Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7 Last Words, What Does It Mean?

The 7 Last Words

By Abraham Israel

Question : What were the seven last words of Jesus Christ on the Cross, and what do they mean?

Answer: These seven words are taken from different gospels, but assembled into what was probably their chronological order according to a simple harmony of the various gospel accounts of the crucifixion:

1) Forgiveness : "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. What a wonderful Savior Jesus is! Man could not reach God through his religion that he made, and it never pleased God no matter how much he tried to please God. Then God sent law through Moses to convict man of his innate sinfulness (John 1:17), but instead of using it as a mirror, to see his natural face and repent of his sins (Jam 1:23), humans began to decorate themselves with the law taking the mirror and designing it themselves to show how beautiful they are before God who gave it for a different purpose (Rom 3:20; Acts 13:39; Gal 2:16; 3:11). When we as humans in our foolishness tried to misuse the law and use it for a purpose which in fact was never intended to be used, God in His mercy has to forgive our foolishness and by His grace also have to reach out to us with His salvation or else we all will be forever doomed without God.

That is when at the right time Jesus chose to come from heaven and speak to us in a very simple language we understand about God (Heb 1:1-3), lived a life of righteousness on behalf of us before God (John 8:46), take all of our sins upon Himself and then finally die at the very hands of humans He wanted to justify before God (Matt 16:21; 1 Cor 15:1-2, 3-4). So being a Mediator between God and humans, Jesus had to suffer at the very hands of humans who on being guided by the evil impulses of Satan within them (John 8:43, 44), tortured and killed the very prince of life who came from God to save them from sin and make peace with God (Acts 2:36, 3:13, 14-15). At that point, only seeing humans with a heavenly point of view could save them from sin, if he were to call a angel with a tap of his finger, twelve legions of angels would have come to make earth a doomed hell of fire forever (Matt 26:53). But thank the Lord Jesus, he instead prayed for the humans who were killing him for no sins of his but only theirs, at that point one of the greatest prayer of all time was prayed before God, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34). In other words, Jesus was telling the Heavenly Father God to forgive humans, who are actually so blinded by sin, that they are killing the one who have come to rescue them.

Practical Application: Have you ever prayed to your Heavenly Father God to forgive a person who tried to destroy you when you have only wanted to help them succeed? You must follow Jesus' example.

2) Future : "This day you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)

Here was something important happening around Jesus at the crucial hour in which Jesus was dying for your sins and mine. The Bible reveals that two thief one on the right and the other on the left side of Jesus were crucified for their past criminal life they lived (Matt 27:38). All the people mocked Jesus not knowing spiritually that He was appointed by God to die for their sins and to rescue them from hell fire, and even the robbers in their suffering of crucifixion they suffered for their own faults mocked Jesus and criticized Him in an abusive or angrily insulting manner (Matt 27:44).

But Jesus who knew the foolishness of these sinners who were doing it under the influence of Satan and his demons (Psa 22:12-13), did not revile or mock back, nor threaten them but rather he entrusted himself to him who judges justly who is God to stay silent (1 Peter 2:23). But something happened in the heart of one of the robber, seeing the Divine answer of silence for mockery and reviling, immediately he was convicted of his sin deeply, immediately understanding of how sinful he was, recognized who Jesus was in a moment of time. How the miracle of salvation makes a turn around to make a man going to hell fire in a moment of time become a heavenly man by praying to Jesus the greatest prayer any human can ever pray, "Lord, remember me when You come in to Your kingdom," is simply amazing. That humble request was enough to melt the compassionate and merciful heart of Jesus to promise this unworthy sinner, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43).

Jesus has proved, no matter how unworthy a sinful human is, if only he realizes his sinfulness and approaches him for God's forgiveness through him, He is able to save from the uttermost to the guttermost, who come to him in need of forgiveness, and gives them a assured future in heaven because He has not charged people and condemned them with their sin instead has made intercession to God for them to be forgiven of their sin which God did just for the sake of Jesus and will do it again and again until the world will end (Heb 7:25). Glory to God!

Practical Application: Have you ever helped those who have mocked you just moments before? You must follow Jesus' example.

