If God, the King of the Universe, the King of all Time, walked among us and was led, by people He created, to His death, the last words He said are ones I want to pay close attention to.
Luke records most of these words. On His way to Golgotha, He says,
“27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.
28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’
31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” – Luke 23:27-31
Jesus didn’t want people weeping for Him. Instead, His heart was breaking for others, on the day in the future when men would lose heart completely, a day when so many, with hope stripped and conscience seared, would prefer to be crushed by rocks than have to face what’s coming. “Weep for these,” Jesus says.
Then comes the moment of crucifixion. When many of us are hurt, we want to retaliate. The other night, I accidentally stepped on my daughter’s foot. Angry, she turned and stomped on my foot as hard as she could. My natural response was retaliation—I wanted to stomp right back! I lifted my foot and remembered, while it was in the air, Jesus’ response when He was hurt:
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34
So I put my foot down gently beside my other. But boy is it hard not to retaliate sometimes!
Those crucified with Jesus added insults to injury—literally. There Jesus was hanging on the cross, and these men, also hanging on crosses, responded out of their hurt and hurled insults at Him.
Jesus doesn’t even correct them. He doesn’t gloat that He’ll be going to heaven. He turns to the one thief who repented and asked to be remembered and says,
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:43
If you’ve ever had the wrong response to a person or circumstance, know that it’s a common condition among human beings. But as quick as we repent, He is that quick to invite us to be with Him in Paradise.
Have you ever had people revile you when you did nothing wrong? It’s an awful feeling, and it’s so hard to NOT retaliate. But know that you are NOT alone! You have Someone who went through that too, and He doesn’t want to compare, or tell you to get over it. He wants to walk through it WITH you!
Even in His most painful moment, Jesus didn’t think of Himself:
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. – John 19:26-27
He thought of His mother and wanted to make sure she was cared for. That’s a level of selflessness I hope to achieve one day!
Then came His one thought for Himself— “I thirst.”
He made all the water in the universe, and in that moment there wasn’t a drop for Him.
There are times we thirst with our whole being for a drop of kindness. When no one else will give it, Jesus is there to give it to us.
The most gut wrenching words of the whole bible are those Jesus cried out when the world went dark, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” In my next post, I will go into these words in further depth, but suffice it to say here that this was a genuine cry of His heart. He wasn’t emotionless at that moment. No, far from it. He felt utterly and completely alone in that moment. What He felt was the depth of loneliness that people all across the planet are terrified of feeling—a palpable loneliness that punches a hole straight through you. He plumbed that depth so He could walk with YOU through your loneliest hour, and all other hours around it.
“Father, into your hands, I commit My Spirit!” This, the second to last word from Jesus, is absolutely astounding in light of the words spoken before it. Even though He couldn’t feel His Father, He knew His Father would receive whatever it was Jesus gave to Him. Jesus threw Himself headlong into the Father’s arms, trusting the Father, even at His lowest and loneliest hour.
“It is finish!” And so it is! He ran the race by setting before Him what brought Him great joy: YOU (See Hebrews 12:2-3). You were the JOY that He sat before. I am what brings Him joy! And He carried through the most difficult task to completion. He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might be coheirs with Him! And it is finished—there’s no more work to do, except to trust in Him.