A Short Passover/Easter Meditation
Just as at Golgotha, mockers passed the Saviour jeering and wagging their heads, so today those who despise the mystery of Divine love find fault and blindly scoff at the richest treasure of all.
Yet the 4 Gospels together present a flawless tapestry of witness to the glory of Jehoshua the Messiah, each writer like a string player in quartet contributing a sweet theme to the whole.
Here are the seven priceless jewels which fell from the Messiah’s lips as he died. How important His last words are, simple, terse, but each extraordinarily profound.
1. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Luke 23.34
Words spoken in the fire of suffering often unmask our inner thoughts. Here in the white hot furnace of agony, Christ’s reveal His kindness and goodness. Meekness is often mistaken for weakness, but which saint or prophet ever showed strength like this? Even at the execution of violent hatred, with nails driven into his limbs, not afterwards or on reflection, even then, Jesus shows unique dignity by praying for mercy for His haters.
This first word like a headline exhibits the character of the cross – a priestly work, intercession for the undeserving and the hateful, mercy for God’s bitterest enemies. Jesus' blood speaks better things than Abel's, despite all the wickedness and horror perpetrated in His name.
2. “Woman, behold thy son!”....,“Behold thy mother!” John 19.25-6
How horribly real now were old Simeon’s words about the infant to Mary, ‘a sword will pierce your own soul’ (Lk.2.35). With what tenderness Jesus entrusts His dear mother, not to His still unbelieving brothers (Jn.7.5, Ps.69.8), but to His beloved disciple, whom He knew would best pour consolation and kindness into her wounded heart.
3. “Verily I say to you, To day you shall be with me in paradise”. Luke 23.43
One guilty thief knew he thoroughly deserved death, but what amazing insight changed him from just another scoffer to a loyal subject of the Crucified, as he intensely watched Jesus’ extraordinary behaviour. How much more surprised he is to hear an immediate, emphatic declaration of pardon and of glory - verily is ‘Amen’ in the original. Here is the Gospel’s full glory- free mercy and grace even to a vile sinner who repents.
4. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27.46, Mark 15.34
Three facts emphasise the importance of this climactic cry: it is the only saying quoted by both Matthew and Mark, it is the only one to occur in more than one in Gospel, it only is given in Jesus’ heart language, Aramaic, then translated.
What is the meaning of this mysterious wail? Even the Omniscient Son cries, ‘Why?’
Here is the heart of the cross – sinless Jesus made sin for sinners that they might be made sinless in Him. The cross is a substitution of forsaken sin-bearer for His people, the true Scapegoat, the innocent Passover Lamb slain for redemption from our sin’s cursedness.
King David wrote 1000 years before, seeing the scene by the Spirit of prophecy, Psalm 22.1.
5. “I thirst” John 19.28
Fully man, fully God, Jesus began His ministry with intense hunger and ended with intense thirst. He has tasted all our woes and frailties to the dregs!
6. “It is finished!” John 19.30
Hear His final triumph cry, given in a loud voice. His work is perfect and all our spiritual barrenness and famine is met in Christ and Him alone. Now, as one holy prophet saw 700 years before, He will see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied (Isaiah 53.11).
7. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”. Luke 23.46
Face to face with the
last enemy, death, Jesus ‘deposits’ His life and spirit in the
Father’s hands with peace. No terror of judgement
or of Hell for Him, for sin has no
foothold for accusation at all in Him.
He alone is a safe refuge from certain judgement for those who trust solely in Him, like the penitent thief, and follow Him.
else is worthy to hold the keys of death and Hell?
Seek the Messiah and find peace with God in His wounds, by the free gift of His life.