3) Family: "Woman, behold your son." (John 19:26-27)

We know from the Scripture that Jesus submitted himself to his father and mother, even though they were imperfect humans to whom he as the Son of God from heaven and Creator of the entire universe, of which He knew even at the age of twelve had to subject himself to their discipline and guidance (Luke 2:48-50, 51-52). This shows how humble Jesus was in obeying his parents in the Lord when He grew up as the supposed son of Joseph (Eph 6:1), the husband of Mary who was his biological mother. Eighteen years later, when Jesus began His earthly ministry at 30 years old, Joseph’s name is mentioned in lineage, but he is not mentioned as being present (Luke 3:21-23). Joseph is not mentioned being present at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, when both Jesus and His mother were invited. If Joseph were alive, certainly he would have been there, because it was obviously a friend or relative of the family (John 2:1-11), as the first son of the family of Joseph, he did take care of the entire family upon his own shoulders doing his earthly father's carpentry business until God called Him in to full time ministry to work for Him (Mark 6:1-3). This does also mean that Jesus must have somewhere early, in his early teens or around the early twenty must have lost his earthly caretaker father Joseph. Notice that is why they call Jesus “the son of Mary,” and then they name the members of His family and say that they are “here with us.” But Joseph’s name is not mentioned, because obviously, Joseph had died much earlier before this point in time at least more than a decade earlier to be forgotten by many but not by God.

A final proof that Joseph had died earlier, is seen at Jesus’ death on the cross. John 19:25-27 says, “25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” Jesus, being the firstborn Son, had the responsibility to care for His parents when they got old. His actions here obviously show that Joseph had died, and that Jesus was taking the responsibility to see that His mother was cared for in His absence. Jesus did not give this responsibility of taking care of his mother to his earthly brothers or sisters who were there at that time (Matt 12:46-50), which shows that his youngest and closest brother He considered was not a earthly one but a Christian Brother who followed to do God's will in his life for the Glory of God. In Jesus times, using the name of God, many sons and daughters declared in the temple their money as a property of God and then used it all to use it for themselves to deny their parents of their proper care, as according to the tradition, once something has been declared as God's, they never were indebted to take care of their parents physically (Mark 7:11). Thus breaking the law of God which tells us to honor our father and mother, which is to take care of them physically, financially and emotionally in their old age, for which God has directly promised the blessing of a living a long life as a reward (Eph 6:2-3).

What an example Jesus set for all the children of God to take care of their parents and honor them, even in the midst of suffering and death he was more concerned of his mother as a committed family man and was more trusting towards the children of God than the children of the flesh of his own Brother or Sisters who were with him.

Practical Application: Are we honoring our father and mother in our lives by supporting them financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually in their old age? Are we a committed family man like Jesus? Or are we breaking God's law and bringing curse upon our self to die early without God's blessing? Are we trusting our spiritual family of our Church disciples to pray and support us than our earthly family? We must follow Jesus' example.

4) Frustration : "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)

There are times of frustration for every children of God, where God will each time give a route out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13), but never out of suffering that he has planned to prune our character and tune us for heavenly living rather than allow us to settle for an earthly temporal and comfortable living which will never bless us for eternity ahead (Rom 8:29). Jesus learned obedience out of suffering, can you believe that? If Jesus himself who was the Son of God who became the Son of Man, had to learn obedience through suffering, how much more we as Sons of Men who have become Sons of God must learn to willingly suffer to learn obedience to become tuned to the Character of Jesus which God desires us to conformed to (Heb 12:6, 7-8, 9, 10-11). In other words, God lets us suffer earthly suffering for heavenly reward which will stay with us for eternity.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the garden outside Jerusalem mentioned in Mark 14 as the scene of the agony and arrest of Jesus, a place of great mental or spiritual suffering where He having felt his soul troubled and deeply distressed, exceedingly sorrowful unto death (Mark 14:33-34), cried out to God three times to take away if possible the cup of suffering inside and outside towards death on the Cross, yet finally submitted it finally to God's will where God never answered his prayer for coming out of suffering but supernaturally strengthened Him through an angel of God to face it (Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42-43; Matt 26:37, 38-46). What can we learn from this, there are times we cannot come out of the suffering God has planned for us, but we can sincerely pray to God and can commit ourselves in to His will to receive His strength supernaturally to carry on and face the suffering that God has kept for us to face. Let us face it and God will help us overcome it for the Glory of God just like Jesus did.

Also when on the Cross, for the first time the very God of very God (Heb 1:8, 6; Matt 22:44), felt so rejected and abandoned by the Father for our sins put on Him, in which actually our Father God turned away His face for a moment of time away from Jesus which was never ever done in all eternity past, but Father did it because of making Him the embodiment of sin on the Cross for us sinners (Isa 54:7, 8, 10, 12; Hab 1:13), that for the first time in all eternity, Jesus identified himself and humbled himself as just a worm like any other human on earth before God and called on the Father as His God saying, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46; Psa 22:6). Jesus was never afraid of physical death, but was very afraid of being forsaken for a moment in all eternity out of the deep eternal unbroken fellowship of the Trinity, for the sake of sinners like us to get justified before God, so that we could become just as if we have never sinned at all before God because of Jesus Christ's death for us.

