LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, Jesus was led the cross to be
crucified and we discussed His first saying, which was, ďFather, forgive them, for they do not know what they doĒ
(Lk. 23:34). Jesus had this forgiving spirit for all
these people who had done horrible things to Him, but while he was hanging
between two thieves in horrible pain, we see the people and even thieves that
are hanging with Him add to His misery.
Matthew 27:39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads †40
and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the
Son of God, come down from the cross." †41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking
with the scribes and elders, said, †42 "He saved
others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come
down from the cross, and we will believe Him. †43 "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him
now if He will have Him; for He said,`I am the Son of
God.'" †44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same
And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who
destroy the temple and build it in three days,
†30 "save Yourself, and come down from the cross!"
†31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking
among themselves with the scribes, said, "He saved others; Himself He
cannot save. †32 "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross,
that we may see and believe." Even those who were crucified with Him
Luke 3:36 The
soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, †37
and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." 38 And an inscription also was written over Him
in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew1: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Here we see four different groups of people who are taking their turns at making Jesusí first 3 hours on the cross as miserable as it can be as He hung there from 9 a.m. to noon. The first group was the common people. Apparently, the false rumor had spread that Jesus was going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days because this is what they were accusing Him of. Basically, they were saying if you have the power to do that, then surely you have the power to save yourself from this crucifixion. While they were mocking Him, what they didnít understand is that He did have this power, but He choose to stay on that cruel cross to not only fulfill the will of the Father, but to give all mankind the ability to be saved from their sins.
The second group were the Jewish leaders who played their part in getting Him upon the cross. They admitted something about Jesus that maybe they didnít mean to when they said that He was able to save others, but is not able to save Himself. These Jewish leaders knew full well that Jesus had done miracles that could not be explained away, yet they would believe in Him. In fact, once they tried to say He got His power from the ruler of the demons, which He quickly dismissed.
The third group were the two thieves. Even they mocked Him even though they were being crucified right along with Him. Maybe they thought they might die with some dignity by taking the focus off them and putting it all on Jesus. However, we will see in just a minute that one of the thieves changes his mind about all of this.
The fourth group were the soldiers. They offered Him sour wine and mocked Him. They also challenged Jesus to save Himself. What misery this must have been for Jesus. I donít know how much time has passed from both thieves mocking Jesus to what we are about to read, but we do know it happened sometime within a 3-hour span. †
The second thing Jesus said from the cross is found in,
Luke 23:39 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
Again, this was prophesied by Isaiah in Isa. 53:12.† At first both these thieves were mocking
Jesus, but this one thief had a change of heart and He defended Jesus. Because
the thief had a change of heart, Jesus assured Him that he would be in paradise
with Him that day. Jesus had the authority to do this. This saying teaches us
that when we die, we do not cease to exist. Yes, our lives here on earth are
over, but we begin a new life as we wait in paradise if we are Christians.
If we are not a Christian, Jesus taught us in the story of the rich man and
Lazarus that we will be waiting in an awful place of torment. Of course, this
entire area is called the Haden realm and it is the waiting place for all the
souls that have passed on until the day of Judgment.
Again, we learn from the story of the rich man and Lazarus and other
Scriptures that we do not soul sleep because we are aware of our surroundings.
Whether it be a place of comfort or torment is up to you because you can choose
to serve God or not to serve Him.
We can also learn from our text where Jesusí soul would be after His death
because He told the thief "Assuredly,
I say to you, today you will be with Me in
"Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath
to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up
the Christ to sit on his throne,† 31 "he, foreseeing
this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not
left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
There are many reasons we can know that He did not go to the part of the
Haden realm that the rich man went to, but one quick thing that make this
obvious is that Jesus would have been giving that thief some bad news because
He told the thief he will be with Him that day.
Before we leave this saying of Jesus, I want to point out that some use
this example to say that the thief was saved without baptism, therefore baptism does not save.
