Seven Statements of Jesus on the Cross

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Consider 1 John 3:18, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” While this is true, sometimes the words we speak can be far more powerful, especially when those words confirm or deny the life we have claimed to live and image we have cultivated.

Think of a person who has claimed to be a Christian all their life; living faithfully as the Bible teaches; then, when faced with persecution and the possibility of suffering or death at the hands of hateful enemies, recants their faith and says, “I never knew Jesus.”

The apostle Paul knew this; as part of his defense before King Agrippa he said (Acts 26:11), “I frequently had them punished in the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme. In my raging fury against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

Jesus spent His entire ministry teaching through words and actions. Throughout His ministry, His words and actions complemented each other. The Bible tells us that Jesus went willingly to the cross and died for our sins. There are seven recorded statements Jesus made from the cross, each one helping confirm everything He did and taught.

(Luke 23:34), Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.

The first words of Jesus are not about His suffering, or the unjustness of His death; rather, they are out of concern for others. Did God answer that prayer? Even those who put Jesus on the cross, spit on Him and reviled Him, cast lots for His garments and mocked Him were given the opportunity to come to Christ in faith and be forgiven.

(Luke 23:43), Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.

Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One of them asked Jesus (Luke 23:42), “remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” This man would never have the opportunity to seek forgiveness after the resurrection, but even while dying Jesus had compassion. In His final moments Jesus cared enough to forgive a lost, but repentant soul.

(John 19:26-27) (26) When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (27) Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

I wonder what it would have been like to be Jesus looking down from the cross and seeing His mother. Even as He suffered He did what He could to care for her.

(Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

This is a quote from Psalm 22:1 and of all the words Jesus spoke, these capture, I think, the true essence of what He suffered. The physical suffering was horrific, we all know that. The spiritual suffering was unimaginable. Jesus paid the price for us. The whole price. He didn’t only suffer for us physically, He suffered the SPIRITUAL pain we were due as well.

(John 19:28) After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”

This is the only thing He says concerning His physical pain, and even this was designed to fulfill prophecy (Psalm 22:15; 69:21) and was thus uttered for OUR benefit.

(John 19:29-30) Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

This statement and the one that follows constitute the last words of Jesus prior to His death. They are beautiful in their simplicity and their meaning. This points the eternal purpose of God to redeem fallen man, how God worked through history to bring all this about, and how Jesus has faithfully became a sacrifice for our sins so we could have the hope of salvation and eternal life with Him.

(Luke 23:46) And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.

This is a fulfillment of the prophecy made about Him in Psalm 31:5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.” Jesus trusted the Father. He trusted Him in life and in death. He put His own life and the eternal fate of the world in the hands of a trustworthy God.

The derisive insult in Matt 27:43, “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God” is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:8. The people asked the question mockingly, but Jesus proved it to be true; He did trust God and God DID rescue Him as proven by the resurrection.

There was no hypocrisy in Jesus, no wavering, no hatred, no selfishness. The words He spoke at His death confirmed the truth of who He was and is.

Two passages seem like they would make a fitting conclusion:

Philippians 2:8-9, (8) He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (9) For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.

Hebrews 5:8-9, (8) Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. (9) And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…

Pearl of Great Price: Worth More Than the World

This is the third in a series of three blog posts on the “Pearl of Great Price”. Read the first one and the second one

Eternal life is worth more than anything this world has to offer. It is worth more than EVERYTHING this world can give.

Mark 8:36-37, (36) For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (37) For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

The problem is, our sin cannot be erased, and the penalty cannot be revoked. If we had all the money ever printed, all the treasure accumulated in the world for all time, all the good works performed by all the great men and women of all history, it wouldn’t be enough.

Rom 7:24, Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Thank God, Jesus Christ paid the price we could not, and having paid the price, he offers us the chance to share in the blessings of His kingdom.

Romans 8:1-2, (1) Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:20, For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Galatians 3:13, Christ redeemed us [bought us back, paid the price] from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE“—.

Revelation 5:9b-10, (9) … You [Christ] were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (10) You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.

Since the kingdom of heaven is worth everything we have and more, wouldn’t it be worth committing ourselves to Christ, trusting Him with our salvation, obeying His commands, and living for Him, firm in the hope of eternal life to come?

John 3:3, … unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 6:45, … Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

John 8:24, … unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

Luke 13:3, … unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Matthew 10:32, … everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

Mark 16:16, He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…

Matthew 28:19-20, (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Jesus has told us what He requires from those who would seek entry into the kingdom and reap the reward of eternal life with God. Can we do any less than respond to His call?

