In the last 24 hours, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, mocked, beaten, condemned and hung on a cross to die. According to eyewitness accounts, the following were his final words before he died.
Forgiveness. Jesus’ first words on the cross were “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Even in agony Jesus embodied God’s amazing love, echoing his earlier words from the Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Imagine for a moment that you’re Jesus. You have one last meal with your disciples. What lesson do you want to leave them with and how will you teach it?
In describing the scene, one eyewitness began his account with these words:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. (John 13:3)
Jesus left the region of Tyre and traveled through the region of the Decapolis, a league of ten cities east of the Jordan River. Some people brought Jesus a man who was deaf and could barely talk and begged Jesus to heal him.
Jesus took the man aside, away from the crowd. Here’s what happened next:
Jesus was staying in a house near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman came to him, pleading, ”Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
Jesus said nothing at first. His disciples came and urged him, “Tell her to go away — she’s bothering us with all her begging.”
Jesus then gave a rather provocative response:
The religious leaders came to Jesus with a rather accusatory question:
“Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”