Scripture tells us the events that led to his death; and while suspended between heaven and earth on the cross, Jesus spoke some shocking words.
Jesus lived a perfect sinless life; he never did anything wrong. He loved (and still loves) everyone with unconditional love. Jesus loved the people in society that everybody else rejected. Jesus achieved miracle after miracle; giving eyesight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He healed the crippled and brought the dead back to life; and his teaching changed the lives of so many.
When Jesus was arrested and taken to stand before a mock trial; where even Pilate said, “I have found no fault in this Man.” Still, Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples, then falsely accused, tried and condemned; even though he was an innocent man.
They stripped Jesus’ clothes off of him and beat him over and over again with a whip of metal balls, sharp rocks and pieces of glass that ripped the flesh off his back leaving huge open bloody wounds. Then, they pressed a crown of thorns down into his head and spit in his face. Then blindfolded him as the Roman soldiers continued punching him in the face. After such a bloody beating to the point of near death, and to the point he was almost unrecognizable; they led Jesus out, carrying his own cross to a hill called Calvary.
The Scripture tells us, “There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 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” (Luke 23:33-34). Once there, Jesus laid down his life. They drove spikes through his hands and feet. Then, they lifted him up and dropped the cross in the hole.
As he hung there, he didn’t speak a single word of retaliation. He didn’t speak a single word of evil against those who were torturing him. He didn’t say anything hateful to the people who had falsely accused him, beaten him, and nailed him to the cross. There he was hanging on a cruel cross, suffering for our sins between two criminals. Then, all the sudden, Jesus’ lips started to move, and he uttered these shocking words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
As Jesus hung on the cross in excruciating pain looking down at the people who were putting him to death, the Jewish accusers, the Roman politicians and brutal Roman soldiers, the crowd of onlookers who called for Jesus’ crucifixion; he prayed, “Father, forgive [these] people, for they do not know what they [are doing].” Those are shocking words! No one there ever expected to hear Jesus say that. In that prayer, Jesus was praying for humanity’s greatest need, “the forgiveness of sin.” The very reason he came to this earth in the first place.
Just as Jesus prayed for the people at the foot of the cross, to repent of their sins so that God would forgive them, he wants to forgive you of your sins as well. Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah maybe God can forgive you, but He can never forgive me. My life is such a mess. You don’t know all the things I’ve done; the things I have said; the places I’ve been.” Your right, I don’t, and I don’t need to; but Jesus knows.
You need to understand that you matter to Jesus and he loves you so much. As Jesus hung on that cross, he saw everything you would ever do, everything you would say, and every place you would ever go, and he still loves you and still wants to forgive you.
You have got to understand, you are never going to be made right with God by just being a good person. There’s only one way to make right with God; there’s only one way into heaven, and that my friend, is only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus died so we could be forgiven. If we didn’t need a Savior, there wouldn’t have been any reason for Jesus to come.
God so loved you that he sent his only Son Jesus to die on a cross for you. He paid for all your sins. When you realize that, and believe that, and confess and repent of your sins, and ask Jesus to forgive you and be your Lord and Savior; then all your sins are completely forgiven. My friend, right there where you sit reading this article, you can stop and pray and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and give your life to him. Will you give your life to Jesus today?
Join us this Sunday at 11am at First Baptist Church, as we look at more “Shocking words from the cross.”