Category Archives: cross

Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #7 Word of Contentment: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” Luke 23.46

cjmmusic / Psalm 30 - Father, into your hands I commend my spirit

This final saying of Jesus was uttered with His last breath.  But do not think that this committing of Himself to God was something He did only at the end of His life.  This was the theme of His life!  Devotion to God.  Dedication to doing the will of His Father.  Submission and Surrender.  These were all His Passion.

And we who believe on Him judge, that since He died for us, we must live for Him.  He owns us for He bought us with His own precious life’s blood.  May we be as devoted to Him, our Shepherd Who laid down His life for us His sheep, as He was to His Heavenly Father.

Jesus committed Himself to His Father, for He knew the reward awaiting Him.

(Hebrews 12:2 NIV)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Father raised Him from the dead and placed Him at His right hand with authority over all of heaven and earth.  Jesus who died is now alive and the Lord of all.  Love and honor Him.  Surrender your heart to Him.

The Book of Genesis records how God rested when He finished all the work He had been doing. (Genesis 2:2). On the cross Jesus, with the last words he uttered, Jesus spoke of coming home to his Father.

Gone were the words, “Why have you forsaken me?” Gone was the greatest anguish of his soul.

The Father’s loving, approving eyes could once again look upon the Son He loved. The sins that turned him away were left nailed to the cross – but Jesus wasn’t. He came off the cross to live again. His very good work, now completed, earned Him the right to be restored to His Father’s out-stretched hands. There could be no greater rest than this.

Jesus bore our transgressions, iniquities, sin, grief, sorrow, sickness, refection and shame and now, to top it all off, when we thought there was nothing more to add, he bore our tiredness and weariness as well.

In Hebrews chapter 4 we learn that Jesus is our rest, our Sabbath. No longer is the Sabbath one day a week. In the new covenant “Today” is the Sabbath. Every day we find our rest in Him. We rest from the weariness of struggling to pay and atone for our sins.

We all know how we long for rest when we are weary, and how good it is when it finally comes. Our longing for rest is proportional to our weariness. Nothing but rest can take away tiredness and weariness.

No one but Jesus can give us rest from the struggle of sin and from the trials and burdens of this life. “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”, (Matthew 11:28), is his promise to us. The seventh saying of Jesus from the cross assures us that he will fulfill this promise.

Everything you or I need, everything the whole world needs, was provided by Jesus Christ on the cross. On a number of occasions in the Bible, the number “seven” signifies the completion of something. Maybe that is why it is considered to be a lucky number.

The seven sayings of Jesus from the cross were anything but luck. They reflect the deliberate and planned acts of God – acts of the greatest mercy – acts of the greatest grace!

These words set before us the last act of the Savior ere he expired. It was an act of contentment, of faith, of confidence and of love. The person to whom he committed the precious treasure of his spirit was his own Father. Father is an encouraging and assuring title: well may a son commit any concern, however dear, into the hands of a father, especially such a Son into the hands of such a Father. That which was committed into the hands of the Father was his “spirit” which was on the point of being separated from the body.

Scripture reveals man as a tripartite being: “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23). There is a difference between the soul and the spirit, though it is not easy to predicate wherein they are dissimilar. The spirit appears to be the highest pan of our complex being. It is that which particularly distinguishes man from the beasts, and that which links him to God. The spirit is that which God formeth within us (Zech. 12:1); therefore is he called “The God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num. 16:22). At death the spirit returns to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).

The act by which the Savior placed his spirit into the hands of the Father was an act of faith – “I commend”. It was a blessed act designed as a precedent for all his people. The last point observable is the manner in which Christ performed this act: he uttered those words “with a loud voice”. He spoke that all might hear, and that his enemies who judged him destitute and forsaken of God might know it was not so any longer; but instead, that he was dear to his Father still, and could put his spirit confidently into his hands.


“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” This was the last utterance of the Savior ere he expired. While he hung upon the cross, seven times his lips moved in speech. Seven is the number of completeness or perfection. At Calvary then, as everywhere, the perfections of the Blessed One were displayed. Seven is also the number of rest in a finished work: in six days God made heaven and earth and in the seventh he rested, contemplating with satisfaction that which he had pronounced “very good”.

So here with Christ: a work had been given him to do, and that work was now done. Just as the sixth day brought the work of creation and reconstruction to a completion, so the sixth utterance of the Savior was “It is finished.” And just as the seventh day was the day of rest and satisfaction, so the seventh utterance of the Savior brings him to the place of rest – the Father’s hands.

It is noteworthy that this closing cry of the Savior had been uttered by the spirit of prophecy long centuries before the Incarnation. In the thirty-first psalm we hear David’s Son and Lord saying, anticipatively:

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thy hand I commend my spirit thou hast redeemed me, O Low God of truth” (vv. 1-5)!

  1. Here we see the Savior back again in communion with the Father.

This is exceedingly precious. For a while that communion was broken – broken outwardly – as the light of God’s holy countenance was hidden from the Sin-Bearer, but now the darkness had passed and was ended for ever. Up to the cross there had been perfect and unbroken communion between the Father and the Son. It is exquisitely lovely to mark how the awful “Cup” itself had been accepted from the Father’s hand:

“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). On the cross, at the beginning, the Lord Jesus is still found in communion with the Father, for had he not cried, “Father, forgive them!” His first cross-utterance then, was “Father forgive” and now his last word is, “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit”. But between those utterances he had hung there for six hours: three spent in sufferings at the hands of man and Satan; three spent in suffering at the hand of God, as the sword of divine justice was “awakened” to smite Jehovah’s Fellow. During those last three hours, God had withdrawn from the Savior, evoking that terrible cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But now all is done. The cup is drained: the storm of wrath has spent itself: the darkness is past, and the Savior is seen once more in communion with the Father – never more to be broken.

  1. Here we see a designed contrast.

For more than twelve hours Christ had been in the hands of men. Of this had he spoken to his disciples when he forewarned them that “the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him” (Matthew 17:22, 23). Of this had he made mention amid the awful solemnities of Gethsemane: “Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45). To this the angels made reference on the resurrection morning, saying to the women, “He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:6, 7).

This received its fulfillment when the Lord Jesus delivered himself up to those who came to arrest him in the Garden. As we saw in an earlier chapter, Christ could have easily avoided arrest. All he had to do was to leave the officers of the priests prostrate on the ground, and walk quietly away. But he did not do so. The appointed hour had struck. The time when he should submit himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter had arrived. And he delivered himself into “the hands of sinners”. How they treated him is well known; they took full advantage of their opportunity. They gave full vent to the hatred of the carnal heart for God. With “wicked hands” (Acts 2:23) they crucified him. But now all is over. Man has done his worst. The cross has been endured; the appointed work is finished.

  1. Here we see Christ’s perfect yieldedness to God.

How blessedly he evidenced this all the way through! When his mother sought him in Jerusalem as a boy of twelve, he said, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” When an hungered in the wilderness after a forty-days fast and the devil urged him to make bread out of stones, he lived by every word of God. When the mighty works which he had performed and the message he had delivered failed to move his auditors, he submitted to the one who had sent him, saying, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).

When the sisters of Lazarus sent to the Savior to acquaint him with the sickness of their brother, instead of hurriedly going to Bethany, he abode two days still in the place where he was, saying, “This sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God”.

It was not natural affection which moved him to action, but the glory of God! His meat was to do the will of the one who sent him. In all things he submitted himself to the Father. See him in the morning, “rising up a great while before day” (Mark 1:35), in order that he might be in the presence of the Father. See him anticipating every great crisis and preparing himself for it by pouring out his heart in supplication. See him spending the very last hour before his arrest on his face before God.

How fitly might he say, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for lam meek and lowly in heart.” And as he had lived, so he died – yielding himself into the hands of the Father. This was the last act of the dying Savior. And how exquisitely beautiful. How thoroughly in keeping with the whole of his life! It manifested his perfect confidence in the Father. It revealed the blessed intimacy there was between them. It exhibited his absolute dependency upon God.

  1. Here we see the absolute uniqueness of the Savior.

The Lord Jesus died as none other ever did. His life was not taken from him; he laid it down of himself. This was his claim: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17, 18).

The various proofs that Christ’s life was not taken from him have been set before the reader in the Introduction of this book. The most convincing evidence of all was seen in the committal of his spirit into the hands of the Father. The Lord Jesus himself said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”, but the Holy Spirit, in describing the actual laying down of his life, has employed three different expressions which bring out very forcibly the fact that we are now considering, and the various words used by the Spirit are most appropriate to the respective gospels in which they are found.

  1. Here we see the place of eternal security.

Again and again the Savior spoke of a people which had been “given” to him (John 6:37 etc.), and at the hour of his arrest he said, “Of them which thou gayest me have I lost none” (John 18:9). Then is it not lovely to see that in the hour of death the blessed Savior commends them now into the safe-keeping of the Father!

On the cross Christ hung as the representative of his people, and therefore we view his last act as a representative one. When the Lord Jesus commended his spirit into the hands of his Father, he also presented our spirits along with his, to the Father’s acceptance. Jesus Christ neither lived nor died for himself, but for believers: what he did in this last act referred to them as much as to himself. We must look then on Christ as here gathering all the souls of the elect together, and making a solemn tender of them, with his own spirit, to God.

The Father’s hand is the place of eternal security. Into that hand the Savior committed his people, and there they are forever safe. Said Christ, referring to the elect, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all: and none is able to pluck out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29). Here then is the ground of the believer’s confidence. Here is the basis of our assurance. Just as nothing could harm Noah when Jehovah’s hand had secured the door of the ark, so nothing can touch the spirit of the saint which is grasped by the hand of omnipotence. None can pluck us thence. Weak we are in ourselves, but “kept by the power of God” is the sure declaration of holy writ: “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:5). Formal professors who seem to run well for a while may grow weary and abandon the race. Those who are moved by the fleshly excitement of a “revival meeting” endure only for a time, for they have “no root in themselves”. They who rely upon the power of their own wills and resolutions, who turn over a new leaf and promise to do better, often fail, and their last state is worse than the first. Many who have been persuaded by well meaning but ignorant advisers to “join the church” and “live the Christian life” frequently apostatize from the truth. But every spirit that has been born again is eternally safe in the Father’s hand.

  1. Here we see the blessedness of communion with God.

What we have reference to particularly is the fact that communion with God may be enjoyed independently of place or circumstances. The Savior was on the cross, surrounded by a taunting crowd, his body suffering intense agony, nevertheless, he was in fellowship with the Father! This is one of the sweetest truths brought out by our text. It is our privilege to enjoy communion with God at all times, irrespective of outward circumstances or conditions. Communion with God is by faith, and faith is not affected by the things of sight. No matter how unpleasant your outward lot may be, my reader, it is your unspeakable privilege to enjoy communion with God. Just as the three Hebrews enjoyed fellowship with the Lord in the midst of the fiery furnace, as Daniel did in the lion’s den, as Paul and Silas did in the Philippian jail, as the Savior did on the cross, so may you wherever you are! Christ’s head rested on a crown of thorns, but beneath were the Father’s hands!

Does not our text teach very pointedly the blessed truth and fact of communion with the Father in the hour of death! Then why dread it, fellow Christian? If David under the Old Testament dispensation could say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil :for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4), why should believers now fear, after that Christ has extracted the sting out of death! Death may be “King of terrors” to the unsaved, but to the Christian, death is simply the door which admits into the presence of the Well-beloved. The motions of our souls in death, as in life, turn instinctively to God. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” will be our cry, if we are conscious.

While we tabernacle here we have no rest but in the bosom of God; and when we go hence, our expectation and earnest desires are to be with him. We have cast many a longing look heavenwards, but when the soul of the saved nears the parting of the ways, then it throws itself into the arms of love, just as a river after many turnings and windings pours itself into the ocean. Nothing but God can satisfy our spirits in this world, and none but he can satisfy us as we go hence.

But reader, only believers are warranted and encouraged thus to commend their spirits into the hands of God at the dying hour; how sad is the state of all dying unbelievers. Their spirits, too, will fall into the hands of God, but this will be their misery and not their privilege. These will find it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). Yes, because instead of falling in the arms of love, they will fall into the hands of justice.

