LIFE OF CHRIST
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THE ESSENCE OF THE CROSS
Life of Christ #56
It is here that our Lord Jesus not only suffered at the hand of man but also at the hand of God as He bore the sins of the whole world upon Himself that we might have forgiveness and eternal life.
This morning we will center on the Essence of the Cross, which I feel is reflected in the 7 last words of our Lord Jesus Christ. These words are the recorded words of Jesus when He was on the cross.
1. A WORD OF PETITION – Luke 23:33-34
Luke 23:33-34 - And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Jesus had preached forgiveness as a way of life. Luke 6;27-28
On the cross Jesus practiced what he had preached.
He also fulfilled prophecy by doing so. Isaiah 53:12
Jesus demonstrates just how far we should go in forgiving others. In ignorance the soldiers had mistreated and crucified the very Lord of Glory!
In ignorance these soldiers had crucified an innocent man.
In ignorance these soldiers murdered God!
If Jesus could forgive such gross mistreatment, how much more should we forgive others when they mistreat us! Ephesians 4:32
2. A WORD OF PROMISE – Luke 23:39-43
As you know, there were two thieves crucified with Jesus.
At first both taunted Jesus that if He was who He said He was, He should save Himself and them.
But as Jesus suffered there on the cross, He did so mostly in silence. He didn’t curse and swear. He didn’t yell at His persecutors. He didn’t lash out. One of the thieves took notice. The other thief started in again on Jesus.
Luke 23:39 - And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
The other thief actually rebuked his fellow thief.
Luke 23:40-41 - But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
“Don’t you fear God?” the thief asked.
He also added that his partner and he were justly crucified.
He admitted they deserved the punishment for what they had done.
And then he added that Jesus didn’t deserve the punishment because he was innocent.
Luke 23:42 - And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
The man had already admitted his guilt, and now he calls Jesus “Lord” and asks to be remembered when Jesus comes into His Kingdom.
This man had placed His faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Jesus answers with one of the most wonderful promises of all Scripture.
Luke 23:43 - And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Jesus was dying for the sins of that thief while they were speaking.
Jesus looked ahead and saw that the thief’s sins would be paid for.
He heard the thief’s confession of faith, and knew it to be sincere.
He made the promise that that very day the thief would be with Him in paradise.
The promise of Heaven was not just for that thief.
The promise of Heaven is for all, who, in humility acknowledge their sins and total unworthiness and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. It is the one who by faith applies the atoning work of Christ to their own lives that is saved! John 3:16, John 3:36
How about you? Have you turned to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith? Have you claimed the promise of Heaven for yourself?
3. A WORD OF PROVISION – John 19:25-27
Picture Jesus filled with physical, emotional, and spiritual pain! Picture Jesus suffering terribly. In all of His stress not only does he think about a poor lost sinner, the thief, but He thinks of the needs of His mother.
John 19:25-27 - Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
The relationship between Jesus and Mary was changing forever. On the cross Jesus was literally becoming her Savior and Lord, worthy of all her faith and adoration. He would not be physically available to provide the care needed. And so Jesus turns to the one who was probably Jesus’ closest friend, the Apostle John and commits his mother’s physical care into His hands.
Some may think that becoming a Christian relieves us of responsibility. After all, we don’t have to work for our salvation. But becoming a Christian gives us new responsibilities to love and care for other Christians. Jesus wants us to help meet the needs of other believers. Galatians 6:9-10
4. A WORD OF PAIN – Mark 15:33-34
Mark 15:33-34 - And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
The sixth hour was noon. There was a three hour darkness that God imposed on the land until about 3:00 P.M. while Jesus was on the cross.
The darkness hid his suffering from public view.
The darkness was also an indication that God was indeed turning His back on His own Son.
In those hours Jesus bore the sins of the whole world.
He was punished for every sin that had ever been committed or would be committed.
He experienced the wrath of God poured out upon Him so that we might have forgiveness and eternal life.
The words my “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?” were quoted from Psalm 22:1. Imagine the anguish Jesus experienced in being separated from His literal Father! Imagine the punishment inflicted on the Lord Jesus for every murder, every lie, every theft, every bad word, every bad attitude, and every unkindness that ever existed!
If you’ve ever felt abandoned, you can only begin to learn how Jesus felt. He who only knew fellowship with God the Father and God the Spirit was abandoned by them as He suffered for you!
Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21
My friend, don’t take lightly the pain that Jesus suffered for you that you might be forgiven.
5. A WORD FOR PROPHECY – John 19:28-29
John 19:28-29 - After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
In spite of all the suffering that Jesus had been through, He was still in control. And he made sure that he fulfilled the prophecies concerning his death down to the last detail.
Psalm 69:21 - 1They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Not even one verse of Scripture was overlooked as our Lord fulfilled prophecy to the letter.
This encourages me. My Lord has taken care of every detail of my salvation and eternal life. He hasn't missed a thing. And to think that even now He's preparing a place for me in Heaven, I can be comfortable, knowing that he won't miss a thing. John 14:2-3
6. A WORD OF PRONOUNCEMENT – John 19:30
John 19:30 - When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
IT IS FINISHED MEANS:
1. EVERY APPOINTMENT KEPT
2. EVERY MIRACLE PERFORMED
3. EVERY LESSON TAUGHT
4. EVERY PROPHECY FULFILLED
5. EVERY SIN PAID FOR.
The work of Christ is complete.
Hebrews 10:14 - For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
The shout “IT IS FINISHED!” was certainly a shout of victory!
7. A WORD OF PEACE – Luke 23:46
Luke 23:46 - And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Jesus had paid it all.
He was no longer separated from His Heavenly Father.
He could commend His spirit to God, because He was going home to God!
He actually died in peace, knowing that He had done all that He had been asked to do.
And notice that Jesus was in control to the end.
“He gave up the ghost.” He willed to die. They didn’t take Jesus life, although they meant to. He gave it!
What about you?
Will you die in peace?
Will you die in peace because you know Jesus as your Savior?
Will you die in peace as a Christian, knowing that you’ve done God has wanted you to do with your life?
We have seen the essence of the cross.
A WORD OF PETITION
A WORD OF PROMISE
A WORD OF PROVISION
A WORD OF PAIN
A WORD OF PROPHECY
A WORD OF PRONOUNCEMENT
A WORD OF PEACE