• Tony Birkhead

Easter 2018



Jesus’ last words on the cross reveal His compassionate nature and incomparable forgiveness!

INTRODUCTION

People tell us lots of things over the course of our lives. Some, like the things parents say, are memorable and stick with us for a lifetime. If we had limited time, our final words would be very focused—we’d speak only about what was truly important. Jesus’ final hours on the cross gave Him one last opportunity to teach us how to live. What did He say? On what did He focus His final words? As we will see in this study, some of Jesus’ last words were not vengeful, cruel, or vindictive—His last few words were words of forgiveness and incomparable compassion.

KEY SCRIPTURE

Luke 23:34-43

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”35And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Matthew 27:45-46

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Psalm 22

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What are some of the most memorable things your parents told you during your childhood?

If you could say something important to the world in just one tweet, what would you say in 144 characters or less?

Do you find it harder to forgive someone who wrongs you in ignorance or someone who wrongs you deliberately?

How do you typically respond, both internally and externally, when people make fun of you? What allowed Jesus to keep focused on the task at hand?

What kinds of emotions did you feel the last time you forgave someone of an offense?

John 19:25-27. How have you seen compassion expressed by God’s people to those who were experiencing difficulties?

What is the most meaningful way someone has ministered to you during a particularly difficult time? What did they do and say that was so memorable?

PRAY TOGETHER

Father, thank you for your forgiveness and grace. Help me to have a forgiving spirit. If there is someone I need to forgive bring them to my mind and give me the opportunity to walk through this process. Help me to show your love and forgiveness to others this week. Thank you. Amen!

MOVING FORWARD

  • Who do you need to extend forgiveness to this week in order to mimic the forgiving nature of Jesus, who forgave His enemies from the cross?

  • As God transforms your attitude and character to resemble that of his Son, how would you like him to change you? Would you say you need help becoming more forgiving or more compassionate? Explain.

COMMENTARY

Luke 23:33-34

23:32-33 Being executed between two... criminals fulfilled the prophecy of Isa 53:12, as well as Jesus’ words in Lk 22:37. The place where Jesus was crucified was called The Skull. In Aramaic, the name is Golgotha. The Latin equivalent is Calvary.

23:34 Jesus forgave His executioners because they acted in ignorance of who He really was. Some early manuscripts do not include the first part of this verse. The phrase they divided His clothes and cast lots fulfilled Ps 22:18.

John 19:25-27

19:25 His mother’ s sister may be Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee mentioned in Matthew and Mark. On Mary the wife of Clopas, cp. Lk 24:18. On Mary Magdalene, see 20:1-18 (cp. Lk 8:2-3).

19:26-27 In keeping with biblical injunctions to honor one’s parents (Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16), Jesus made provision for His mother, who was almost certainly widowed and probably in her early fifties, with little or no personal income.

#Easter #cross

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