We all look to Jesus this week as we remember His love and sacrifice for us. In that final week, Jesus was fulfilling the prophecies from centuries before and the eternal will of His Father from before the creation of the world. What was rushing through His mind and heart as He hung on the cross that day?
We have hints, glimpses as He struggled to utter just a few phrases that those standing near Him captured for us:
- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
- Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43
- Behold your son! ... Behold your mother! John 19:26,27
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46
- I thirst. John 19:28
- It is finished. John 19:29,30
- Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Luke 23:46
The first thing on His heart was forgiveness and love for those who had condemned, cruelly beaten, mocked, tortured, and finally crucified Him. He thought of the promise of paradise, even for the penitent criminal being punished at His side. He thought of His mother, who would need immediate and special comfort and care. He felt the weight of the sin of humanity and the separation from God that it brings. He felt the full agony of His pain and humanity as His body cried for water and relief. He felt the sting of death and a sense of fulfillment as He breathed His last and entered into the arms of His heavenly Father.
But the central cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” gives us much more than a hint of His heart. He was quoting the first verse of Psalm 22. He was giving us a glimpse into history, into the present, and into the future.
Even in that hour, when He was hanging on the cross, Jesus could see those for whom He was dying. He could see the millions living in unreached villages who would respond to the Gospel when they finally hear His message. He knew that they would love and obey Him.
Serving the Savior,
Psalm 22:22-31 (NIV)
“I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him – may your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.
All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him – those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!”
Please consider an Easter gift to help the Gospel message reach the nations. Christ died for them and we work daily to see them reached.