  1. Here we see the heart’s true haven.

If the closing utterance of the Savior expresses the prayer of dying Christians it shows what great value they place on their spirits. The spirit within is the precious treasure, and our main solicitude and chief care is to see it secured in safe hands. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” These words then may be taken to express the believer’s care for his soul, that it may be safe, whatever becomes of the body.

God’s saint who has come nigh to death exercises few thoughts about his body, where it shall be laid, or how it shall be disposed of; he trusts that into the hands of his friends. But as his care all along has been his soul, so he thinks of it now, and with his last breath commits it to the custody of God. It is not, “Lord Jesus receive my body, take care of my dust;” but “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” – Lord, secure the jewel when the casket is broken.

And now a brief word of appeal in conclusion. My friend, you are in a world that is full of trouble. You are unable to take care of yourself in life, much less will you be able to do so in death. Life has many trials and temptations. Your soul is menaced from every side. On every hand are dangers and pitfalls. The world, the flesh and the devil are combined against you; they are too much for your strength. Here then is the beacon of light amid the darkness. Here is the harbor of shelter from all storms. Here is the blessed canopy which protects from all the fiery darts of the evil one. Thank God there is a refuge from the gales of life and from the tenors of death – the Father’s hand – the heart’s true haven.

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Posted by on July 14, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #6 “It is Finished” John 19:30

It is Finished — Bethel Temple Apostolic Church

“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

 Jesus wasn’t finished, although it looked like he was. His work was finished! The sacrifice that enabled the restoration of man to God was completed – eternally, nothing was left undone, nothing else was necessary. Complete  satisfaction was made for the debt incurred by the whole human race. The word “forgiven” literally means, “remitted”, a term often used regarding the payment of an account. Full satisfaction for the debt incurred by man and his sin against God’s holy nature, was paid in full by Jesus on the cross.

On the sixth day of creation when God created man, he looked at what He had done and saw that it was very good. (Genesis 1:31). Creation, in all its beauty and wonder was complete. Similarly, the sixth saying of Jesus on the cross marked the completion of re-creation, and it was very, very good. How good was it? Ask any forgiven sinner he’ll tell you! Ask the person healed from cancer by the grace of our Lord, she’ll tell you! Ask the drug addict, the prostitute, the adulterer, the gambler, the thief, the murderer, ask anyone whose life has been changed by Jesus Christ, they’ll all tell you – the finished work of the cross is good, very, very good!

Most People Have Unfinished Business. Have you ever wandered through a cemetery, reading the birth and death dates? So many died in their youth had still had goals they had never realized. Even those who live to old age, find that they didn’t complete all that they had setout to do in life.

Jesus Left No Unfinished Business Jesus was the only perfect man who perfectly completed his perfect work, and he did so in a little over 30 years. I do not believe these words were uttered in despair and resignation, but rather in triumph.

OUR LAST TWO STUDIES have been occupied with the tragedy of the cross; we turn now to its triumph.

In his words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” we beard the Saviour’s cry of desolation; in his words “I thirst” we listened to his cry of lamentation; now there falls upon our ears his cry of jubilation – “It is finished”.

From the words of the victim we turn now to the words of the victor; It is proverbial that every cloud has its silver lining: so had the darkest cloud of all.

The cross of Christ has two great sides to it: it showed the profound depths of his humiliation, but it also marked the goal of the Incarnation, and further, it told the consummation of his mission, and it forms the basis of our salvation.

“It is finished.” The ancient Greeks boasted of being able to say much in little – “to give a sea of matter in a drop of language” was regarded as the perfection of oratory. What they sought is here found.

“It is finished” is but one word in the original, yet in that word is wrapped up the gospel of God; in that word is contained the ground of the believer’s assurance; in that word is discovered the sum of all joy, and the very spirit of all divine consolation.

His Suffering On The Cross Was Finished.

 (Matthew 16:21 NIV)  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

(Matthew 20:22 NIV)  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

(Luke 22:41-44 NIV)  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, {42} “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” {43} An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. {44} And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

(John 2:4 NIV)  “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

(John 3:14 NIV)  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up…

If we knew in advance all the horrors that Jesus knew, how would we have faced life?

His Mission Was Finished.

(Luke 2:49 NIV)  “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”


The Scheme of Redemption is finished; God had a plan for our redemption.  God’s plan is outlined for us in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel” (Gen. 3:15).

This passage is talking about Jesus…who was the seed or offspring of the woman – born of Mary…would have “His heel” struck by Satan – that was Jesus’ death…But God also promised that Jesus would crush Satan’s head – that was Jesus’ resurrection.

(Philippians 2:8 NIV)  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!


“It is finished.” This was not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr; it was not an expression of satisfaction that the termination of his sufferings was now reached; it was not the last gasp of a worn-out life.

No, rather was it the declaration on the part of the divine Redeemer that all for which he came from heaven to earth to do, was now done; that all that was needed to reveal the full character of God had now been accomplished; that all that was required by law before sinners could be saved had now been performed: that the flail price of our redemption was now paid.

From the very beginning, God had a plan to save us from our sins.

 “And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:9-11).

God’s plan was simple.  Send His son, Jesus, to die (as a sin offering…our sacrificial lamb) on the cross to cleanse us from our sins. Jesus executed God’s game plan perfectly and fulfilled His mission.

Interestingly, Jesus used the Greek word “tetelestai” for “it is finished.”  This word means “paid in full.”  When a debt was fully paid, this word would be written on a loan document, will, or letter.  In the first century, when people had paid their debt in full, they would shout out the word “tetelestai.”  It was a shout of triumph…a shout of victory.  When Jesus said, “it is finished,” He was declaring victory.

And through His victory…we become victorious.

That’s the grace of God in our lives. Jesus took our sin upon Himself and did what we couldn’t do. We have victory over sin and death because Jesus paid our debt in full!


In His life, Jesus faced many obstacles.

  1. As a young child, King Herod tried to kill Him.
  2. His family and friends rejected Him.
  3. The religious leaders…the Pharisees and Sadducees branded Him as a false teacher.
  4.  His own disciples abandoned Him and denied even knowing Him.
  5. He was arrested, falsely accused of being a criminal, crucified, and died a horrible death on a cross.  

Although Jesus suffered greatly and faced many obstacles, He never gave up.  He never quit.  He never dropped out of the race.

In this life, you and I are going to face many obstacles.  Because of our faith, our family and friends may reject us. Our co-workers may make fun of us. We may experience physical hardships. But in the end, we must be able to say, “it is finished.”

We must be able to say what Paul said in (2 Timothy 4:7)…“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Here we see the end of our sins.

The sins of the believer – all of them – were transferred to the Savior. As saith the scripture, “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me. Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return, should he come before I die, but there is no sin on me.

This distinction between sin IN and sin ON is a vital one, and there should be little difficulty in apprehending it. Were I to say the judge passed sentence on a criminal, and that he is now under sentence of death, everyone would understand what I meant. In like manner, everyone out of Christ has the sentence of God’s condemnation resting upon him.


But when a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, receives him as his Lord and Master, he is no longer “under condemnation” – sin is no longer on him, that is, the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty of sin, is no longer upon him. And why? Because Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24). The guilt, condemnation and penalty of our sins, was transferred to our substitute. Hence, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more upon me.

Here we see the fulfillment of the law’s requirements.

“The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good” (Rom. 7:12). How could it be anything less when Jehovah himself had framed and given it! The fault lay not in the law but in man who, being depraved and sinful, could not keep it. Yet that law must be kept, and kept by a man, so that the law might be honoured and magnified, and its giver vindicated.

Therefore we read, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in (not “by”) us, who walk not after flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3, 4). The “weakness” here is that of fallen man.

The sending forth of God’s Son in the likeness of sin’s flesh (Greek) refers to the Incarnation: as we read in another scripture, “God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that he might redeem them that were under the law” (Gal. 4:4, 5 RV). Yes, the Saviour was born “under the law”, born under it that he might keep it perfectly in thought, word and deed. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy. but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17); such was his claim.

But not only did the Saviour keep the precepts of the law, he also suffered its penalty and endured its curse. We had broken it, and taking our place, he must receive its just sentence. Having received its penalty and endured its curse the demands of the law are fully met and justice is satisfied. Therefore is it written of believers, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). And again, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). And yet again, ” For ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Here we see the destruction of Satan’s power.

See it by faith. The cross sounded the death-knell of the devil’s power. To human appearances it looked like the moment of his greatest triumph, yet in reality, it was the hour of his ultimate defeat. In view of the cross (see context) the Saviour declared, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). It is true that Satan has not yet been chained and cast into the bottomless pit, nevertheless, sentence has been passed (though not yet executed); his doom is certain; and his power is already broken so far as believers are concerned.

For the Christian the devil is a vanquished foe. He was defeated by Christ at the cross – “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). Believers have already been “delivered from the power of darkness” and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). Satan, then, should be treated as a defeated enemy. No longer has he any legitimate claim upon us. Once we were his lawful “captives” but Christ has freed us. Once we walked “according to the Prince of the power of the air”; but now we are to follow the example which Christ has left us. Once Satan “worked in us”; but now God worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. All that we now have to do is to “Resist the devil”, and the promise is, “he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

“It is finished.” Here was the triumphant answer to the rage of man and the enmity of Satan. It tells of the perfect work which meets sin in the place of judgment. All was completed just as God would have it, just as the prophets had foretold, just as the Old Testament ceremonial had foreshadowed, just as divine holiness demanded, and just as sinners needed. How strikingly appropriate it is that this sixth cross-utterance of the Saviour is found in John’s gospel – the gospel which displays the glory of Christ’s deity! He does not here commend his work to the approval of God, but seals it with his own imprimatur, attesting it as complete, and giving it the all-sufficient sanction of his own approval. None other than the Son of God says “IT IS finished” – who then dare doubt or question it.

“It is finished.” Reader, do you believe it? or, are you trying to add something of your own to the finished work of Christ to secure the favour of God? All you have to do is to accept the pardon which he purchased. God is satisfied with the work of Christ, why are not you? Sinner, the moment you believe God’s testimony concerning his beloved Son, that moment every sin you have committed is blotted out, and you stand accepted in Christ! O would you not like to possess the assurance that there is nothing between your soul and God? Would you not like to know that every sin had been atoned for and put away? Then believe what God’s word says about Christ’s death. Rest not on your feelings and experiences but on the written word. There is only one way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb.


“It is finished.” Do you really believe it? Or, are you endeavouring to add something of your own to it and thus merit the favour of God? Some years ago a Christian farmer was deeply concerned over an unsaved carpenter. The farmer sought to set before his neighbour the gospel of God’s grace, and to explain how that the finished work of Christ was sufficient for his soul to rest upon. But the carpenter persisted in the belief that he must do something himself. One day the farmer asked the carpenter to make for him a gate, and when the gate was ready he carried it away to his wagon.

He arranged for the carpenter to call on him the next morning and see the gate as it hung in the field. At the appointed hour the carpenter arrived and was surprised to find the farmer standing by with a sharp axe in his hand. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “I am going to add a few cuts and strokes to your work,” was the response. “But there is no need for it,” replied the carpenter, “the gate is all right as it is. I did all that was necessary to it.” The farmer took no notice, but lifting his axe he slashed and hacked at the gate until it was completely spoiled. “Look what you have done!” cried the carpenter. “You have ruined my work!” “Yes,” said the farmer, “and that is exactly what you are trying to do.

You are seeking to nullify the finished work of Christ by your own miserable additions to it!” God used this forceful object lesson to show the carpenter his mistake, and he was led to cast himself by faith upon what Christ had done for sinners. Reader, will you do the same?

Hours behind the runner in front of him, the last marathoner finally entered the Olympic stadium. By that time, the drama of the day’s events was almost over and most of the spectators had gone home. This athlete’s story, however, was still being played out.

Limping into the arena, the Tanzanian runner grimaced with every step, his knee bleeding and bandaged from an earlier fall. His ragged appearance immediately caught the attention of the remaining crowd, who cheered him on to the finish line.

Why did he stay in the race? What made him endure his injuries to the end? When asked these questions later, he replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

Likewise, we as Christians are to finish the race of life. Although we will stumble and endure many hardships, we must get back on our feet and continue running the race. We must make it to the finish line so that we may receive the crown of life.

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Posted by on July 11, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #5  “I Thirst” John 19:28  

“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28).

