The Resurrection Message Jesus Gave By His Seven Words from the Cross

What does this Resurrection morning mean to all of us gathered in Christ? Everything.

Christ's resurrection means EVERYTHING to us.

All that we believe, all that we hope, all that we trust-everything was on Jesus:
when He hung on the Cross, 
when He was Buried, and all praise to God-when He Rose.

Anything that will be precious and last forever is attached to Christ's conquest of sin, and death, and the grave.

How About Celebrating Our Risen Christ

I would like all of you who know Christ personally, love Him dearly, and rejoice in this greatest of all days to join me giving a special praise offering to the Lord.

Often we are so quiet about Christ, but so loud at other events. We cheer, and yell, and clap for so many things we are excited about. How about sharing some of that enthusiasm today?

As I read each of these four Resurrection truths this morning and pause, please respond with the way you express great joy and excitement for someone you love accomplishing something special. You can say with great joy an: Amen, Praise the Lord, or Hallelujah!

Jesus lives & The Tomb is empty.
Death is defeated & The Grave is opened. 
God is in control & His Word is true. 
The Devil's Hold is destroyed & Christ has won.

From Resurrection morning and onward, Jesus taught His disciples in the reality of what God accomplished through Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Those disciples needed help to fully understand all that had taken place, and so do we.

As we open to Luke 24:36 we are going to get to see how Jesus led His disciples in the final training sessions before He launched them out to live for Him after He ascended back to Heaven.

But how did He do all that? What was Christ's method in getting the disciples ready to live the rest of their lives FOR Him, without HIM any longer, visibly walking right there beside them? 

Jesus Reminded Them Of What He Had Said 

Jesus just reminded them of what He had already said. Jesus did not really introduce any new revelations to them; He just opened their minds to what He had already said.

In other words Christ took them back to the Bible. Read Luke 24:36-39, 44-45 (NKJV):

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

After the Resurrection Jesus took His disciples back to what He had said before His Death. That is also what we are going to do on this Resurrection Sunday as we ponder that: 

Christ Spoke Seven Times from the Cross

From the dying lips of Jesus, from His raging-thirst-dried-mouth, in the midst of excruciating pain, even though being crushed by the horrors of sin and death and the pains of hell-Jesus carefully and clearly speaks.

If we will listen, Jesus is speaking to each of us today from His Crucifixion.

  1. Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  
  2. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, Today you will be with Me in Paradise."
  3. John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
  4. Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
  5. John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"
  6. John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!"  
  7. Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

What is amazing is that Jesus speaks at all, knowing as we do:

The Horrible Pain of the Cross

After Pilate's washing his hands of the matter, Jesus was seized by calloused Roman soldiers, led through the streets of Jerusalem known today as the Via Dolorossa, and taken out the Damascus Gate to the public place of Roman execution.

There beside the heavily traveled road to Damascus, that headed north out of Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified: in full view of all the city dwellers as well as those who traveled down the highway to and from Damascus.

There the death squad, who were the pros of Roman crucifixion: rudely stripped him, and harshly pushed Christ's already bloodied and torn body onto a rough and filthy wooden beam.

Then those reused, filthy iron spikes were pounded through Christ's wrists and ankles as mankind murdered their Maker with carpenter's tools. After they cruelly pierced Him, they raised Him aloft and hung Him upon a cross to be seen by all.

The soldiers wiped off their hands, collected their tools, and took their stations around the crosses to stand guard, until death came to those three condemned criminals.

But in the midst of all that there is a stir, the prisoner on the middle cross, held by spikes, crowned by thorns, and covered by bleeding wounds is about to speak to His cruel tormentors. His lips begin to move:

Jesus spoke from the Cross.  

He spoke in pain.

He spoke in short gasps.

He spoke exactly seven times. To find that first message from the Cross, turn back with me to Luke 23: 32-43 for the first time Jesus speaks.

WORD ONE: Jesus offers forgiveness

What was the very first subject that Jesus introduces to us from His cross? He offers Forgiveness. In what is accepted by all as Christ's first word from the Cross, we can hear Christ's heart of compassion: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  

This first time we hear Jesus speak, as we stand at the foot of the cross. Luke 23:32 starts the chronological record of Christ's seven times of speaking from the cross. Look with me at the larger context of this first time Jesus speaks:

Luke 23:32-34 (NKJV) There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.  

When Jesus speaks to those surrounding Him on the Cross, it is actually us hearing Him praying something over and over (it is the imperfect indicative verb form). Those within earshot, those in the close circle of the Cross heard Jesus pray over these words of compassion. I think Jesus may even have started these words as they spiked His Hands and Feet, as they roughly propped Him upright.

To both the soldiers who would hear, and the criminals on either side: it was the cry of our Savior's heart to those who were there, so they could know that He offered them full and complete forgiveness.

To those criminals and soldiers surrounding Him, who were just everyday sinners living their lives, and swept into the greatest crime ever committed, Jesus said: Father, don't hold this crime of mocking me (the thieves) and crucifying me (the soldiers) against them.

It is interesting that this prayer was answered before our eyes. One thief and one soldier of the group at His feet take His offer of forgiveness that very day. That means that they experienced:

Christ's Greatest Miracle

The Four Gospels record just 37 specific miracles that Jesus performed during His earthly ministry. These include sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, health to the sick-and many other tremendous miracles, supernaturally performed by Christ.

Which one was the greatest? If you analyze them they were wonderful; but always remember that ALL 37 of Christ's recorded miracles were only temporary.

  • The eyes restored to blind Bartimaeus were used, worn out and dimmed by the time he died.
  • Lepers who found fresh new skin and limbs saw them again return to wrinkles, weakness and finally immobility as their bodies were assaulted by the weight of many years.

So yes, Jesus performed many miracles-but all of them but one was TEMPORARY. So, which was the greatest of all Christ's miracles?

The answer is the one that never faded, never aged, never ended. It was the miracle un-faded by time, untouched by health, unaffected by circumstances.

That miracle, the greatest miracle is the one that Jesus Christ is still doing in our midst today: complete forgiveness.

This Resurrection Sunday the greatest question you could ever be asked is:

Do YOU Have Christ's Complete Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is the miracle that I have personally experienced. It is the miracle that most of us in this room have also experienced. It is the greatest of all Christ's miracles: complete forgiveness.

Always remember what was on the lips of Jesus at the end of His earthly life. The essence of Christ's love is seen in His dying gasp, offering forgiveness to those at His feet.

Always remember that God freely offers His love through Christ to sinners.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus offered then, and offers now, forgiveness.

Christ's prayer from the Cross makes His forgiveness available to every sinful human, but not all will avail themselves of it. Forgiveness must be accepted as well as given.

This Resurrection morning have you believed, accepted and experienced the forgiveness of Jesus Christ offered to you, a sinful human? If so, you've been born again, and with God you have no past, just a future.

What happens to someone who truly believes that they are forgiven?

  • Christ's forgiveness is like having deadly spots of skin cancer removed by a skilled doctor. Those spots trouble us until they are surgically cut away, or burned off and gone. Forgiveness means my deadly cancer of sin is taken care of permanently.
  • Christ's forgiveness is like having that huge utility bill paid for us by another. We know that our heart or lights are going to cut off, and we are counting down the days. Then the bill gets paid and we are spared the termination. Forgiveness is like my bills being forever paid, they will never come due so that I face a termination notice.
  • Christ's forgiveness is like having a murderous stalker that stands in the distance threatening us with evil and dangerous intent. We can't sleep or rest knowing he is out there in the dark, waiting for us. We live in dread fear until the police apprehend him, imprison him, and lock him up for life without parole. Forgiveness means my worst, deadliest enemy is forever gone.

Christ's Last words assure us that He offers His forgiveness and love to us, even though He knows that we have failed Him, sinned against Him and resisted Him.

Look down at the next few verses in Luke 23, because there we find:

WORD TWO: Jesus promises everlasting life

What was the second subject Jesus introduced after forgiveness? Christ's second word from the cross is His promise of eternal life: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Now look at the wider context of that second word, as we continue reading in Luke 23:39-43 (NKJV):

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, Today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Jesus keeps His promises. He told all who were weary of their sins that they could come to Him and find eternal rest. He promised His troubled disciples that beyond the grave there was a place He was preparing for them.

