A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!’” For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Today, we begin a series of seven Lenten sermons entitled Words from The Cross.
Jesus began His earthly ministry with a prayer in Luke 3:21, “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened.” It is interesting to note His first utterance from the cross was a prayer and His last utterance was a prayer.
THE LAST WORDS OF JESUS: Luke 23:34
“Father, forgive them.”
1. Deliverance from the penalty of sin. Romans 6:23
2. Deliverance from the power of sin. 1 Peter 2:24
3. Deliverance from the poison of sin. Isaiah 53:5
THE BLINDNESS OF SIN: Luke 23:34
“. . . they do not know what they are doing.”
1. There was a willful refusal to accept the truth.
2. They were near the cross, but far from the Savior.
“. . . because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood” -Hebrews 7:24.
THE BLESSINGS OF FORGIVENESS: Ephesians 1:7
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
1. The blessing of His forgiving love. John 12:32
2. The blessing of sins forgiven. Hebrews 9:22
3. The blessing of God’s family. Ephesians 4:31-32
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
4. The blessing of eternal hope. Philippians 3:10
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”
5. The blessing of sharing the message of forgiveness. 1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
-William R. Newell