 Of old the Spirit of God moved David to say of the coming Messiah: (Psalms 69:21 NIV)  They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

How marvelously complete was the prophetic sayings! No essential item was missing from it. Every important detail of the great tragedy had been written down beforehand.

  • The betrayal by a familiar friend (Ps. 4 1:9)
  • The forsaking of the disciples through being offended at him (Ps. 31:11)
  • The false accusation (Ps. 35:11)
  • The silence before his judges (Isa. 53:7)
  • The being proven guiltless (Isa. 53:9)
  • The numbering of him with transgressors (Isa. 53:12)
  • The being crucified (Ps. 22:16)
  • The mockery of the spectators (Ps. 109:25)
  • The taunt of non-deliverance (Ps. 22:7, 8)
  • The gambling for his garments (Ps. 22:18)
  • The prayer for his enemies (Isa. 53:12)
  • The being forsaken of God (Ps. 22:1)
  • The thirsting (Ps. 69:2 1)
  • The yielding of his spirit into the hands of the Father (Ps. 3 1:5)
  • The bones not broken (Ps. 34:20)
  • The burial in a rich man’s tomb (Isa. 53:9)

All plainly foretold centuries before they came to pass. What a convincing evidence of the divine inspiration of the scriptures!

This statement calls to our mind the mystery of the incarnation:

1.Jesus was fully man and fully divine

(Luke 2:52 KJV)  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

(John 1:1-3 KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 (Colossians 2:9 KJV)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

(Hebrews 5:8 KJV)  Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

But notice how Jesus used his deity?

  1. He has hung on the cross for six hours.
  2. He becomes thirsty.
  3. He has the power to quench his own thirst, but he does not use his powers to his own advantage.

At Calvary, Jesus was offered two drinks.  The first He refused.  The second He requested.  The second came just before 3:00 P.M.  The first came just after 9:00 A.M.

“They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it.  When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots” (Mt. 27:33-35).

The Romans first offered Jesus sweet wine mixed with gall.  “Gall” was poisonous liver bile.  It was mixed with sweet wine and given to deaden the pain of dying.  When they offered it to Jesus, He refused it.  He was unwilling to dull the pain with narcotics or poison.  He would faithfully and fully endure the pain.

Late in the afternoon, Jesus requested a drink…for Jesus said, “I thirst” and the Roman soldiers gave Him a drink of sour vinegar-wine mixed with water.  The Roman soldiers who came from Italy to Israel’s hot climate realized how sick they could get drinking the water.  Jerusalem’s water contained bacteria that could make them violently ill, so the soldiers mixed sour wine with local well water.

“Sour wine” was wine that had passed its time and had turned into vinegar.  The soldiers put it in the water hoping to kill the bacteria.  The soldiers on duty that Friday took along this drink for themselves because they expected to sit in the hot sun at Calvary until their duty was complete.

That afternoon when Jesus called, “I thirst,” they took a 24-inch hyssop branch and dipped a sponge in the vinegar-wine water then lifted it too His lips.  This small act of kindness refreshed Jesus’ thirst.

 The physical and spiritual suffering that Jesus endured was all part of God’s plan and in the same way, God has a purpose for our pain.  Something good can always come from our painful situations.

Here we have an evidence of Christ’s humanity.

The Lord Jesus was very God of very God, but he was also very man of very man. This is something to be believed and not for proud reason to speculate upon.

While then there is much about the person of Christ which we cannot fathom with our own understanding, yet there is everything about him to admire and adore: foremost are his deity and humanity, and the perfect union of these two in one person. The Lord Jesus was not a divine man, nor a humanized God; he was the God-man. Forever God, and now forever man.

When the Beloved of the Father became incarnate he did not cease to be God, nor did he lay aside any of his divine attributes, though he did strip himself of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. But in the incarnation the Word became flesh and tabernacled among men. He ceased not to be all that he was previously, but he took to himself that which he had not before – perfect humanity.

The deity and the humanity of the Savior were each contemplated in Messianic prediction. Prophecy represented the coming one sometimes as divine, sometimes as human. He was the Branch “of the Lord” (Isa. 4:2). He was the Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the Father of the ages (Hebrews), the “Prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6).

The one who was to come forth out of Bethlehem and be ruler in Israel, was one whose goings forth had been from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2). It was none less than Jehovah himself who was to come suddenly to the temple (Mal. 3:1). Yet, on the other hand, he was the woman’s “seed” (Gen. 3:15); a prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18:18); a lineal descendant of David (2 Sam. 7:12, 13).

He was Jehovah’s “servant” (Isa. 42:1). He was “the man of sorrows” (Isa. 53:3). And it is in the New Testament we see these two different sets of prophecy harmonized.

The one born at Bethlehem was the divine Word. The Incarnation does not mean that God manifested himself as a man. The Word became flesh; he became what he was not before, though he never ceased to be all he was previously. He who was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6, 7). The babe of Bethlehem was Immanuel – God with us -he was more than a manifestation of God, he was God manifest in the flesh. He was both Son of God and Son of Man. Not two separate personalities, but one person possessing two natures – the divine and the human.

While here on earth the Lord Jesus gave full proof of his deity. He spake with divine wisdom, he acted in divine holiness, he exhibited divine power, and he displayed divine love. He read men’s minds, moved men’s hearts, and compelled men’s wills. When he was pleased to exert his power all nature was subject to his bidding. A word from him and disease fled, a storm was stilled, the devil left him, the dead were raised to life. So truly was he God manifest in the flesh, he could say, “he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.”

So, too, while he tabernacled among men, the Lord Jesus gave full proof of his humanity – sinless humanity. He entered this world as a babe and was “wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7). As a child, we are told, he “increased in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52). As a boy we find him “asking questions” (Luke 2:46). As a man he was “wearied” in body (John 4:6).

He was “an hungered” (Matthew 4:2). He “slept” (Mark 4:38). He “marvelled” (Mark 6:6). He “wept” (John 11:35). He “prayed” (Mark 1:35). He “rejoiced” (Luke 10:21). He “groaned” (John 11:33). And here in our text he cried, “I thirst”. That evidenced his humanity. God does not thirst. The angels do not. We shall not in glory: “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore” (Revelation 7:16). But we thirst now because we are human and living in a world of sorrow. And Christ thirsted because he was man: “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Heb. 2:17).


Elizabeth Prentiss spent most of her adult life as an invalid, seldom knowing a day without constant pain throughout her body. Yet she was described by her friends as a bright-eyed, cheery woman with a keen sense of humor.

Elizabeth was always strong in her faith and she always encouraged others, until tragedy struck her family beyond what even she could bear.

Elizabeth and her husband lost two of their children.  The loss of two of their children brought great sorrow to Elizabeth’s life. For weeks, no one could console her. In her diary she wrote of “empty hands, a worn-out, exhausted body, and a longing to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.”


During this period of grief, Elizabeth cried out to God, asking Him to minister to her broken spirit. It was at this time that Elizabeth’s pain brought something inspirational to all of us!  For many years, the church has been encouraged as they sing the words penned by Elizabeth Prentiss in her deepest sorrow:

 More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!        Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee…

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest; Now Thee alone I seek—Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee…

Let sorrow do its work, send grief and pain; Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me, More love, O Christ, to Thee…

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise; This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee.

Elizabeth Prentiss…out of her pain and agony…wrote one of the most inspirational Christian songs in our songbook.  Something good came from her tragedy.


One of the essential truths of the Christian faith is the two natures of Christ.  Not only was Jesus fully God…but He was also fully man.  Jesus was not half-man and half-God.  Jesus was completely human and completely divine at the same time.

At times in Christ’s life, we see both His humanity and His divinity.  When Jesus said that He was thirsty…we see His humanity.  He felt the moment of dehydration.  And looking over the entirety of His life, we see even more shared pain.  He experienced the death of a dear friend, Lazarus, and He wept.  He was tempted to sin by Satan.  He was made fun of, called a drunk, beat up, abandoned by His closest friends and left to hang alone on the cross.  He experienced real suffering.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus experienced the same life-difficulties that we all face in some form or fashion.

Philip Yancey and Dr. Paul Brand in their book, In His Image, say this: “Our prayers and cries of suffering take on greater meaning because we now know them to be understood by God.  Instinctively, we want a God who not only knows about pain, but shares in it and affected by our own.  By looking at Jesus, we realize we have such a God.  He took onto Himself the limitations of time and space and family and pain and sorrow.”

It is comforting to know that we have a God who understands our suffering, our temptations, and we can be confident that, if nothing else, He will hold us tightly in His loving arms because He understands our painful experiences.


While on the cross, Jesus was certainly physically thirsty and dehydrated.  However, in the spiritual sense, Jesus’ greatest thirst…His greatest desire…is for us to be saved.

(John 4:7-14 NIV)  When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” {8} (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) {9} The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) {10} Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” {11} “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? {12} Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” {13} Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, {14} but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


On March 5, 1994, Deputy Sheriff Lloyd Prescott was teaching a class for police officers in the Salt Lake City Library.  As he stepped into the hallway he noticed a gunman herding 18 hostages into the next room.  With a flash of insight, Prescott (dressed in street clothes) joined the group as the nineteenth hostage, followed them into the room, and shut the door.  But when the gunman announced the order in which hostages would be executed, Prescott identified himself as a cop.

In the scuffle that followed, Prescott, in self-defense, fatally shot the armed man.  The hostages were released unharmed.

Likewise, Jesus, dressed himself in street clothes, entered into our world, and freed us from our captor,  On the cross, Jesus died, and delivered us from our hostage taker…Satan

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Posted by on July 7, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #4 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Matthew 27.46  

Why Did God Forsake Jesus? – Revealed Truth – Matthew 27 & Mark 15

What does sorrow look like? What does it sound like?

(Matthew 26:36-46 NIV)  Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” {37} He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. {38} Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” {39} Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” {40} Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. {41} “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” {42} He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” {43} When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. {44} So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. {45} Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. {46} Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

(Hebrews 5:7-11 NIV)  During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. {8} Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered {9} and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him {10} and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. {11} We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.

Our willful sin separates us from God

(Isaiah 59:1-3 NIV)  Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. {2} But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. {3} For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.

After all the beatings and stripes, the wounds and blows and the crown of thorns, Jesus sufferings did not end.  The rejection and humiliation was not all.  And now, after three hours with His wrists and ankles pierced with long nails, we must now consider what was the worst aspect of all His sufferings.

(Matthew 27:45-49 NIV)  From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. {46} About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” {47} When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” {48} Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. {49} The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

These words spoken from the cross are certainly perplexing.  How could Jesus be God and yet be forsaken by God? The word forsaken here carries the idea of “abandonment.”  Jesus’ statement reflects the fact that His greatest suffering upon the cross was not physical but was rather spiritual.

Why was He suffering spiritually?  Why was His soul in agony?  He was hurting spiritually because He was bearing the guilt of the entire world on Himself.  The Bible says that Christ “became” sin for us:

(2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

And this fact brought an agony to His soul that was unparalleled.  Jesus became the sinner’s substitute.

It was that the sins of sinners were being laid on Him, and the wrath of God against those sins was being poured out on Him.  This was the cause of His greatest anguish.  He had known nothing but perfect bliss and happy communion with His Father.  But now, with the sin of the world laid upon Him, that fellowship was cut off.  Great fear was upon Him.  Loneliness.  Darkness came upon His soul, as the light of the noon day sun was blotted out and darkness covered the land.

You see, for our sin, we deserve eternal wrath and punishment.  But during those final hours upon the cross, Jesus bore our sins for us.  He suffered the curse and penalty of sin for us, in our place.  At that time, He knew what we merit:  to be separated from God, to be away from His Presence forever.

And being the Infinite Son of God, He was able to suffer the equivalent of what we all deserve, though His sufferings took place on only that day.  Jesus Christ, as a Lamb, slain for us!  Feeling the displeasure of God the Father.  Bearing our sins.  Being our Substitute.  He took upon Himself all of our sins, so that we could be saved from sin forever.

God did turn His back on Jesus judicially but not relationally. 

In other words, God did forsake Jesus judicially because He was bearing all the sins of all men for all time and God cannot look on sin (Hab. 1:13).  Remember, God will not allow unrepentant, uncovered sin in His presence.  Jesus was temporarily forsaken judicially by the Father that we might never be forsaken by the Father.

