(Part 1 of 2)
John 12:32-33… “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die” (KJV). Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” The message of the cross must burn in our hearts. Our time on earth and our time in eternity depend on it. The death of Jesus on the cross was both natural and supernatural. It was a real death. Acts 2:23… “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Peter tells us that Jesus had no sin (1 Peter 1:19 and 2:22). John tells us that Jesus was pure (1 John 3:5). Paul writes that Jesus knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). The death of Jesus Christ was marked out beforehand. Revelation 13:8 teaches that Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Before sin ever entered the world, God had planned salvation. The death of Christ was supernatural. Jesus said in John 10:17-18, that He laid down his life willingly. The seven words that Jesus uttered on the cross bear witness to the supernatural character of the death of Christ. We too can learn from those words…
I. The Word of Forgiveness
Luke 23:34… Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (KJV). Man had done his worst. Jesus was rejected. Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 53:12 that Jesus made intercession for the transgressors. Jesus also forgave people prior to the cross. Note Matthew 9:2, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:6 states, “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” Sin can be caused by ignorance: “for they know not what they do.” Leviticus 5:15-16 teaches that “if a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance,” atonement had to be made (Numbers 15:22-27). People deliberately crucified Jesus, but Jesus said to the Father, “they know not what they do.” We can learn from this. We too must learn to forgive those who trespass against us. Matthew 6:14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Note also Luke 17:3-4… “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” When Christ prayed for forgiveness, He struck at the root of human need. An unforgiving spirit causes many troubles in life. 1 John 1:9 teaches, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
II. The Word of Salvation
Luke 23:39-43… “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 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. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (KJV). These words were spoken in response to a request by a sinner. This was no accident that two should be crucified at the same time that Jesus was crucified. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). One of the two was unrepentant; the other believed in Jesus. The same circumstances are prevailing today. There is no salvation to the hard-core unrepentant. When the gospel is preached, two men can listen to the same truth. One is moved by it; the other is not. One may shut his heart; the other may open his heart. One is set free; the other is not. Why? Because God does not destroy human responsibility. We too in our generation must offer the word of salvation to others. There are malefactors all around us. Peter teaches in 1 Peter 3:15, ”But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Some folks may need the gospel message of salvation… lead them to Christ. Others may need a word of cheer… cheer them by a word of exhortation. Others may need healing… heal them by your prayer of faith. All of these are words of salvation.
III. The Word of Affection
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” (KJV). There was a lot of grief around the cross. Hurting people were everywhere. Mary had experienced great joy at the birth of Jesus, but now at his death there was sorrow. When Jesus saw those who were hurting, He was always moved with compassion. In time of difficulties, a word of affection is in order. Anointed relationships heal the sorrowful. Natural ties in life are as important as spiritual ties. There is a lesson in these words of Jesus for us today. Care, share, unite, and fellowship. It’s a word from the cross.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
Copyright © 2012 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved