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This week, we’re walking in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross and beyond.
In the last 24 hours, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, mocked, beaten, condemned and hung on a cross to die. According to eyewitness accounts, these were his final words:
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).
Salvation. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One hurled insults at him. The other repented and begged, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
Compassion. Seeing his mother, Mary, and the disciple John grieving near the cross, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27) John followed Jesus’ instructions and took Mary into his home.
Forsaken. Witnesses reported that, beginning at noon, “darkness came over the land” for three hours. Then, at about 3:00 p.m., Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46) Jesus endured the darkness of separation from the Father to pay the penalty for our sins.
Thirst. Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) Jesus thirsted on the cross for us so that we would never have to thirst again (Revelation 7:16). As he said earlier: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37).
Finished. Jesus declared: “It is finished.” (John 19:30), conquering sin forever (Hebrews 10:5-13).
Surrender. Finally, Jesus cried out, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” and then breathed his last (Luke 23:46). Jesus submitted to his Father’s will up to his very last breath. And he did it for us.