On the other hand, God loved His Son Jesus and did not abandon Him relationally.  God didn’t stop loving Jesus and turn His back on Him for good.  For Jesus once told His disciples in (John 8:29), “The one who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”  God did not abandon Jesus relationally even Jesus said that God would never do that.

You see, the words cried out from the cross are from (Psalm 22)…a psalm which parallels the suffering of David with that of Christ.  The psalm begins with despair but ends in its closing verses with renewed trust in God

(Psalms 22:1-2 NIV)  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? {2} O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.

(Psalms 22:24-25 NIV)  For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. {25} From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.

Jesus was pointing to the reality that even though He sensed judicial separation from the Father, He knew it was temporary and that His relationship with the Father was strong and would be restored.

DURING OUR TIMES OF SUFFERING, GOD IS NEAR EVEN WHEN HE SEEMS SO FAR AWAY. When we experience difficult trials and tribulations, we normally pray to God and ask Him for immediate relief.  However, as we all know, God answers prayer in His own time, so we may not receive immediate help from Him.  We may have to go through many days, or weeks, or months or years of trying times.

In the Bible, many great men of God experienced these types of emotions:

For example, David experienced a feeling of isolation from God when he was running for his life from Saul.

We read in (Ps. 13:1), that David cried out to God and said, “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?”

Job, who lost everything–his children, his wealth, his servants, his reputation, and his friends–experienced despair and isolation from God.  (Job 23:1-9).

(Job 23:1-9 NIV)  Then Job replied: {2} “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. {3} If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! {4} I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. {5} I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say. {6} Would he oppose me with great power? No, he would not press charges against me. {7} There an upright man could present his case before him, and I would be delivered forever from my judge. {8} “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. {9} When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

It is common and natural to feel Isolated from God when we experience difficult times, however, the Bible assures us that God is present even when He seems far away! Even when God seems 1,000 miles away and uninterested in our affairs, He is with us step-by-step during difficult times.

A wonderful illustration of this unseen presence is described in (Luke 24:13-35 esp. vs. 15).

(Luke 24:13-35 NIV)  Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. {14} They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. {15} As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; {16} but they were kept from recognizing him. {17} He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. {18} One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” {19} “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. {20} The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; {21} but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. {22} In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning {23} but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. {24} Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” {25} He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! {26} Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” {27} And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. {28} As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. {29} But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. {30} When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. {31} Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. {32} They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” {33} They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together {34} and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” {35} Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

In this passage, two of Jesus’ disciples were walking toward a village called Emmaus.  They just came from Jerusalem and were undoubtedly very upset and depressed because they witnessed the crucifixion of their Lord Jesus.  They were not only discouraged because Jesus was dead, but also because it was the third day and they had hoped that Jesus would have been raised from the dead, as their Lord promised.

They must have given up hope on Jesus’ resurrection and decided to head home, back to their old way of life.  But as they were walking, something marvelous happened.

These men, who were most certainly experiencing emotional and spiritual pain because of Jesus’ death, did not know that Jesus was walking right along with them the whole time.  During their time of anguish, Jesus was next to their side.

If we are faithful, God is walking right along with us especially during our times of suffering, even when we feel isolated from Him.  He has not abandoned us, just like God didn’t abandon Jesus relationally on the cross.  We are His children and He loves us and cares for us.  We must realize that He is watching over us and is doing what is best for us.

(1 Pet. 5:7) tells us to cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  Does this sound like a God who cares little about our problems?


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.  For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you the most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

When we suffer, we may feel isolated from God, but the reality is that God is with us step-by-step and many times He is carrying us through our difficult times…

How was Jesus able to withstand the agony of the cross?

(Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. {2} Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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Posted by on July 4, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #3 “Here is Your Mother” John 19:25-27  

Lent Devotion Week 3 | Warren Baptist Church

When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

 Most of the crowd standing at the base of Golgotha were there for entertainment. Some, like the disciples, where there out of shock – i.e., Peter. But a few, and it was only FOUR people, that were there out of commitment.

  • Mary the mother of Jesus
  • Mary, the wife of Cleophas, which was Mary’s sister
  • Mary Magdalene
  • And the Apostle John, known as John the Beloved

While Jesus was hanging on the cross, His mother was standing near by. Can you imagine Mary’s horror as she looked up at her son who was suffering and near death?  Those of you who are parents – especially those of you who might have lost a child – can fully understand what Mary was going through.

As we ponder this story, one thing that we must keep in mind is that Mary was a woman who over her lifetime had experienced a great deal of sorrow and grief.

  • What sorrow she must have experienced when she had to lay her newborn son in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
  • What anguish she suffered when she learned of Herod’s plan to destroy her child.
  • What hardship she faced when she was forced to flee to Egypt and stay there for several years to avoid Herod’s wrath.
  • What grief must have filled her heart when she saw Jesus hated and persecuted by His own people.
  • But all the grief that she had experienced through her lifetime did not compare with the grief that she must have suffered as she stood near the cross…watching her son die a horrible death.

 As Jesus was dying, He began thinking about His Mom.  He knew how much she was suffering and grieving for Him, so He spoke to her.  He provided her some words of comfort.

While Jesus was gasping for air, He looked down at His mother…who probably had tear-stained cheeks…and said to her, (paraphrasing) “Mom, let John take care of you.”  “John, please watch over my Mother.”  Though Jesus would eventually rise from the dead, He knew He would not be on this earth to care for His mother, which was His responsibility as the oldest Jewish son.

Therefore, Jesus transferred that duty to His beloved friend, John.  John became Mary’s surrogate son.

 See here the tender affection of these women toward our Lord Jesus in his sufferings. When all his disciples, except John, had forsaken him, these four still continued their commitment to Him. They could not rescue him nor relieve him, yet they stayed near him, to show their devotion. But that is all it was!

Jesus was the firstborn son of the family – but not the only child (Mt 13:55,56). But Jesus’ half-brothers were untrustworthy of taking care of Mother.

False Conclusions About This Event

  1. That Mary is given great honor here
  2. That the apostles were to care for Mary, and adore her
  3. That Mary would be worshipped by the apostles
  4. That Mary has any part in the mediatory action of Christ on the cross. But, she has no power or ability to intercede for the benefit of others.

(1 Timothy 2:5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” Jesus taught much about praying but He nor any other Bible writer ever hinted that we should pray to her.

  1. That Mary is a type of the Church
  2. That the Apostles were to care for the Church like they would Christ’s Mother

Christians MUST take good care of each other – The greatest test of our commitment to the Lord.

(Matthew 25:40 NIV)  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

(Matthew 12:46-50 NIV)  While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. {47} Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” {48} He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” {49} Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. {50} For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

 What was occurring during the ministry of Jesus?

(Matthew 15:1-11 NIV)  Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, {2} “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” {3} Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? {4} For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ {5} But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ {6} he is not to ‘honor his father ‘ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. {7} You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: {8} “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. {9} They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” {10} Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. {11} What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'”

See Romans 1 and Paul’s statement of the progression of sin…and that “disobeying parents” was on the list.


As a boy, Jesus clearly honored and obeyed His parents.  I think of the words of Scripture in (Luke 2:51) where we are told that Jesus “went down to Nazareth with (His parents) and was obedient to them.”

Jesus respected His parents and was always obedient to them.  Even on the cross Jesus showed Himself to be perfectly obedient…specifically to the fifth commandment, which teaches to honor your father and mother.

With His words from the cross, Jesus demonstrated how children of all ages are to treat their parents.  In essence, Jesus asked John to provide for His mother’s present and future needs.  To give her shelter, food, clothing, protection, and love.  Jesus arranged to have all that provided for His mother.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to provide for our parents.  We must provide our parents with food, shelter, clothing, protection and love.  Taking care of our families is important and it takes precedence over helping non-family members.

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

We should strive to help as many people as we can, but we must provide for our family.  If we don’t, the Bible teaches that we have denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Many people present this morning have parents who are still alive.  Let me ask you, if I may, how are you treating them?  Are you continuing to honor them?  Are you taking care of them?  Is it time for a visit? A phone call?  A note? Is there a birthday or anniversary to remember?  Is there a special love that needs to be shown?  Or maybe there is a gravesite that needs attention.

Some words for the children

Proverbs 10:1 (NIV)  The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.

Proverbs 15:20 (NIV) A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Proverbs 19:26 (NIV) He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace.

Proverbs 23:22 (NIV) Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Proverbs 29:15 (NIV) The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.


Posted by on June 27, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #2 “Today You Will Be  With Me In Paradise”

Today, you will be with me in Paradise - Redeemed Online -

#2 “Today You Will Be  With Me In  Paradise”

 “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him.  “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:40-43).

It was no accident that the Lord of glory was crucified between two thieves. There are no accidents in a world that is governed by God. Sovereignty tells us that God either causes something to occur or He allows it (letting natural law and freewill choices run their course of action).

God was presiding over that scene. From all eternity he had decreed when and where and how and with whom his Son should die. Nothing was left to chance or the caprice of man. All that God had decreed came to pass exactly as he had ordained, and nothing happened save as he had eternally purposed.

Was not the Savior numbered with transgressors to show us the position he occupied as our substitute? He had taken the place which was due us, and what was that but the place of shame, the place of transgressors, the place of criminals condemned to death!

Crucifixion was probably the most horrible form of capital punishment ever devised by man. The ancient Persians practiced it. When the Persian ruler Darius conquered Babylon, he had 3,000 leading citizens crucified. Later crucifixion became a mode of Greek execution. Following the destruction of Tyre, Alexander the Great crucified 2,000 men of military age.

On occasion, the Jews resorted to crucifixion. In the inter-biblical period, Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.) crucified eight hundred Pharisees who had been involved in a revolt. The Romans, however, were most noted for the practice. In 71 B.C., following a slave revolt in Rome, six thousand recaptured slaves were crucified on the Appian Way leading to the city (Vos 1999, 439).

The verb “crucify” (46 times in the New Testament) was used by the inspired writers of the New Testament to depict the mode of Jesus’ death. But not his only—two other men were crucified at the same time as Christ. All four Gospel writers are emphatic that two criminals were crucified—one on either side of the Savior (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:32; John 19:18).

While Jesus hung on the cross, He never once uttered a defense.  He didn’t yell out, “You’ve got the wrong man.  I didn’t commit an offense worthy of death.  You are crucifying an innocent man.”   In fact, not only did Jesus utter no defense…none of His disciples protested His persecution.  Not one disciple spoke out on Jesus’ behalf.  They all remained silent as they watched their friend and teacher suffer intense pain.

Interestingly enough…the only person who spoke out in defense of Jesus was a convicted criminal…a thief…a robber…an unrighteous, sinful man. This thief had the courage and the faith to stand up for Jesus.   And this impressed Jesus so much that He told the man that he would join Him in paradise.  This is a wonderful story.

Another important lesson which we may learn from the crucifixion of Christ between the two thieves, and the fact that one received him and the other rejected him, is that of the sovereignty of God. The two malefactors were crucified together. They were equally near to Christ. Both of them saw and heard all that transpired during those fateful six hours. Both were notoriously wicked; both were suffering acutely; both were dying, and both urgently needed forgiveness.

Yet one of them died in his sins, died as he had lived – hardened and impenitent; while the other repented of his wickedness, believed in Christ, called on him for mercy and went to Paradise. How can this be accounted for except by the sovereignty of God!

To whom does God offer forgiveness? Is it to the best amongst us? Is it to those who have met some preconditions? We get a small glimpse of love that is measureless and an ever so miniscule peek at God’s infinite reservoir of forgiveness, when we hear those second words from the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise”.

Being crucified on the same day, and hanging on either side of the Lord, on their own, deserved, crosses, were two evil-doers.  One of these, even though hanging and dying, and coming near the end of his life, only to face God in judgment upon his death, joined in with those who mocked and hated Jesus.  “Are you not the Messiah?  Save yourself and save us, too, if you are able!”

But his former partner in robbery, murder, and rebellion rebuked him.  For now, upon a cross and facing death, this second sinner has a change of mind about his life.  The sentence of death brings home to him the truth that he is worthy of wrath and punishment because of his constant refusal to submit to the moral will of God. In this humbled state, he turns to Jesus, recognizes him as Lord, and cries for mercy and pardon.  Perhaps he has bee encouraged by overhearing Jesus’ prayer for His enemies.

