Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jesus' Last Words on the Cross (Jn. 19:28-30)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 8 September 2013 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church Singapore. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 19:28-30

Jesus spoke 7 sentences on the cross:
The first –  “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”
The second – “Today you will be with Me in paradise”
The third – “Behold your son” and “Behold your mother”
The forth – “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?”
The fifth – “I thirst”
The sixth – “It is finished”
The seventh – “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”

Why did Jesus call “My God” in the middle, and “Father” at His first and last sentence?
In His first and last sentence, Jesus prayed as the Son of God as the Mediator.  At the 4th sentence, He prayed as the Son of Man.  The cross shows that God loves sinner but hates sin, that even His Son who carried the body of sin must be punished.  Yet as Christ is divine and sinless, the power of sin could not hold Him. 

In Acts 3:20, Peter said the Jews had killed the Lord of life but God resurrected Him from dead.  He died in the experience of sin, not under power and authority of sin.  He defeated sin and death.  God would not allow Him to decay, for this body is God incarnate, not destructible by sin.  Jesus also said He has the power to give up His life and the power to take it back again.  It is right to say the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit took part in the resurrection.  Each Person of Trinity has the same power and the same glory.

In His third sentence, “Behold your mother.  Behold your son.” he fulfilled his responsibility as a filial son.  Mary was blessed but also had great sorrow.  Jesus knew he could not take care of his mother anymore.  As the son of man He fulfilled His responsibility to His mother.  As the Son of God he fulfilled His responsibility to His Father in heaven.

In forth sentence, “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?” God did not answer.  The answer is from saved sinners.  It is because of you and me that God had forsaken Him.  It is not possible for you to love the Lord if you do not understand the suffering of Christ.  The more we understand how much Christ suffered for us, the more we love Christ, the more we understand how decadent we are, the more grateful we are, the more we understand His holy wrath, and the more we appreciate His mercy.

The fifth sentence is “I thirst.” (Jn. 19:28) and the sixth, “it is finished.” (Jn. 19:30)

Jesus’ fifth sentence proved He is really God in the flesh.  He was dehydrated as He did not drink, eat or sleep the whole night.  He bled and perspired as He made His way to the cross. 

God did not answer any of His sentences.  When He was baptised, the heaven opened and a voice was heard “this is My Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  When He was transfigured, likewise the heaven opened and Father testified of the Son again “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.”  Jesus needed God’s affirmation the most when He was crucified.  At the sixth hour, God did not speak once.  He was alone when He died crucified.  Isa 53:10 says it is Jehovah’s will to bruise Him.

After Jesus said “I thirst”, someone took sympathy and put some vinegar in a sponge and pushed it against His mouth.  (Jn. 19:29) Vinegar kills pain.  Jesus tasted it to show His appreciation but did not drink it because He did not want to numb the pain.  He wanted to taste all the pain, drink fully the cup the Father has given Him.

Jesus cannot haphazardly receive the pity from sinners.  The relationship is between the Savior and sinners.  He is the source of all mercy.  He did not accept mercy or pity.  It is us who need pity.  Twice Jesus rejected sympathy from men during His passion.  The women in Jerusalem wept for Jesus as Jesus went to the cross.  Jesus said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourself and your children.” 

Christianity did not need to be pitied.  Christians ought to judge the rest of the world and even judge angels.  God will even send the raven which has no sense of mercy, to help His own who are in need.  How did it happen that enemies of God have mercy of the people of God?  People despise Christianity because of this. 

Do not receive pity from those who are against God.  They do not have the right to pity you.  When Christians receive pity of the Gentiles, we betray our Lord.  We give glory to those underserving and opportunity for Satan.  But do not humiliate people who pity you.  Appreciate it but do not take it.  Beware who are gracious to you.  If there are other motives, you need to immediately reject it.  Rather be poor until you die but do not disgrace the name of the Lord.  With the wisdom that comes from fearing the Lord, you can discern if people’s intention are genuine.

With the last sentence, “into Your hands I commit My spirit,” ended Jesus’ 33.5 years on earth.  This is indeed the Saviour of the world.  They took off His body from the cross and buried him.  All happened within  24 hours.  This is the Day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.


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