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)
It’s Tuesday. Jesus is on his way back into Jerusalem. According to eyewitness reports:
Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:18-22)
Jesus doesn’t have much time left so he packs two powerful lessons into one.