And he may have reasoned, “Am I not a life-long enemy of God?”  Though he has no lifetime of good deeds to present, though he can only say that he is unworthy of pardon, the good and merciful Lord Jesus, from His own cross, assures this man of eternal life.


Thief on the cross a pattern for salvation?

To argue that the example of the thief on the cross is a pattern of salvation today involves an unwarranted assumption and a faulty view of biblical chronology.

The Facts

When the Lord was crucified, he was positioned between two robbers, both of whom, at some point during the six hours of agony, reproached him (Matt. 27:44; Mk. 15:32). The Greek grammar suggests a repeated verbal assault. However, as the ordeal proceeded, a change occurred in one of the thieves. This aspect of the case is only recorded by Luke.

“And there was also a superscription over him, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? Save thyself and us. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:38-43).

Several important facts come to light by a careful analysis of this paragraph.

By comparing Luke’s record with that of Matthew and Mark, it is obvious that there was a change in the man’s view regarding Jesus. Instead of reviling the Lord, he glorified him and petitioned the Savior. And Jesus graciously responded to his change in behavior.

The penitent thief had a good deal of information concerning Christ. Exactly when he learned these facts is not specified. But there are two possibilities. Either he considered what he heard about Christ during that six-hour episode and became convinced of his royalty, or else he already knew about the Savior from earlier circumstances.

Here’s a thoughtful question. Isn’t it possible that he had been exposed significantly to information about Jesus earlier in his life, had been impressed by it, and later regressed into a life of crime?

Note some things about the man’s beliefs.

  • He acknowledged the existence of God.
  • He believed in a standard of right and wrong.
  • He confessed that he and his companion had transgressed divine law.
  • He conceded they were being punished “justly.”

Additionally, he confessed the innocence of Christ. The Teacher had done “nothing amiss.” And remember, the Lord was being crucified for his affirmation of being the “Son of the Blessed One” (Mk. 14:61, 62). The robber’s statement, therefore, is basically an acknowledgement of the truth of Jesus’ claim.

Then consider this. The penitent thief believed that Christ was a “king” and that this act of murder would not terminate the Savior’s life. Rather, the Lord would “come in [his] kingdom.” And he was confident that Jesus would be able to bless him in that future state. At the very least, these expressions indicate that the thief believed it was possible to have association with the Lord after both of them were dead.

God is not interested in what we once were; instead, He is interested in what we can become. Many people in the Bible overcame a turbulent past, and became great and faithful servants of the Lord.

  • Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, at one time worshipped other gods (Joshua 24:2).
  • David, the third King of Israel, although he committed adultery, became a man after God’s own heart.
  • Paul, the great apostle of Jesus Christ, at one time had Christians arrested and killed.

Although at one time these men lived ungodly lives, they were given another chance and eventually they became great servants of the Lord, and so can we. We must forget our past failures and focus on our future successes.

The Authority of Christ

Having said that, let us now focus our attention in another direction. The careful Bible student must acknowledge that there are different periods of sacred history, in the course of which, certain religious requirements may vary. Abraham was never commanded to be baptized or to observe the Lord’s supper.

In today’s era of religious history, we are not obligated to observe the Passover, or to offer animal sacrifices. Jehovah has had different requirements in different periods of history.

Christ Had Authority to Forgive Sins

During his personal ministry, Jesus possessed the authority to forgive men’s sins personally and directly, upon whatever terms he chose. For example, once while in the city of Capernaum, the Lord encountered a man who was paralyzed. The unfortunate gentleman had been conveyed to where Christ was by four of his friends.

When Jesus saw “their faith,” he said to the palsied man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Then, in order to establish his “authority” in the matter of personally forgiving sins “on earth” (2:10), Christ healed the man of his malady.

(2) The fact is, while Jesus was on earth he had the authority to dispense blessings directly based upon the circumstances at hand.

Our time is running out.  Since life is so unpredictable, we may only have a short time left.  We need to place our faith in Jesus and receive God’s wonderful gift of salvation before it is to late.

During his personal ministry, Jesus possessed the authority to forgive men’s sins personally and directly.

For example, once while in the city of Capernaum, the Lord encountered a man who was paralyzed. The unfortunate gentleman had been conveyed to where Christ was by four of his friends. When Jesus saw “their faith,” he said to the palsied man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mk. 2:5). Then, in order to establish his “authority” in the matter of personally forgiving sins “on earth” (Mk. 2:10), Christ healed the man of his malady.

The fact is, while Jesus was on earth he had the authority to dispense blessings directly based on the circumstances at hand. At the time of his death, however, his authority was made resident in his testamentary “will” (Heb. 9:15-17). And the terms of that will specify baptism as a condition of pardon (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

No one has the legal right to eliminate that condition by appealing to something the Lord did during earthly ministry before his final will was ratified. The heavenly kingdom takes precedence over the former.

It becomes very apparent, therefore, that those who appeal to the case of the “thief on the cross” as a specific example for conversion today are mistaken in several particulars.

  • They do not comprehend the differencebetween the Savior’s earthly ministry and his current reign from heaven; and,
  • They have thrust aside the plain demands of the New Covenant.

 Paradise … Ash noted that “In some elements of first-century Judaism, (this word) described the heavenly abode of the soul between death and the resurrection.” Without much doubt, this is the meaning here. After Jesus rose from the dead, he stated that he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17); therefore, Paradise is not identified as the final abode of the blessed. It is the same as “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:11).

The term paradise is used in the New Testament to refer to the future dwelling place of God’s people (see 2 Cor 12:4; Rev 2:7). The reader should not become so concerned with the question of the intermediate state that the point is missed. Luke is reminding his readers of that which he has told them often. God forgives penitent sinners, while the impenitent (the rulers, the soldiers, and the other criminal) are excluded from the blessing.

A Cross of Love

The cross of Christ was a cross of love. Early in his ministry Jesus declared: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14; cf. 12:32-33). He then affirmed: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16).

A Cross of Sacrifice

The cross of Christ was a cross of sacrifice. Paul reminded the saints in Ephesus that Christ loved them, and the expression of that love was that he “gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor and a sweet smell” (Ephesians 5:2).

A Cross of Peace

The cross of Christ was a cross of peace. Jesus was able to implement a plan of reconciliation by which sinful humanity could be at peace with the holy God, from whom sin had demanded a separation (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 5:1ff; Ephesians 2:1ff). This was provided for both segments of humanity, so that “in Christ” no longer is there Jew or Greek; Christians become “one” in him (Ephesians 2:13-18; Galatians 3:28).

 A Cross of Joy

The cross of Christ was a cross of joy.  In considering the Savior’s determination to implement the plan of salvation, the writer states that the “author and perfecter of faith,” for “the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). The Savior’s joy over the potential salvation of the human family eclipsed the shame of the cross!

 The Use of “Hell” in the New Testament

There is a great deal of confusion among religious folks regarding this word due to the fact that the English form “hell” actually represents three different terms in the Greek New Testament.

The term “hell” is found twenty-three times in the King James Version of the English Bible. There is a great deal of confusion among religious folks regarding this word due to the fact that the English form “hell” actually represents three different terms in the Greek New Testament. Let us give consideration to this matter.


The Greek hades is translated “hell” ten times in the KJV. Most recent versions transliterate the term, bringing it directly into English as Hades.

Hades is used for the general abode of the spirits of the dead, whether good or evil. Jesus affirmed that he possessed the keys (authority to open) of “death” (the receptacle of the body) and “Hades” (the realm of the departed soul) (Rev. 1:18).

Both death and Hades will be emptied at the time of the judgment (Rev. 20:13-14), i.e., the grave will give up the body, and the spirit sphere will surrender the soul.

By means of a figure known as a synecdoche (the whole put for a part), Hades is sometimes used to designate a limited region of the spirit world. Depending upon the context, that region may either be one of punishment or reward.

For example, Jesus warned that the wicked inhabitants of Capernaum (who had rejected his teaching) would go down into Hades (Mt. 11:23; Lk. 10:15). When the cold-hearted rich man died, his spirit was found in Hades, a place of torment and anguish (Lk. 16:23-24).

On the other hand, when Christ died, while his body was resting in Joseph’s tomb, his soul was in Hades (Acts 2:27-31), which elsewhere is called “Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). This seems to have been the same state as “Abraham’s bosom,” a place of comfort (Lk. 16:22,25).

When Christ promised to build his church, and declared that the “gates of Hades” would not prevail against it, he may have been suggesting that when he died, Hades would not retain his soul, thus preventing the establishment of his kingdom. Or, he may have been proclaiming that the church would share ultimately in his victory over death at the time of the resurrection.


The apostle Peter wrote that: ”. . . God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment . . .” (2 Pet. 2:4).

Here, “hell” is from the Greek term tartarosas, a participle, the noun form of which is Tartarus (so rendered in the footnote of the ASV). This is this word’s only occurrence in the New Testament.

Originally it simply denoted a deep place; it carries that significance in Job 40:13; 41:31 in the Septuagint. Homer, the Greek poet, spoke of “dark Tartarus . . . the deepest pit” (Iliad, 8.13). Here, it is used of the abode of evil angels prior to their banishment to Gehenna, their ultimate destiny (cf. Mt. 25:41).

The ancient Greeks, however, applied the word to the region of the wicked dead. Since there is no indication that Peter assigns an extraordinary meaning to the term, it is reasonable to conclude that it denotes that area of Hades in which both rebel men and angels are punished preliminary to the day of judgment.


The final and eternal abode of those who die apart from God is Gehenna. The word is found twelve times in the Greek New Testament. In eleven of these instances, it is Jesus Christ himself who employs the term. The fact is, the Lord spoke of “hell” more frequently than he did of that state called “heaven.”

Gehenna is a transliteration of an Old Testament Hebrew expression, “the valley of Hinnom,” which denoted a ravine on the southern side of Jerusalem. This valley was used by certain apostate Hebrews as a place where their children were offered into the fiery arms of the pagan god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6).

It was thus an area of suffering and weeping. When Josiah launched his reformation, this valley was regarded as a site of heinous abomination (2 Kgs. 23:10-14). It finally became the garbage depository of Jerusalem where there was a continual burning of refuse.

Gehenna, being associated with these ideas, appropriately served as a symbolic designation for the place of suffering to which evil persons will be consigned following the Lord’s return. Let us now consider the New Testament passages in which Gehenna is mentioned.

Jesus spoke of Gehenna several times in his “Sermon on the Mount.” For instance, he warned that whoever addresses another: “You fool!” shall be in danger of the “hell of fire” (Mt. 5:22). This does not mean that a legitimate use of the appellation “fool” (or its derivatives) is prohibited (cf. Psa. 14:1; 1 Cor. 15:36; Gal. 3:1). Rather, the Lord condemns the explosive use of pejorative barbs for the sake of venting one’s personal rage.

Employing several examples of hyperbole (for the sake of emphasis), Christ stressed that it would be better to proceed through life with great loss (e.g. deprived of an eye or a limb), rather than having Gehenna as a final destiny (Mt. 5:29-30; cf. 18:9; Mk. 9:43-47).

On another occasion, the Lord said: “And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28; cf. Lk. 12:5).

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Posted by on June 23, 2022 in cross


Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #1 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Father Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Do.” (Luke 23:24) | Canisius College Campus Ministry Blog

Man had done his worst.  The one by whom the world was made had come into it, but the world knew him not. The Lord of glory had tabernacled among men, but he was not wanted.

The eyes which sin had blinded saw in him no beauty that he should be desired. At his birth there was no room in the inn, which foreshadowed the treatment he was to receive at the hands of men. Shortly after his birth Herod sought to slay him, and this intimated the hostility his person evoked and forecast the cross as the climax of man’s enmity.

Again and again, his enemies attempted his destruction. And now their vile desires are granted them. The Son of God had yielded himself up into their hands. A mock trial had been gone through, and though his judges found no fault in him, nevertheless, they had yielded to the insistent clamoring of those who hated him as they cried again and again “Crucify him”.

When someone dies, a frequent question that people have is: “Did he or she say anything at the end?”  We want to know what the last words were.  We are hopeful that there will be a final acknowledgment that they understood how much we loved them.  We look for some word of insight, a wise truth, a word of hope.