Just the night before the Cross, Jesus had spoken those precious words expressing His desire to take them with Him to Heaven.  

John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.2 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

And here is that promise kept to a lowly, guilty and doomed sinner by Jesus the King of Heaven. Just as hymn-writer William Cowper said "The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away".  The important question we need to ask is, "Do I have":

Reservations in Heaven?

Christ's second word from the Cross assures us that He has a place in Heaven reserved for us. Analyze Christ's eight-word response to this guilty criminal on the very doorstep of death, with no place to turn but to Jesus:

  • TODAY: Not after purgatory, not after limbo, not after soul sleep-TODAY!
  • YOU: Yes, you a guilty, convicted, no doubt very bad, man near death-TODAY, YOU!
  • WILL BE: Not maybe, hold on, if you make it and if God doesn't waiver; no Jesus said it would happen. God never changes, what assurance! Today You Will
  • WITH ME: Not soul sleep, but conscious existence. Not purging left over sins, but today with Jesus, immediately upon death, entering life with His Savior! Today you will be with Me!
  • IN PARADISE: Yes, heaven, the presence of God forever. No sin, no sickness, death nor sorrow; only endless conscious bliss. Today you will be with Me in Paradise!

Christ's last words assure us that He keeps His promises. He told all who were weary of their sins that they could come to Him and find eternal rest. And that is what He offers to all this day!

So from the Cross Jesus spoke: He offers forgiveness; and He promises everlasting life.

When Jesus speaks to those surrounding Him on the Cross, it is actually us hearing Him praying. It is the cry of our Savior's heart that those who are there know that He offered them full and complete forgiveness.

To those criminals and those soldiers who were just everyday sinners living their lives, and swept into the greatest crime ever committed, Jesus said: don't hold this crime of mocking me (the thieves) and crucifying me (the soldiers) against them. It is interesting that this prayer was answered before our eyes.

One thief and one soldier of the group at His feet take His offer of forgiveness that very day. That means that they experienced: Christ's Greatest Miracle.

Have YOU Met Jesus?

Forgiveness is the miracle that I have personally experienced. It is the miracle that most of us in this room have also experienced. If you are forgiven, then you also have reservations in Heaven.

That is what Jesus offered from the Cross; and what He accomplished when He stepped forth from the Tomb; and what He offers to YOU today. If you don't know you are forgiven and have reservations in Heaven, Jesus stands here offering both to you. Don't leave without knowing that you are forgiven eternally.

If you brought someone today, before you go, please ask them if they would like to know Christ's complete forgiveness today. Invite them to the Fellowship Center where men and women are waiting now with God's Word open and ready to show you God's Simple Way of Salvation.

APPENDIX:

  1. Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.
  2. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
  3. John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
  4. Mark 15:33-34 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
  5. John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"
  6. John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
  7. Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

WORD THREE: He offers His Compassion

Christ's third word from the cross in John 19:26, was a reflection of His most frequent emotion displayed throughout His earthly ministry-compassion.

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"

To the end of His life, and most clearly here, we have a compassionate Savior! Jesus in His dying hours was caring for the needs of His widowed mother. He was providing for her earthly needs.

This reminds us of the truth that He shared in our humanity and knows our needs. That is exactly what the writer of Hebrews declared.

Hebrews 2:14-15, 18 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Christ's Last words assure us that He knows what it is like living on earth, struggling with day to day needs - and has faced the same temptations we face. He can help us! He can provide all that we need.

WORD FOUR: He took our place

Christ's fourth word from the cross in Mark 15:33-34 is a powerful reminder that He took our place. He absorbed the wrath of God rightly poured out upon our sins.

Mark 15:33-34 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Because of our sin-we are all guilty convicts in God's sight; so we need justification.

Jesus died to take guilty convicts and destroy any record that they ever committed a crime and takes their place in the punishment-that's the miracle of justification! A Sinner stands before God as accused and is declared righteous by His imputed righteousness.