Practical Application: In our frustration of suffering are we complaining about God, or are we praying to God to strengthen us to face it and thus overcome it supernaturally by His strength? After praying at least three times of taking suffering sincerely away from us if possible, are we willingly giving in to the will of God or are we stubbornly resisting suffering to miss the will of God for our lives? In our humiliation, are we running away from God, or are we running to God even in our frustration just like Jesus did? Do we understand the deep significance of the broken fellowship of the Trinity for which Jesus longed for or do we just think that Jesus' physical suffering is the only thing he was afraid and concerned of? Do we long for the Presence of God and unbroken fellowship with God now or do we just care about physical suffering that we face in the will of God as something to comprehend? We must follow Jesus' example.

5) Fulfillment: "I thirst." (John 19:28)

The human part of Jesus does have all the thirst just like any one of us who cannot live without water after bleeding profusely for hours together by scourging, carrying the Cross, by the thorns that made His skull bleed and become marred enough to become unrecognizable, and the nails on his feet and hands that splashed and poured blood out till it only oozed without it etc...I don't know if not for the grace of God that Jesus tasted, he would have been dead long before either by heart attack or some other failure in his organs (Heb 2:10).

But thank God, Jesus stood as a pillar and being the captain of our salvation brought many sons like us to glory and made himself perfect on behalf of us through the thirst of suffering (Heb 2:10). His thirst was not just a physical one, but a spiritual thirst for the unsaved soul like us who were lost before we met Jesus in our path to salvation. "I thirst!" is the utterance that is supposed to be uttered according to the Scripture as foretold in the Old Testament by the Messiah during the fulfillment of salvation  (Psa 22:15), but Satan trying to quench the thirst of Jesus for the souls of mankind, wanted to provide a cheap substitute of sour wine at that moment to quench his physical thirst temporarily and relieve of the physical pain, rather than quench the eternal spiritual soul pain of suffering unto death which He felt within for the souls of mankind to be redeemed permanently of which the Heavenly Father had promised to answer in His will and in His time (John 19:29; Mark 15:36; Matt 27:34), Jesus tasted the sour wine but did not drink further to alleviate the physical suffering at the last moments, and thus Satan's diabolical plans were defeated at that point of time.

Practical Application: Are you thirsting for the salvation of souls, or just thirst physically for your fleshly fulfillment in this earthly pilgrimage? Are you receiving Satan's substitute which is a deceit of the moment to take you out of the will of God, or you are rejecting your temporal comfort to fulfill the eternal promises of God in your life? In the midst of thirst and suffering in your life, are you keeping the things of God in higher priority than your own? When God has given water, Satan temporarily changes it as wine that is sour to please your flesh and reduce the suffering that God has ordained, are you accepting it to defeat, or are you rejecting it to find victory in the Lord for His Glory? You must follow Jesus' example.

6) Finale : "It is finished." (John 19:30)

The grand finale of the human past, present and future of freedom was never finalized by any man, even though every one has done his part like Martin Luther against the shackles of the Catholic dogma, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Jr against slavery and racial prejudice, Nelson Mandela against apartheid, etc...but the ultimate price for human freedom was declared when the victorious shout of Jesus echoed in all universe against sin, sickness and death which was brought in to this world by the disobedience of one human Adam, who lost his authority to Satan and became his slave forever when he disobeyed God by hearing the voice of his wife rather than God who must be revered and worshiped in obedience (Rom 5:12, 18, 22, 23). Satan always thought that no one human can ever take the authority that has become his by default of his deceit that worked well with the first humans who were Adam and Eve, but when Jesus challenged it for the first time in the wilderness having been led as the captain and forerunner of our salvation, Satan was perfectly defeated (Matt 4:1-11), yet he was looking for an opportune time to kill Jesus so that this spiritual super man who had defeated him for the first time since creation of humans (Luke 4:13), would not be present on earth to challenge him any more (Gen 3:15).

But little did Satan and his demons realize that his wisdom is foolishness to God, as he was about to make the death of Jesus to become a substitute for all humanity to be justified before God and help them be blessed to become friends with God forever and ever through their faith in Him (Rom 5:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21). If Satan and his demonic tyrants knew of this, they would not have further killed Jesus to die on the Cross the Bible reveals (1 Cor 2:7-8).

Again thank God, when Jesus cried out "It is finished," it literally in the Greek means "Paid in Full", to whom did Jesus pay through His life, it is not to Satan definitely as He is only a thief occupying himself with the stolen authority he had deceived and has taken from Adam through Eve legally (2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:12, 14; Rom 6:16; Luke 4:6). Jesus Christ clearly conveyed to the whole of humanity that the price to set free all humans from all of humans sins, sickness and Satan's bondage which leads to fear of death and eventually death which are all wages of one man's sin Adam our forefather and wages of our own sins (Rom 6:23; Heb 2:14, 15), has been paid in full with His very own sinless blood to the Father God which became a perfect sacrifice of which He demanded in his perfect righteousness and justice to set all humanity free from the ill effects of sin (Eph 5:2; Heb 10:5-7, 8, 9, 10, 12-13, 14; 7:27).

Truly it is all finished! What is it? For any sinful man to approach God and be saved from sin, for any sick person to approach Jesus Christ and be healed of his disease, for a dying man ready to go to hell to approach Jesus and change direction to go straight to heaven, for a condemned man to be set free from condemnation and be set free in all liberty in to a new life of friendship with God and restored relationship with human peers in love, for a sinful man who is oppressed under the power of sin and death to be set free from it in a moment of time to experience the power of heaven through the law of the Spirit which gives life (Rom 8:2), etc....Hallelujah! Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all humans on earth!

Truly what Satan and his evil minions thought as a bad and a black Friday to humanity has become a Good Friday, what was thought of men as a defeated day has become a victory day for all humanity, what demons thought as the most deceitful day of victory for them has finally been announced to them as the day the sound of death knell has sounded forth of their defeat against the light of God that has come to rule the world from now on for eternity ahead, the wisdom of Satan for the first time in history was showed as a foolishness before God and all men. Hurrah! Glory to God and to Jesus our Lord!

The seed of victory has been sown when Jesus cried out in joy of victory and not in defeat of death sulk in to oblivion as Satan thought he would. Today to us who are God's children by believing in the Son of God, our faith is victory (1 John 5:4, 5).

Practical Application: God has the power to turn all our defeats in to victory for us eternally, have we trusted God's wisdom over our lives and surrendered to His sweet ways? What Satan does for evil against us, God has the power to turn the tables against Satan in his omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence to use Satan's work done against us to become a victorious and glorious work of His that will be remembered for eternity ahead as a eternal excellence of a badge of honor from Him to us (Isa 60:15). Have you experienced forgiveness of sin that Jesus gives, victory over sin that He gives, and liberty over the law which He gives? Truly Jesus is expecting us to live the best life now which is the abundant life of spiritual power and authority that He provides with all the blessing of God over us (John 10:10; Eph 1:3). Truly, we must follow Jesus' example.

7) Faithfulness : "Into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46)

Finally Jesus did not die because of exhaustion, rather as He has already said, "17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”" (John 10:17-18), the moment He wanted to give up His life on earth, immediately He looked to the Father God and willingly laid down to commit His spirit in to the Father's hand in heaven. O what a Testimony, to many who think that Jesus got killed by evil men, no Jesus gave up His life is the truth that the Scripture proclaims. Usually men die of thirst, exhaustion due to the gruesome cross experience and it takes at least more than a day for them to die fully. But when the Centurion at his side saw how Jesus voluntarily gave up his spirit in to God's hand and died immediately, immediately after which the earth quake and the things that happened, they feared greatly and declared, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Matt 27:54; Mark 15:37, 39; Luke 23:46-47).

Then we should understand that both the robbers legs were broken by soldiers and both of them died bleeding to death profusely, but when he came near to Jesus and found that he was already dead after He willingly died by giving up His life for the cause of Humanity, then one of them pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out, which was a medical indication that A) he was dead and B) he didn't die as the direct result of the crucifixion, and spiritually the blood and water, represented justification and sanctification according to the law (John 19:31-37). (i.e.) "...blood for remission, water for regeneration; blood for atonement, water for purification." (Matt 26:28; John 15:3; Heb 9:14; 1 John 1:7, 9; Eph 5:26). Even in death Jesus believed the faithfulness of the Father God and committed His spirit in to His hands, to be received by Him in heaven. O what a faithful heavenly Father we have, He through our suffering and pain stands with us faithfully to make us jars of His eternal glory for eternity ahead.

Practical Application:
Through the worst of suffering our Heavenly Father has guided us, are we giving up our life entrusting willingly in to His hand, or are we suffering with complaining and grumpiness for the pain we have gone through? Even in death are we considering our Heavenly Father to be faithful to His promises? We must entrust our spirit in to the faithful hands of our Heavenly Father through Jesus and die in the peace that passes all our understanding! Truly, truly, we must follow Jesus' example because He is the one who is given to us by God as an example to follow throughout our earthly lives in exchange for a heavenly reward (1 Peter 2:21).

There’s a song by Ellis J. Crum that expresses the concept of God’s forgiveness rather succinctly:

“He paid a debt He did not owe,
I owed a debt I could not pay,
I needed someone to wash my sin away.
And now I sing that brand new song:
Amazing Grace, For Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay."

The above lines pretty well says it all!

We thank the Lord for giving us Jesus Christ our Lord to do the impossible, and make us who are implorable to become improbable but the truth of the children of God!

Praise the Lord! Glory to God!

Much Blessings.....


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