Shakespeare once wrote in his play Richard II…The tongues of dying men–Enforce attention like deep harmony–Where words are scarce–They are seldom spent in vain–For they breathe truth–That breathe their words in pain.

When Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave seven important statements (commonly referred to as “The Seven Sayings From The Cross”).  These statements…the last of a dying man…enable us to see into the very core…the very heart of Jesus.

His final words from the cross will provide us some important theological principles and practical spiritual lessons.  Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at these last words of Jesus.

Think about the goodness and purity of Jesus Christ.  His compassion and love, deeds of kindness and healings.  His words of grace.  His preaching the glad tidings of the Gospel.  There has never been anyone so pure and good as He.

He never sinned. Never disobeyed His Father.  Never did violence.  Never broke any laws.  He was a Friend to all, even to wretched harlots and greedy publicans.

So, how could people hate Him?  What could have caused Pontius Pilate to agree with Herod to condemn Him?  And the chief priests and rulers of Israel to conspire with Judas?  (the latter betrayed Him, and the former mocked, spat upon and blindfolded and struck Him with their fists)  and what could have caused the multitude, who had formerly followed Him and heard him with admiration, to turn against Him and cry out for His death by crucifixion?

(Luke 23:32-38)  “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. {33} 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. {34} Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. {35} The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” {36} The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar {37} and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” {38} There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Not all the Seven Words of Christ from the cross are recorded in one gospel, therefore we do not have an automatic recognition of the order in which they were uttered.

There is in them, however, a progression of the will and purpose of God for the redemption of mankind. They seem to sum up in themselves the whole of the gospel.

To help us better appreciate these words, we must look at some prior events that had taken place.  Remember, before Jesus was nailed to the cross, we read that He experienced many terrible things.  He was flogged.  This was usually done with a whip that had bits of bone or metal embedded into it.  The effect was to tear up the back of the person.

 Following the whipping, we are told that the soldiers mocked and beat Jesus.  They dressed Him up as a king with a crown of thorns on His head.  Then they beat Him and spit on Him.  They hurled insults at Him.  What I want us to see is that Jesus was physically abused by His enemy.

Not only was Jesus physically abused, He was humiliated as well.  As you may recall, the soldiers made Jesus carry His own cross to the place of execution. This process was designed to humiliate.  Jesus was being showcased to the people as a vile criminal.

If that was not enough, Jesus was executed publicly. People stood around and waited for Him to die. Every gasp, every twitch from pain, every moment of struggle was watched by the crowd. He couldn’t even talk privately with His family and friends!

But there was yet one final insult. Even as He was hanging on the cross the guards were gambling to see who got to keep His clothes. This was worse than a family fighting about the will before someone has died. It’s like watching all your possessions sold before your very eyes. His dignity was gone.  Jesus was humiliated.


After being betrayed, falsely convicted, beaten, spat upon, and unjustly nailed to a cross to die an agonizing death, the Son of God harbored no hatred for His tormentors but instead we read that He offered them forgiveness…His first words from the cross were “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

The first three were uttered between the third and sixth hours (9 a.m.-12 noon).

This first of the seven cross-sayings of our Lord presents him in the attitude of prayer. How significant! How instructive! His public ministry had opened with prayer (Luke 3:21), and here we see it closing in prayer. Surely he has left us an example! No longer might those hands minister to the sick, for they are nailed to the cross; no longer may those feet carry him on errands of mercy, for they are fastened to the cruel tree; no longer may he engage in instructing the apostles, for they have forsaken him and fled. How then does he occupy himself? In the ministry of prayer! What a lesson for us.

In praying for his enemies not only did Christ set before us a perfect example of how we should treat those who wrong and hate us, but he also taught us never to regard any as beyond the reach of prayer. If Christ prayed for his murderers then surely we have encouragement to pray now for the very chief of sinners! Christian reader, never lose hope. Does it seem a waste of time for you to continue praying for that man, that woman, that wayward child of yours? Does their case seem to become more hopeless every day?

Jesus asked His father to forgive the very ones who abused, rejected, and humiliated Him.  These words from Jesus show us the compassionate heart of our Savior.

Jesus’ words were not just spoken for the crowds that were watching Him die.  They were also spoken for us to hear today.

 Here we see the fulfillment of the prophetic word.

How much God made known before hand of what should transpire on that day of days! What a complete picture did the Holy Spirit furnish of our Lord’s Passion with all the attendant circumstances! Among other things it had been foretold that the Saviour should “make intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

 Here we see Christ identified with his people.

On no previous occasion did Christ make such a request of the Father. Never before had he invoked the Father’s forgiveness of others. Hitherto he forgave himself. To the man sick of the palsy he had said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2). To the woman who washed his feet with her tears in the house of Simon, he said, “Thy sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48). Why then should he now ask the Father to forgive, instead of directly pronouncing forgiveness himself?

 Here we see the divine estimate of sin and its consequent guilt.

Under the Levitical economy God required that atonement should be made for sins of ignorance. “If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering: And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him” (Lev. 5:15, 16).

Sin is always sin in the sight of God whether we are conscious of it or not. Sins of ignorance need atonement just as truly as do conscious sins. God is holy, and he will not lower his standard of righteousness to the level of our ignorance. Ignorance is not innocence.

Here we see the blindness of the human heart.

This does not mean that the enemies of Christ were ignorant of the fact of his crucifixion. They did know full well that they had cried out “Crucify him”. They did know full well that their vile request had been granted them by Pilate. They did know full well that he had been nailed to the tree for they were eye-witnesses of the crime.

What then did our Lord mean when he said, “They know not what they do”? He meant they were ignorant of the enormity of their crime. They “knew not” that it was the Lord of glory they were crucifying. The emphasis is not on “They know not” but on “they know not what they do”.

And yet they ought to have known. Their blindness was inexcusable. The Old Testament prophecies which had received their fulfillment in him were sufficiently plain to identify him as the Holy One of God. His teaching was unique, for his very critics were forced to admit “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).

And what of his perfect life! He had lived before men a life which had never been lived on earth before. He pleased not himself. He went about doing good. He was ever at the disposal of others. There was no self-seeking about him. His was a life of self-sacrifice from beginning to end. His was a life ever lived to the glory of God. His was a life on which was stamped heaven’s approval, for the Father’s voice testified audibly, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am wellpleased” . No, there was no excuse for their ignorance. It only demonstrated the blindness of their hearts. Their rejection of the Son of God bore full witness, once for all, that the carnal mind is “enmity against God”.

Here we see a lovely exemplification of his own teaching.

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord taught his disciples, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Above all others Christ practiced what he preached. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. He not only taught the truth but was himself the truth incarnate. Said he, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). So here on the cross he perfectly exemplified his teaching of the mount. In all things he has left us an example.

Notice Christ did not personally forgive his enemies. So in Matthew 5:44 he did not exhort his disciples to forgive their enemies, but he does exhort them to “pray” for them. But are we not to forgive those who wrong us? This leads us to a point concerning which there is much need for instruction today.

Does scripture teach that under all circumstances we must always forgive? I answer emphatically, it does not. The word of God says, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee saying, 1 repeat, thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3,4).


The people who had beat Jesus, mocked Him, and nailed Him to the cross did not deserve forgiveness.  But Jesus through His kindness offered it to them.  The point is that forgiveness reaches out to the undeserving.

Chris Carrier of Coral Gables, Florida, was abducted when he was 10 years old. His kidnapper, angry with the boy’s family, burned him with cigarettes, stabbed him numerous times with an ice pick, then shot him in the head and left him to die in the Everglades. Remarkably, the boy survived, though he lost sight in one eye. No one was ever arrested.

Recently, a man confessed to the crime. Carrier, now a youth minister, went to see him. He found David McAllister, a 77-year-old ex-convict, frail and blind, living in a North Miami Beach nursing home. Carrier began visiting often, reading to McAllister from the Bible and praying with him. His ministry opened the door for McAllister to make a profession of faith.

No arrest is forthcoming; after twenty-two years, the statute of limitations on the crime is long past. In Christian Reader (Jan/Feb 98), Carrier says, “While many people can’t understand how I could forgive David McAllister, from my point of view I couldn’t not forgive him. If I’d chosen to hate him all these years, or spent my life looking for revenge, then I wouldn’t be the man I am today, the man my wife and children love, the man God has helped me to be.”

David McAllister didn’t deserve forgiveness.  He beat and tortured a little, precious child.  However, Chris Carrier had the Christ like heart to forgive him.

We must likewise forgive people who don’t deserve it. We are to forgive others just as God forgives us.

(Mark 11:25)  “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

(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.”

 Right now in your life, are you harboring any bitterness and anger against someone who did you wrong?  Do you wake up in the morning with hatred in your heart towards someone?  If you do, this morning is the perfect time to let go of your bitterness & anger and forgive the person who has treated you badly.

But you may want to say, “But they don’t deserve to be forgiven.”  But I say, “Did the people who put Jesus to death deserve to be forgiven?  No.  “Do we deserve to be forgiven by God when we sin against Him?  No.  But yet God still forgives us.  We must forgive because God forgives us.

Leonardo da Vinci painted the fresco “The Last Supper” in a church in Milan. Two very interesting stories are associated with this painting.

At the time that Leonardo da Vinci painted “The Last Supper,” he had an enemy who was a fellow painter. da Vinci had had a bitter argument with this man and despised him. When da Vinci painted the face of Judas Iscariot at the table with Jesus, he used the face of his enemy so that it would be present for ages as the man who betrayed Jesus. He took delight while painting this picture in knowing that others would actually notice the face of his enemy on Judas.

As he worked on the faces of the other disciples, he often tried to paint the face of Jesus, but couldn’t make any progress. da Vinci felt frustrated and confused. In time he realized what was wrong. His hatred for the other painter was holding him back from finishing the face of Jesus. Only after making peace with his fellow painter and repainting the face of Judas was he able to paint the face of Jesus and complete his masterpiece.

One of the reasons we may have a hard time accepting the forgiveness of God is that we find it hard to forgive others. That’s why Jesus said, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matt. 6:14,15). If you want your relationship with Jesus to be all that it should be, forgive your enemies and do all you can to demonstrate Christ’s love to them.

I realize that at times, it is hard to forgive…but we must.  We must forgive so that we can get on with our lives.  At this moment, if you need to forgive someone, do what Jesus did, pray…”Father, forgive them…”


Although Jesus could have easily forgiven these men Himself, why did He ask His Heavenly Father to forgive them?

The answer is…Jesus wants us to understand that forgiveness ultimately comes from the Father.  An offense against the Son was an offense against the Father.  A sin against any other person was – and is – a sin against God; like the prodigal son said to his father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21).

When we sin against others, we are also sinning against God.  When we sin against another person, not only should we ask that person for forgiveness, but we should also ask God for His forgiveness.  Why?  Forgiveness ultimately comes from God the Father.


Do not think that it was because of the wicked plot of the unbelieving Jewish rulers that Jesus is now nailed to the cross.  Do not think that it was because of weakness that the Lord of glory has been arrested, tried, and condemned to die.  Do not think that the Roman military or governor was responsible.

For it was your sins and my sins which put Jesus on the cross.

And do not feel sadness just because this seems like an unhappy story filled with someone else’s pain.   Rather feel grief over your own sins, which Jesus Christ bore in His own body on the cross.

No, these men did not know nor understand just Who Jesus is.  He is the Son of God, Who came to bring you back into the love of God by suffering for your sins, and by taking your punishment.

And, consistent with love, and as the supreme example of love, Jesus prayed, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.  Among the deepest thought we can think, here, and the finest perception we can make, is that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has everything to do with the love of God for you, and God’s provision of forgiveness of your sins.

This morning, we have looked at the first saying from the cross… “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). These words are inspiring and they teach us several wonderful lessons. Forgiveness reaches out to the undeserving. Forgiveness ultimately comes from the Father. I hope and pray that the words of the Lord have touched your heart.

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Posted by on June 20, 2022 in cross


A closer view of the cross: The saint must walk alone

Some paths we must walk alone. Find more inspirational quotes to help you  navigate your grief at:… | Inspirational  quotes, Grief, Life

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

There seems to be a great throng of professing Christians in our churches today whose total and amazing testimony sounds about like this: “I am thankful for God’s plan in sending Christ to the cross to save me from hell.”