Pearl of Great Price: Created for a Purpose

This is the second in a series of three blog posts on the “Pearl of Great Price”. Read the first one here

Man and woman were created in God’s image (Gen 1:27)—they were created for a purpose. We may never know everything, but we can know that part of our purpose was to have fellowship, a close intimate relationship, and unity with God.

  1. God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” (Gen 1:27) It was a deliberate act of God’s will.
  2. God formed man (Gen 2:7). “Formed” implies the use of His hands, much like a potter molding clay into a perfect vessel.
  3. God breathed life into man; our life comes directly from God (Gen 2:7).
  4. God put man in a place designed for us, a place where God could be with His creation (Gen 3:8).

When Adam sinned, he lost everything: God, paradise, purpose, hope, and life (Gen 3:8-19). Our own sin separates us from God and destroys the relationship we were created to have. We will live out our physical lives until we return to the dust from which God formed us (Gen 3:19). But there is a part of us, our spirit, given to us by God (Eccl 12:7), that will go on, never to fulfill our great purpose of fellowship with God. Instead, we are doomed to exist in eternal darkness, separated from the God who created us.

Jesus came to save us from that horrible fate. He came to restore our relationship with God, to renew the unity we once had (John 17:21-22). He came to bring about the complete realization of what God has always intended for mankind, eternal life in the presence of God.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5, (1) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, (3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. (4) For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. (5) Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

1 John 3:2, Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

What would you give to dwell with God for all eternity … to live in His presence, in unimaginable light … to have all pain, all fear, all the suffering and struggles of this world taken away, absorbed into glory … to know the peace of mind, body, soul, and spirit, that comes when we are finally and truly what we were created to be,

What would that be worth?

Pearl of Great Price: The Kingdom of Heaven

This is the first in a series of three blog posts on the “Pearl of Great Price”. Read the second one here.

In Matthew 13:45-46, Jesus presents a parable designed to illustrate the great value of the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 13:45-46, (45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, (46) and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

To the one who understands value, this “pearl of great price” is worth more than anything in the world, more than everything we have; but what is the kingdom, and what about it could possibly be of such surpassing value?

Beginning with Matt 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Jesus mentions the kingdom in more than 100 verses (NASB). Clearly, it was an important theme of His ministry. Some things we learn about the kingdom from the New Testament are:

  • It is not an earthly, physical kingdom (John 18:36).
  • It would come while many who saw Jesus were alive (Mark 9:1).
  • It is an eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11; 1 Cor 15:24).
  • It is made up of those who have been “born againborn of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet 1:3-4, 22-23).
  • It contains the redeemed, those forgiven of their sins (Col 1:13-14).

In the book of Acts, we learn that the kingdom was established after Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven. Peter confirms this in his first sermon (Acts 2:22-36). We also learn that with the coming of the kingdom came the preaching of the gospel of Christ. Acts begins with the disciples asking if the time to restore the kingdom had come (Acts 1:6) and ends with Paul preaching the kingdom in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). Paul preached the kingdom, but he also preached the gospel (Acts 14:15, 21; 16:10; 20:24; Rom 1:1, 9, 15-16; 2 Cor 11:7).

In Rom 1:16 Paul says that the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” In Col 1:1-14, he says the gospel brings “the hope laid up for [us] in heaven [eternal life, Titus 1:2-3],” and that in Christ we “have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” and have been transferred “to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

What is the great value of the kingdom of heaven, the “pearl of great price?”  It is, at its core, that those in the kingdom of heaven are the ones who have embraced the gospel message. Jesus died for our sins, and through His blood and the power of His resurrection we can have forgiveness of sins, a restored relationship with God, and the hope of eternal life with God.

We were created for this purpose from the beginning … to have fellowship with God. Because of sin, we lost everything. Through Christ, God has made it possible to restore that relationship … in this life, and for eternity.

Rooted in Christ

We are in a battle for our souls. There is a world out there that is trying to take us away from our faith in Christ. And it’s doing everything in its power to destroy our faith. We can and we must stand strong against all the forces of darkness that threaten our salvation. Ephesians 6: 10-13 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

When Paul wanted to encourage his readers to stand firm, he took them back to Jesus.

Colossians 2:6-8 says, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

We need to be firmly rooted in Christ. Jesus is the foundation of our faith. He is the rock on which we stand as Christians.