Jesus’ Words from the Cross – Part One:
One of my favourite Christian authors is Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. This old Baptist minister said, “It was most fitting that every word of our Lord upon the cross should be gathered up and preserved. (They) have frequently been the subject of devout meditation.” Today’s devotional will be longer than usual, but I pray that you will take the time to read through it in its entirety today, and meditate upon the words that our Lord spoke on the Cross. There is so much encouragement we can gain from each statement Jesus made. The devotional thoughts are the words of Charles Spurgeon…
The First Word – Forgiveness: (From Luke 23:34)
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
OUR LORD WAS at that moment enduring the first pains of crucifixion; the executioners had just then driven the nails through his hands and feet. He must have been, moreover, greatly depressed, and brought into a condition of extreme weakness by the agony of the night in Gethsemane, and by the scourgings and cruel mockings which he had endured all through the morning…Yet neither the weakness of the past, nor the pain of the present, could prevent him from continuing in prayer…Beloved, what an example our Lord herein presents to us. Let us continue in prayer so long as our heart beats; let no excess of suffering drive us away from the throne of grace, but rather let it drive us closer to it. More remarkable, however, is the fact that our Lord’s prayer to his Father was not for himself…See ye not what a great heart is here revealed. What a soul of compassion was in the Crucified.
As Christ was, so his church is to be in this world. Christ came into this world not to be ministered unto, but to minister, not to be honoured, but to save others. His church, when she understands her work, will perceive that she is not here to gather to herself wealth or honour, or to seek any temporal aggrandisement and position; she is here unselfishly to live, and if need be, unselfishly to die for the deliverance of the lost sheep, the salvation of lost men. I believe that the more the church of God strains after, before God, the forgiveness of sinners, and the more she seeks in her life prayer to teach sinners what sin is, and what the blood of Christ is, and what the hell that must follow if sin be not washed out, and what the heaven is which will be ensured to all those who are cleansed from sin, the more she keeps to this the better.
The Second Word – Salvation: (From Luke 23:39-44)
“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me inParadise.” Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.”
The story of the salvation of the dying thief is a standing instance of the power of Christ to save, and of his abundant willingness to receive all that come to him, in whatever plight they may be. Once more, this man whom Christ saved at last was a man who could do no good works. If salvation had been by good works, he could not have been saved; for he was fastened hand and foot to the tree of doom. It was all over with him as to any act or deed of righteousness. He could say a good word or two, but that was all; he could perform no acts; and if his salvation had depended on an active life of usefulness, certainly he never could have been saved. He was a sinner also, who could not exhibit a long-enduring repentance for sin, for he had so short a time to live. He could not have experienced bitter convictions, lasting over months and years, for his time was measured by moments, and he was on the borders of the grave. His end was very near, and yet the Saviour could save him, and did save him so perfectly, that the sun went not down till he was in paradise with Christ. Furthermore, know that if you have believed in Jesus you are prepared for heaven. It may be that you will have to live on earth twenty, or thirty, or forty years to glorify Christ; and, if so, be thankful for the privilege; but if you do not live another hour, your instantaneous death would not alter the fact that he that believeth in the Son of God is ready for heaven. The question never is whether a death-bed repentance is accepted if it be sincere: the question is—Is it sincere? If it be so, if the man dies five minutes after his first act of faith, he is as safe as if he had served the Lord for fifty years. If your faith is true, if you die one moment after you have believed in Christ, you will be admitted into paradise, even if you shall have enjoyed no time in which to produce good works and other evidences of grace.
The Third Word – Humanity of Christ: (from John 19:25-27)
Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Woman, he is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “She is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
Sad, sad spectacle. Now was fulfilled the word of Simeon to Mary, “Yes, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Did the Saviour mean, as he gave a glance to John, “Woman, thou art losing one Son; but yonder stands another, who will be a son to thee in my absence”? “Woman, behold thy son.” “Take her as thy mother, stand thou in my place, care for her as I have cared for her.” Those who love Christ best shall have the honour of taking care of his church and of his poor. Never say of any poor relative or friend, the widow or the fatherless, “They are a great burden to me.” Oh, no. Say, “They are a great honour to me; my Lord has entrusted them to my care.” John thought so; let us think so. Jesus selected the disciple he loved best to take his mother under his care.
Part #2 tomorrow…
p.s. if you would like to read more of the sermons and books by Charles Spurgeon, you can find them online here: www.spurgeon.org.
Pastor Chris Jordan