I am convinced that it is a cheap, low-grade and misleading kind of Christianity that impels people to rise and state: “Because of sin I was deeply in debt—and God sent His Son, who came and paid all my debts.”

Of course believing Christian men and women are saved from the judgment of hell, and it is a reality that Christ our Redeemer has paid the whole slate of debt and sin that was against us.

But what does God say about His purpose in allowing Jesus to go to the cross and to the grave? What does God say about the meaning of death and resurrection for the Christian believer?

Surely we know the Bible well enough to be able to answer that: God’s highest purpose in the redemption of sinful humanity was based in His hope that we would allow Him to reproduce the likeness of Jesus Christ in our once-sinful lives!

This is the reason why we should be concerned with this text—this testimony of the Apostle Paul in which he shares his own personal theology with the Galatian Christians who had become known for their backsliding.

It is a beautiful miniature, shining forth as an unusual and sparkling gem, an entire commentary on the deeper Christian life and experience. We are not trying to take it out of its context by dealing with it alone. We are simply acknowledging the fact that the context is too broad to be dealt with in any one message.

This is a verse with such depth of meaning and spiritual potential for the Christian believer that we are obligated to seek its full meaning—so it can become practical and workable and livable in all of our lives in this present world.

It is plain in this text that Paul was forthright and frank in the matter of his own personal involvement in seeking and finding God’s highest desires and provision for Christian experience and victory. He was not bashful about the implications of his own personality becoming involved with the claims of Jesus Christ.

Not only does he plainly testify, “I have been crucified,” but within the immediate vicinity of these verses, he used the words I, myself and me a total of fourteen times….

Only Christianity recognizes why the person who is without God and without any spiritual perception gets in such deep trouble with his own ego.

Most of the world’s great souls have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.

In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man’s creation) that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by people.

Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and herdsmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man “whose soul was alike a star and dwelt apart”?

As far as we know, not one word did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Facedown he communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade that he assume this posture in the presence of others.

How sweet and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There alone with a horror of great darkness upon him he heard the voice of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman.

After the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete seclusion in the desert. There while he watched his sheep alone the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other, but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness.

They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the crowd and into long periods of heaviness. “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children” (Psalm 69:8), cried one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest.

Most revealing of all is the sight of that One of whom Moses and all the prophets did write, treading His lonely way to the cross, His deep loneliness unrelieved by the presence of the multitudes.

’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow The star is dimmed that lately shone.

‘Tis midnight; in the garden now The suffering Savior prays alone.

‘Tis midnight, and from all removed, The Savior wrestles lone with fears;

E’en that disciple whom He loved Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.  —William B. Tappan

He died alone in the darkness, hidden from the sight of mortal man, and no one saw Him when He arose triumphant and walked out of the tomb, though many saw Him afterward and bore witness to what they saw.

There are some things too sacred for any eye but God’s to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make unlikely, if not impossible, the communication of the secret message of God to the worshiping heart.

Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience.

Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, “Oh, I am never lonely. God said, ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’ (Joshua 1:5), and Christ said, ‘Lo, I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20).

How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?” I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real.

It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society.

The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the presence of Christ may and probably does arise from the presence of friendly people.

Always remember: You cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart. Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross. No one is a friend to the man with a cross. “And they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:50).

The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right.

The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world.

His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.

The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man who has passed on into the divine presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. A certain amount of social fellowship will of course be his as he mingles with religious persons in the regular activities of the church, but true spiritual fellowship will be hard to find.

But he should not expect things to be otherwise. After all, he is a stranger and a pilgrim, and the journey he takes is not on his feet but in his heart. He walks with God in the garden of his own soul—and who but God can walk there with him?

He is of another spirit from the multitudes that tread the courts of the Lord’s house. He has seen that of which they have only heard, and he walks among them somewhat as Zacharias walked after his return from the altar when the people whispered, “He has seen a vision” (see Luke 1:22).

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity.

  • He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another.
  • He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself.
  • He delights not to be honored but to see his Savior glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected.
  • He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.
  • He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces (see Psalm 45:8), and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:10).

His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd—that Christ is All in all, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life’s summum bonum.

Two things remain to be said. 1. The lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness.

He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

  1. The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true.

His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the brokenhearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it.

The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful “adjustment” to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest.

The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

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Posted by on June 6, 2022 in cross


A closer view of the cross: Almost

Pontius Pilate - Wikipedia

23:11-12 Now Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Then they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.NLT With this prisoner refusing to answer, and looking very little like a great miracle worker, Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Angry at Jesus’ refusal to even answer questions for him, Herod resorted to making a mockery of this man who was supposedly such a great prophet, teacher, and miracle worker.

To make fun of Jesus’ claim to be a king (probably Pilate had sent along this information when he sent Jesus to Herod), Herod put a royal robe on him, probably a purple color with fine workmanship. Herod did not even take the charge seriously. So he neither released the prisoner nor made a judgment about his guilt. He simply sent him back to Pilate.

Herod and Pilate had a rather tenuous relationship. Herod was the part-Jewish ruler of Galilee and Perea. Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea and Samaria. Those four provinces, together with several others, had been united under Herod the Great. But when Herod the Great died in 4 b.c., the kingdom was divided among his sons, each of whom was called “tetrarch” (meaning “ruler of a fourth part of a region”). Archelaus, the son who had received Judea and Samaria, was removed from office within ten years, and his provinces were then ruled by a succession of Roman governors, of whom Pilate was the fifth.

Herod Antipas had two advantages over Pilate: he had come from a part-Jewish monarchy, and he had held his position much longer. But Pilate had two advantages over Herod: he was a Roman citizen and an envoy of the emperor, and his position was created to replace that of Herod’s ineffective half brother. It is not surprising that the two men were uneasy around each other. Jesus’ trial, however, brought them together. Because Pilate had recognized Herod’s authority over Galilee, Herod had stopped feeling threatened by the Roman politician. And because neither man knew what to do in this predicament, their common problem united them.


According to the Roman custom of releasing a criminal during the Passover season, Pilate presented Jesus to the people. Pilate did not want to bear the responsibility of putting an innocent man to death. But the crowd insisted on Barabbas’s freedom, the release of a known murderer. That Jesus literally died in Barabbas’s place vividly illustrates the ultimate significance of Jesus’ death. He took the place of not only Barabbas but also all who stand condemned before God’s perfect standard and trust in Christ for salvation.

23:13-14 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him.”NRSV Pilate thought he had gotten rid of his problem, only to have Jesus sent back. The decision still rested on his shoulders. So he attempted to let this innocent man go by telling Jesus’ accusers that he had examined him and not found this man guilty of any of their charges—including subversion, refusal to pay taxes, causing riots, or perverting the people. He didn’t even find Jesus guilty of being the king he claimed to be. Pilate may have incorrectly thought that Jesus was just a poor, deluded man; he did know, however, that Jesus was innocent.


When the stakes are high, it is difficult to stand up for what is right, and it is easy to see opponents as problems to be solved rather than as people to be respected. Had Pilate been a man of real courage, he would have released Jesus regardless of the consequences. But the crowd roared, and Pilate buckled.

People are like Pilate when they know what is right but decide not to do it. When you have a difficult decision to make, don’t discount the effects of peer pressure. Realize beforehand that the right decision could have unpleasant consequences: social rejection, career derailment, public ridicule. Then think of Pilate and resolve to stand up for what is right no matter what other people pressure you to do.

23:15 “Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty.”NLT Pilate could back up his decision with Herod’s conclusion about Jesus. Herod had mocked Jesus but apparently had sent back word to Pilate that he could find nothing worthy of the death penalty. Jesus was tried a total of six times, by both Jewish and Roman authorities, but he was never convicted of a crime. Even when condemned to execution, he had been convicted of no felony. Today, no one can find fault in Jesus. Just like Pilate, Herod, and the religious leaders, however, many still refuse to acknowledge him as Lord.

23:16 “Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”NIV The word “punish” here may not indicate the severe flogging that Jesus received after being sentenced, prior to his crucifixion (as noted in Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15), although John 19:1 reports Jesus being flogged and then brought before the crowd. Pilate may have hoped that the flogging would appease the crowd, and they would pity the man and let him go. Pilate was planning to release Jesus, but first he would punish him—to pacify the Jews and teach the prisoner a lesson to stay out of trouble in the future.

Riding The Fence

Pilate knew that Jesus had done nothing deserving punishment, and certainly not the death penalty. Even so, he didn’t have the courage or the decency to release Jesus; he tried to find a middle position that would allow Jesus to live and still appease the chief priests and the Jewish rulers. He failed, and Pilate is known forever as the man who ordered the crucifixion of the Son of God.

Where do you stand? Have you made up your own mind about Jesus, whether to follow him as Lord and Messiah, or to dismiss him as a misguided martyr? There is no middle ground, no way to ride the fence when it comes to Jesus. You must either embrace him as Lord or reject him as a fraud.

23:17 (For it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).NKJV This verse does not exist in most modern English versions because it does not appear in any of the earliest Greek manuscripts. It may have been added later, perhaps picked up from Mark 15:6 to make a smoother transition between what is recorded in verses 16 and 18. This information helps the reader understand why the Jews called for the release of a prisoner in 23:18. But the text without 23:17 reads just as well; Pilate’s statement about releasing Jesus (23:16) is followed (23:18) by an immediate plea from the crowd to release Barabbas instead.

Each year at Passover, Pilate had made it a custom to release any prisoner the people requested. He may have instituted this custom to be on good terms with them as well as to help cover his many wrongful acts toward them. In any case, it became expected. So, according to the people, it was necessary for him to release a prisoner to them at the feast.

23:18-19 With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)NIV The suggestion that Pilate was going to release Jesus (23:16) sent the leaders into a frenzy. Pilate had wanted to release Jesus as the Passover gift (Mark 15:8-9). This had been a public announcement, so many people in the crowd cried out with one voice that Jesus must be put to death. The prisoner they wanted set free was a man named Barabbas. Oddly enough, Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection. Barabbas may have been somewhat of a hero among the Jews for his acts of rebellion against Rome, but he was on death row in a Roman prison. He was a true rebel and revolutionary and had even committed murder. The religious leaders had tried to pin this accusation on Jesus in order to have him put to death, but they chose a man who had done such acts and wanted him set free. Clearly their actions followed no logic. They merely wanted Jesus put to death and would go to any lengths to make sure it happened.

Who was Barabbas? Jewish men had names that identified them with their fathers. Simon Peter, for example, was called Simon, son of Jonah (Matthew 16:17). Barabbas is never identified by his given name, and this name, “Bar-abbas,” simply means “son of ‘Abba'” (or “son of daddy”). He could have been anybody’s son—and that makes for interesting commentary in that he represents all sinners. Barabbas, son of an unnamed father, committed a crime. Because Jesus died in his place, this man was set free. All people too, are sinners and criminals who have broken God’s holy law. Like Barabbas, they deserve to die. But Jesus has died in their place, for their sins, and, by faith, they have been set free.


23:20-21 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”NIV Pilate really wanted to release Jesus. Matthew recorded that even Pilate’s wife had experienced a dream about Jesus and had urged Pilate to let Jesus go (Matthew 27:19). Pilate must have been in a tight spot, because for some reason he put himself in the position of bargaining with the crowd. He had the authority to let Jesus go and then get on with his day; instead, he appealed to them again but to no avail. They wanted Jesus to be crucified.

This was, in itself, an amazing request. Crucifixion was the Roman penalty for rebellion and abhorrent to the Jews. They thought that Jesus’ crucifixion would demonstrate that his life and message had been under God’s curse, for Deuteronomy 21:23 says, “Anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (niv). This is just what the Jewish religious leaders wanted. If Jesus were to be executed, it would be by crucifixion. He would die the death of a rebel and slave, not the death of the king he claimed to be. The crucifixion, from the Jewish perspective, was meant to brand Jesus as cursed by God; the crucifixion, from the Christian perspective, pictures Jesus as taking God’s curse against sin upon himself and allowing his people to be set free from sin.

Taking a Stand

What are the non-negotiables in your life? What are those core principles and bedrock beliefs that you will not compromise or sell out no matter what? Consider this question before you are in a crisis whereby your principles and beliefs are put to the test. Pilate seems to have had no such convictions. He knew Jesus was innocent and undeserving of punishment, yet he yielded to pressure from his political enemies to sacrifice him. Like Pilate, most people are put in positions where they have to decide where they will stand. Unlike Pilate, Christians must decide to stand firm on the truth revealed to them by God. Where do you stand?

