OceanSide church of Christ
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THE SAYINGS OF THE CRUCIFIXION (19)
Jesus’s Last Words
Matthew 27:46-54; Mark 15:34-36; Luke 23:46a; John 19:25-30a
Victor M. Eskew
A. In our last study of “The Sayings of the Crucifixion,” we learned that “from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45).
1. Many of the individuals who surrounded the cross probably went home.
2. There is no activity around the cross during this three hour period.
3. It was an eerie time. About the only thing that would be heard were the groans of the three men on the cross as they moved up and down to breath.
B. At the ninth hour, light appears again. In Scripture the focus is upon Jesus and the words He speaks as He nears death.
I. THE CARE OF HIS MOTHER (John 19:25-26)
A. As the sun began to shine, John tells us of a very heart-touching moment that took place at the cross. Jesus looked at the foot of the cross and stared into the eyes of His darling mother.
1. Mary had been there from the beginning.
2. A mother’s love does not desert her child.
3. Can you imagine how Mary felt as she saw her Son and heard his agony?
Can you imagine how she must have felt as she saw how others treated her firstborn?
B. Jesus also saw another whom he dearly loved, John the apostle.
C. Jesus’ understood that He had a responsibility to His mother. While hanging in agony, He took care of her for the rest of her life (John 19:25-26).
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!
1. As I read Jesus’ words, two passages came to mind.
a. The first was from the Ten Commandments, part of the Law of Moses under which Jesus lived (Exo. 20:12).
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
b. The second passage is found in the New Testament and applies to us (I Tim. 5:8).
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
2. This lesson needs to be impressed upon the minds of all children. Honoring their parents, including caring for them when they are in need, is part of God’s will for the home.
D. There is something else that impressed me in the text (John 19:26b).
And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
1. John had a huge burden placed upon him by the Lord.
2. Mary was not his physical mother, but Jesus charged him to care for her.
3. He did not hesitate to obey. “And from that hour…”
4. LESSON: How many of us would be willing to bring another person’s mother into our home and care for her until death?
II. THE CRY TO THE FATHER AND PSALM 22 (Matt. 27:46-47; Mark 15:34-35)
A. Jesus attention turned heavenward, and Matthew and Mark tells us that He “cried with a loud voice” (Matt. 27:46a; Mark 15:34a).
B. The cry Jesus made has puzzled people for a long, long time (Matt. 27:46b; Mark 15:34b).
Eli, eli, lama sabachthani, that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
1. This seems like a cry involving a lack of faith from the Son of God.
2. Others see it as an expression coming from the human side of Jesus Christ.
3. Both of those explanations just do not seem to fit the character of the one who is hanging on the cross.
4. Not long ago, I heard a wonderful explanation for these words.
a. These words form the opening line of Psalm 22.
b. When Jesus cried out, He was not expressing any doubt within Himself at all.
c. What He was really doing was pointing all of those Jews assembled at the cross to a well-known Messianic hymn.
1) The psalm is filled with expressions that were being fulfilled right in from of them that very day.
a) Vs. 8-9
…they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
b) V. 16
…they pierced my hands and my feet.
c) V. 18
They part my garments among them, and cast lost upon my vesture.
2) Jesus wanted the Jews to see that He was the fulfillment of this prophecy. He wanted them to understand that He was the Messiah for whom they had been waiting all of this time.
C. Sadly, they did not pick up on the meaning of His cry (Matt. 27:47; Mark 15:35).
And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.
1. Psalm 22 flew right over their heads.
2. All they thought they heard was Jesus crying for Elijah to come and deliver Him.
III. THE CALL, SAYING: “I THIRST” (John 19:28-30a; Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36a)
A. The next words of Jesus are interesting as you study the context (John 19:28).
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
1. The loss of blood, the exertion of energy, the lack of water, and the heat of the sun would have definitely caused Jesus to suffer extreme thirst.
2. This cry was a simple fact: “I thirst!”
3. NOTE: This is the only statement from the lips of Jesus that actually speak to the agony He was suffering on the cross.
B. Notice the text tells us: “…that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”
1. Jesus was once again calling attention to Messianic prophecies.
a. Psalm 69:21
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
b. Psalm 22:15
…my tongue cleaveth to my jaws…
2. Two points are important:
a. Jesus continues to fulfill the prophecies about Himself as the Messaih.
b. Those who were around the cross should have been able to recognize Jesus that day, but their minds were closed to what was being said.
C. It is interesting that those at the cross heard His word, but they still did not understand the meaning of what He as trying to say.
1. One of the individuals heard His cry for thirst and attempted to satisfy it (Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36a; John 19:29).
And straightway one of them ran, took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
2. Most, however, were not concerned about His thirst. They were still intrigued with His supposed cry for Elias (Matt. 27:49; Mark 15:36b).
The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
IV. THE CONCLUSION IS ACKNOWLEDGED (John 19:30)
A. Jesus took a drink of the vinegar, then made another statement.
When Jesus therefore received the vinegar, he said, It is finished…
B. It is finished.
1. What had taken hundreds of years to bring to pass was done.
2. The work of redemption had been accomplished.
3. Divine love had been fully manifested.
4. Jesus was now at the conclusion of His earthly mission.
5. All that the Father had desired of Him He had fulfilled.
6. The pain, the anguish, the shame, and the suffering were over.
C. Have you ever done something difficult, reached the conclusion, and said: “It is finished?” How did you feel? I wonder how Jesus must have felt at that very moment in time.
D. It was finished for Jesus. On the other hand, the work of the apostles was just about to begin. What they had been trained for during that three and a half year period was about to be put into practice. They, however, were not aware of that at this time.
V. THE COMMITAL INTO GOD’S HANDS (Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46)
A. Jesus uttered only one more statement on the cross. Luke is the only writer to record the actual words (Luke 23:46).
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit…”
B. Do those sound like the words of a dying man who wondered why God was so far from Him?
1. No! He knew His Father was near.
2. He knew His spirit was about to separate from His body.
3. His body would continue on the cross, but His spirit would be safe in the hands of His loving Father.
C. LESSON: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of us upon our deathbed could make that statement? “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.” It is an expression of faith that something lay beyond the experience of death.
A. We conclude this lesson, just seconds before Jesus dies.
B. It almost seems cruel to leave Him alive on the cross until our next lesson.
C. At His death, several interesting things happen. We will leave His death for our next lesson.