Remember this word that speaks of His absorbing of the wrath of God against our sins. He was forsaken so that we would never be. He was made sin so that ours can be removed. He faced God's Wrath so we never will.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In Justification we go from being accused and guilty before God to being righteous and with no record of any wrongs!

We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare-God has once and for all through Christ's sacrifice justified us. That means that He has accused us, declared us guilty of sin and then made us righteous and forever deleted the record of all our wrongs.

Christ's Last words assure us that He absorbed all the punishment for our sins forever. We are saved to the uttermost. This is the heart of Christ's justification of sinners by taking our place.

For a moment listen to the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ reflected in Charles Wesley's great hymn, "Arise my soul arise".

Arise my soul arise,
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice,
In my behalf appears;
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly plead for me;
Forgive him, O, forgive they cry,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die.

My God is reconciled,
His pardoning voice I hear,
He owns me for His child,
I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And Father, Abba Father, cry.

WORD FIVE: He feels our weaknesses and pain

Christ's fifth word from the cross in John 19:28, is a reminder of His empathy. Jesus actually has felt our weaknesses and knows our pains.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"

Remember this word that speaks of His feeling our pain. No one ever knows us like Jesus; no one can ever comfort us like Jesus. 

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I thirst (dipso) is the shortest of all the words from the cross. Jesus began His ministry with the gnawing hunger of 40 days fasting in the wilderness; Jesus closed His ministry with six hours of burning thirst.

One word with two syllables in Greek, expressed the most intense agony the human body is capable of experiencing.  The One who spoke heaven and earth into being has a parched tongue! And that is exactly what God's Word had predicted would happen.

Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

The Roman Army's wine was vinegar, was common and was always with them. When offered vinegar wine mixed with a pain reliever (myrrh) He refused to drink. Jesus faced death fully and un-muzzled. But now He takes a refreshing drink. Just as Jesus drank to the last drop His cup of suffering, so He would drink no more than the Father had given. The drink allowed Him to shout out His triumph.

Christ's Last words assure us that He knows where we are, knows how we struggle, knows all our pain and suffering - and waits with open arms to help us every time we cry out to Him!

Do you know Him yet? He knows you. Have you trusted in Christ your only hope?

WORD SIX: He Accomplished Salvation

Christ's sixth word from the cross is in John 19:30; and this is the Word of Divine Accomplishment.

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Salvation is always presented as being totally of the Lord. We do not produce one bit of salvation by anything we do or have done. Jesus paid it all, no achievement of man can atone for sin. That is why our righteousness that we try to produce is just like a filthy rag in God's sight. Jesus accomplished salvation.

This word speaks of His power to save us. He has done all that ever needs to be done. Nothing is left but to believe. Jesus save me now is what He waits for us to ask.

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

After Jesus received the vinegar, He said, ‘IT IS FINISHED'. If we could have been standing by God's Throne in Heaven seeing and hearing events on Earth through God's eyes, we would have trembled with awe. At that word of Christ's Divine Accomplishment we would have heard-tombs exploding, chains breaking, prison walls crumbling, barriers falling, the gates of Hades opening and Death fleeing.

Christ's Last words assure us that He has done all that ever needs to be done to save us forever and get us safely home!

Are you trusting in Jesus who paid it all?

WORD SEVEN: He shows us how to die peacefully

Christ's final word from the cross is in Luke 23:46, and it is the Word of Divine Assurance.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Remember this word that speaks of His power to keep you safe forever. 

Jude 24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.

Christ's Last words assure us that He has the power to get us safely home to be with Him forever!
He spoke of Forgiveness so we can know we are forgiven. 
He spoke of Assurance so we can know we have reservations in Heaven. 
He spoke of COMPASSion so we can know we are not alone. 
He spoke of SUBSTITUTION so we can know He took our place.
He spoke of Agony so we can know He felt our weakness and pain.
He spoke of Triumph so we can know that our salvation is secured and finished. 
He spoke of Confidence so we can know we are heaven bound!