23:22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”NIV Pilate tried for the third time. He could not fathom why the crowd so badly wanted this man’s death. Jesus had not committed any crime; there were no grounds for the death penalty. Pilate repeated what he had said in 23:16. He would have Jesus punished and then release him.

There are two reasons why Luke stressed these three attempts Pilate had made to release Jesus. First, Luke wanted to show through his Gospel the innocence of Jesus before Roman law. Luke was giving evidence to prove the acceptability of Christianity to his Gentile readers. Second, he was establishing the Jewish guilt for Jesus’ death. In Acts, this is the basis of the evangelistic sermons to the Jews—you killed him; he died for you and rose again; now repent and be converted (Acts 2:36-38; 3:13-16; 13:26-41).

23:23-24 But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus’ death, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded.NLT Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus’ death . . . so Pilate sentenced Jesus to die. No doubt Pilate did not want to risk losing his position, which may already have been shaky, by allowing a riot to occur in his province. As a career politician, he knew the importance of compromise, and he saw Jesus more as a political threat than as a human being with rights and dignity.

23:25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.NIV Pilate did not want to give Jesus the death sentence. He thought the Jewish leaders were simply jealous men who wanted to get rid of a rival. When they threatened to report Pilate to Caesar (John 19:12), however, Pilate became frightened. Historical records indicate that Pilate had already been warned by Roman authorities about tensions in this region. The last thing he needed was a riot in Jerusalem at Passover time when the city was crowded with Jews from all over the Empire. So Pilate released Barabbas, the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, and then surrendered Jesus to their will. One must wonder if Pilate ever questioned himself later—why he had allowed a mob to convince him to set a murderer free and execute an innocent man. Clearly Pilate was a man of little conviction and even less courage. But don’t forget the responsibility of these Jewish leaders who demanded that Jesus die—Matthew recorded that they accepted the responsibility, stating that Jesus’ blood could remain on them and on their children (Matthew 27:25).

Matthew’s Gospel explains that Pilate took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd to symbolize his innocence in condemning Jesus (Matthew 27:24), but this act was no more than self-deception. Jesus may have been surrendered to the will of the mob, but this was still a purely Roman execution. Pilate had to command it in order for it to happen. After releasing Barabbas, Pilate did allow Jesus to be flogged (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15) as part of the Roman legal code that demanded flogging before a capital sentence was carried out. The Romans did it to weaken the prisoner so that he would die more quickly on the cross. Jesus had predicted that he would be flogged (18:32).

Almost. It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary.

“Almost.” It runs herd with “nearly,” “next time,” “if only,” and “just about.”

It’s a word that smacks of missed opportunities, aborted efforts, and fumbled chances. It’s honorable mention, right field, on the bench, runner-up, and burnt cookies.

Almost. The one that got away. The sale that nearly closed. The gamble that almost paid off. Almost.

How many people do you know whose claim to fame is an almost?

“Did I ever tell you about the time I almost was selected as the Employee of the Year?”

“They say he almost made the big leagues.”

“I caught a catfish that was taller than me! Well … almost.”

As long as there have been people, there have been almosts. People who almost won the battle, who almost climbed the mountain, who almost found the treasure.

One of the most famous “almost’s” is found in the Bible. Pilate. Yet, what he missed was far more significant than a catfish or an award.

He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy. He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace. He almost released the Son of God. He almost opted to acquit the Christ. Almost.

He had the power. He had the choice. He wore the signet ring. The option to free God’s Son was …. . and he did ….. almost. (Of course, in this case, God’s plan would have been twarted…but Pilate was still judged by whether he did the right thing or not).

Almost. How many times do these six ugly letters find their way into despairing epitaphs?

“He almost got it together.” “She almost chose not to leave him.” “They almost tried one more time.” “We almost worked it out. ‘He almost became a Christian.”

What is it that makes almost such a potent word? Why is there such a wide gap between “he almost” and “he did”?

In the case of Pilate, we don’t have to look far to find an answer. It is Dr. Luke’s acute commentary in chapter 23 that provides the reason. Luke 23:22 (ESV) A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.”

You’re right, Luke. Their voices prevailed. And, as a result, Pilate’s pride prevailed. Pilate’s fear prevailed. Pilate’s power-hunger prevailed.

“Their” voices were not the only voices, you know. There were at least three others Pilate could have heard.

He could have heard the voice of Jesus. Pilate stood eye to eye with him. Five times he postponed the decision hoping to gratify the mob with policies or lashings. Yet Jesus was always sent back to him.

Three times he stood eye to eye with this compelling Nazarene who had come to reveal the truth. “what is truth?” Pilate asked rhetorically (or was it honestly?). Jesus’ silence was much louder than the crowd’s demands. But Pilate didn’t listen.

He could have heard the voice of his wife. She pleaded with him to have nothing to do with that righ­teous man for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.”

One has to pause and wonder about the origin of such a dream that would cause a lady of purple to call a small-town Galilean righteous. But Pilate didn’t.

Or he could have heard his own voice. Surely he could see through the facade. “Ananias, Caiaphas, cut the phoney allegiance; I know where your interests are.”

Surely his conscience was speaking to him. “There is nothing wrong with this man. A bit mysterious maybe, but that’s no reason to string him up.”

He could have heard other voices. But he didn’t. He almost did. But he didn’t. Satan’s voices prevailed.

His voice often does prevail. Have you heard his wooings?

“One time won’t hurt.”

“She’ll never know.”

“Other people do much worse things.”

“At least you’re not being hypocritical.”

His rhetoric of rationalization never ends. The father of lies croons and woos like a traveling peddler, promising the moon and delivering disaster.

“Step right up. Taste my brew of pleasure and sing my song of sensuality. After all, who knows about tomorrow?”

God, meanwhile, never enters a shouting match with Satan. Truth need not scream. He stands perma­nently, quietly pleading, ever present. No tricks, no side shows, no temptations, just open proof.

People’s reactions vary. Some flow immediately to the peddler of poison. Others turn quickly to the Prince of Peace. Most of us, however, are caught somewhere in between, lingering on the edge of Satan’s crowd yet hover­ing within earshot of the message of God.

Pilate learned the hard way that this stance of “almost” is suicidal. The other voices will win. Their lure is too strong. Their call too compelling.

And Pilate also learned that there is no darker hell than the one of remorse. Washing your hands a thousand times won’t free you from the guilt of an opportunity ignored. It’s one thing to forgive yourself for something you did. It is something else to try to forgive yourself for something that you might have done, but didn’t.

Jesus knew that all along.

For our own good, he demanded and demands absolute obedience. He never has had room for “almost” in his vocabulary. You are either with him or against him.

With Jesus “nearly” has to become “certainly.” “Sometimes” has to become ‘(always.” “1f only” has to become “regardless.” And “next time” has to become   time.”

No, Jesus never had room for “almost” and he still doesn’t. “Almost” may count in horseshoes and hand grenades, but with the Master, it is just as good as a “never.”



Posted by on June 2, 2022 in cross


A Closer Look at the Cross: Where Is God? At Calvary!

God's Message at Calvary - Chicago Bible Students

“Where is God?” inquired the mind: “To His presence I am blind. . . .I have scanned each star and sun, Traced the certain course they run; I have weighed them in my scale, And can tell when each will fail; From the caverns of the night I have brought new worlds to light; I have measured earth and sky Read each zone with steady eye; But no sight of God appears In the glory of the spheres.” But the heart spoke wistfully, “Have you looked at Calvary?”  – Thomas C. Clark

If we would know the power of truth we must emphasize it. Creedal truth is coal lying inert in the depths of the earth waiting release. Dig it out, shovel it into the combustion chamber of some huge engine, and the mighty energy that lay asleep for centuries will create light and heat and cause the machinery of a great factory to surge into productive action.

The theory of coal never turned a wheel nor warmed a hearth. Power must be released to be made effective.

In the redemptive work of Christ three major epochs may be noted: His birth, His death and His subsequent elevation to the right hand of God.

These are the three main pillars that uphold the temple of Christianity; upon them rest all the hopes of mankind, world without end. All else that He did takes its meaning from these three Godlike deeds.

It is imperative that we believe all these truths, but the big question is where to lay the emphasis. Which truth should, at a given time, receive the sharpest accent? We are exhorted to look unto Jesus, but where shall we look? Unto Jesus in the manger? on the cross? at the throne? These questions are far from academic. It is of great practical importance to us that we get the right answer.

Of course we must include in our total creed the manger, the cross and the throne. All that is symbolized by these three objects must be present to the gaze of faith; all is necessary to a proper understanding of the Christian evangel.

No single tenet of our creed must be abandoned or even relaxed, for each is joined to the other by a living bond. But while all truth is to be at all times to be held inviolate, not every truth is to be at all times emphasized equally with every other. Our Lord indicated as much when He spoke of the faithful and wise steward who gave to his master’s household “their portion of meat in due season” (Luke 12:42).

Mary brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. Wise men came to worship, shepherds wondered and angels chanted of peace and good will towards men.

All taken together this scene is so chastely beautiful, so winsome, so tender, that the like of it is not found anywhere in the literature of the world. It is not hard to see why Christians have tended to place such emphasis upon the manger, the meek-eyed virgin and the Christ child. In certain Christian circles the major emphasis is made to fall upon the child in the manger. Why this is so is understandable, but the emphasis is nevertheless misplaced.

Christ was born that He might become a man and became a man that He might give His life as ransom for many. Neither the birth nor the dying were ends in themselves. As He was born to die, so did He die that He might atone, and rise that He might justify freely all who take refuge in Him. His birth and His death are history. His appearance at the mercy seat is not history past, but a present, continuing fact, to the instructed Christian the most glorious fact his trusting heart can entertain.

Let us remember that weakness lies at the manger, death at the cross and power at the throne. Our Christ is not in a manger. Indeed, New Testament theology nowhere presents the Christ child as an object of saving faith. The gospel that stops at the manger is another gospel and no good news at all. The Church that still gathers around the manger can only be weak and misty-eyed, mistaking sentimentality for the power of the Holy Spirit.

As there is now no babe in the manger at Bethlehem so there is no man on the cross at Jerusalem. To worship the babe in the manger or the man on the cross is to reverse the redemptive processes of God and turn the clock back on His eternal purposes. Let the Church place its major emphasis upon the cross and there can be only pessimism, gloom and fruitless remorse. Let a sick man die hugging a crucifix and what have we there? Two dead men in a bed, neither of which can help the other.

The glory of the Christian faith is that the Christ who died for our sins rose again for our justification. We should joyfully remember His birth and gratefully muse on His dying, but the crown of all our hopes is with Him at the Father’s right hand.

Paul gloried in the cross and refused to preach anything except Christ and Him crucified, but to him the cross stood for the whole redemptive work of Christ. In his epistles Paul writes of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion, yet he stops not at the manger or the cross but constantly sweeps our thoughts on to the Resurrection and upward to the ascension and the throne.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18), said our risen Lord before He went up on high, and the first Christians believed Him and went forth to share His triumph. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33).

Should the Church shift her emphasis from the weakness of the manger and the death of the cross to the life and power of the enthroned Christ, perhaps she might recapture her lost glory. It is worth a try.

The Cross Jesus Had in Mind

When Jesus said, “If you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you. Take up the gas chamber and follow me.”

He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible. Jesus had in mind a place of execution.

The New Cross

“From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life; and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique—a new type of meeting and new type of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as of the old, but its content is not the same, and the emphasis not as before.

“The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into the public view the same thing the world does, only a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

“The new cross does not slay the sinner; it re-directs him. It gears him to a cleaner and jollier way of living, and saves his self-respect…The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

“The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of DEATH. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took the cross and started down the road has already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life re-directed; he was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise; modified nothing; spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely, and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with the victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

“The race of Adam is under the death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear, or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him, and then raising him again to newness of life.

“That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers.

The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life to a higher plane; we leave it at the cross….

“We, who preach the gospel, must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern entertainment.

“We are not diplomats, but prophets; and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum.”

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Posted by on May 30, 2022 in cross

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