In my previous post, I shared the first three statements spoken by Jesus Christ while hanging on the cross (His “deathbed”) and making atonement for sin. Listed below are the other four statements in their chronological order.
4. A Word of SEPARATION – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Matthew 27.46)
After hanging on the cross for three hours, darkness blanketed the earth. The kind of dead, black darkness that disallows you to see your hand in front of your face.
When forsaken by His brothers, followers, apostles, etc., Jesus had always had God to turn to, but now even God the Father turned His back! When that happened, Jesus could hold His silence no longer. Matthew 27.46 says that Christ “cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” The term translated “cried out” could just as easily describe the loud, raging roar of a lion.
Keep in mind that Jesus was the eternal Son of God and had forever enjoyed the sweetest, most intimate fellowship with the Father. Our finite minds can’t comprehend it, but that didn’t change even when Jesus took on flesh and became a human being. For 33 earthly years, He and His Father had enjoyed that same, incredibly rich relationship…until now.
On the cross Jesus “became sin for us” (2 Cor. 5.21), that is, He took upon Himself the sins of all humanity and experienced the full fury of God’s wrath against those sins. The punishment for ALL MY SINS was poured out on the sinless Savior!
Previews give us a glimpse of what to expect in a future episode of a TV program or an upcoming movie. Jesus, hanging on the cross and being forsaken by God, gives us a preview. A preview of what? you ask. A preview of HELL! Those who reject Christ as their Savior essentially tell Him, “I don’t want You to be a part of my life! Leave me alone!” Well, if a person dies that way, they get their wish for all eternity: “[Unbelievers] shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thes. 1:9). Therefore, Christ on the cross, forsaken by God and being punished for (our) sin, gives us an awful preview of Hell.
5. A Word of SUFFERING – “I thirst” (John 19.28-29)
How ironic that the One who had earlier said, “If you believe in Me, you shall never thirst again” (John 6.35), is now the One who is thirsty.
Jesus has been hanging on the cross for six hours (cf. Mark 15:25, 34). When you consider the incredible stress Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane, His loss of blood from the scourging and the crucifixion, and his exposure to the Middle Eastern sun, it’s easy to understand how raging His thirst had become.
At the beginning of the crucifixion Jesus was offered a drink of wine mixed with myrrh (Mark 15.23), which was designed to have a mildly numbing effect. He refused it, choosing rather to experience the agony of the cross with full clarity of mind. Now that death is near, Jesus takes a few sips of sour wine and thereby moistens his mouth to loudly proclaim His final two statements.
6. A Word of SATISFACTION – “It is finished” (John 19.30)
This is not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr. It’s not the final cry of a wasted life. It’s not even an expression of relief that suffering is finally over. Instead, it is a bold declaration that the Redeemer has finished the ultimate task for which He was sent. Everything necessary to make atonement for sin and pay the price for redemption for sinners is now complete! There are at least four proofs that Christ did indeed “finish” His salvific task:
- The tearing of the temple veil—demonstrating that access to God was now completely open (Mt. 27.51)
- The raising of Christ from the dead—showing that God had accepted His sacrifice (Mt. 28.1-7)
- The exaltation of Christ to Father’s right hand—reassuming His place of supremacy and power (Mk. 16.19)
- The sending of the Holy Spirit to believers—testifying of Christ and drawing men to Him for salvation (Jn. 15.26)
7. A Word of SUBMISSION – “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23.46)
For a little silver Jesus was betrayed into the hands of jealous religious leaders. For 12 hours He has been in the hands of violent and wicked men. Now, He is more than ready to entrust His spirit into the Father’s hands! His redemptive task is complete. It is time for Him to enter into His well-deserved rest.
“You’re in good hands with Allstate.” That may be true for protecting your earthly assets. But when it comes to your soul, you’re only in the “good hands” of the Lord God when you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Otherwise, Hebrews 10:31 states that for unbelievers who die in their sin, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”