This is the most common argument people use, but as we are about to learn, it
is one of the weakest arguments a person could use because it does not apply to
know about these two thieves is recorded in the four Gospels (Mat. 27:38, 44;
Mk. 15:27-28, 32; Lk. 23:32-33, 39-43; Jn. 19:18, 32). Those who use the thief
on the cross argument assume this thief had not been baptized. However, based
on the knowledge of this thief, itís possible that he was taught about Jesus
and the kingdom to come by either John the Baptist or others. Itís also
possible that he was baptized with Johnís baptism. Matthew records the
following about John the Baptist,
So, itís possible this thief was one of those that had come to John.
However, based on the information we have, we cannot dogmatically say if this
thief was or was not baptized. Just as I canít say for sure that he was
baptized, neither can those who use the thief on the cross argument prove that
he wasnít baptized.
We must also understand that each period of Biblical time has its own
unique set of laws. For instance, those under the patriarchal period were not
required to be baptized or to partake of the Lordís Supper. Those under the Law
of Moses had to offer up animal sacrifices and give tithes, but Christians are
not required to do this because we are under the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; 1
So, when Jesus was on the earth, it was a unique period
of time. During Jesusí ministry, He had the unique ability and authority
to forgive people of their sins. For instance, when the four friends brought
the paralyzed man before Jesus, Mark records,
ďWhen Jesus saw their faith, He said to
the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you (Mk. 2:5)."
†When Jesus said this, it caused
quite a stir among the Jews, but Jesus told them,
"Which is easier, to say to the
paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your
bed and walk'? "But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on
earth to forgive sins (Mk. 2:9-10)."
In this instance, the man was healed because of the faith of his four
friends. If we are going to claim what Jesus did during His earthly ministry
applies today, then we need to teach that our faith could cause Jesus to
forgive our friendís sin. This would mean that our friend could be saved
without belief, repentance or confessing Jesus as Lord. We know this is not
true because Paul teaches us that we must all stand before the judgment seat of
Christ and give an account for what we have done (2 Cor. 5:10).
Another example would be when Jesus forgave the womanís sin who wept on
Jesus feet, wiped them off with her hair, kissed them repeatedly, and anointed
them with oil (Lk. 7:37-50). Again, this does not apply to us because we
couldnít do this since Jesus is no longer on the earth. The same thing is true
about the thief on the cross. When Jesus said he would
be in paradise with Him, He had the authority to make such a claim. Even if the
thief had not been baptized with Johnís baptism, Jesus could have forgiven him
of his sins. Since this was a unique time that only happened while Jesus was
alive on the earth, the thief on the cross cannot be used by anybody today to
prove that baptism is not part of the salvation plan.
We must also consider that the only baptism the thief could have had was
Johnís baptism because the baptism that Jesus commanded did not happen until
after the cross when He gave The Great Commission (Mat. 28:19; Mk. 16:16).
Before this new baptism came into to effect, Jesus had to die and it had to be
ďFor where there is a testament,
there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.† For a testament is in force after men
are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives (Heb. 9:16-17).Ē
We can understand this because a personís will does not go into effect
until they die and then it must be probated. While the thief died after Jesus,
he was not alive to hear the New Testament probated. This is
why this thief on the cross argument is so weak. He died on the cross
before The Great Commission was commanded, so he could not have been baptized
into Christ for remission of sins even if he wanted to. So, the thief on the
cross cannot serve as an example for the Christian today because we are under
the new covenant, which states that we must be baptized in the name of Jesus
for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38). Jesus Himself said:
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not
believe will be condemned.
Next, is Jesusí 3rd saying from the cross:
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!"† 27 Then He said to the disciple,
"Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to
his own home.
Most of the time mothers will always stand by the childrenís side. Even
when their sons or daughters have been involved in evil things and face many
years in jail, they will still be there for them.
Mary had been given one of the greatest honors given to a mother and that
was to be the mother of the Son of God. She knew who Jesus was, and she loved
Him. She was not at the cross to mock Him, and she was not ashamed of Him. We
can only imagine how difficult it was for her to see her Son suffering on the
cross, wishing she could do something about it, but she could not. When Jesus
was a baby, Mary was told that this would happen to Him,
Luke 2:34 Then
Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is
destined for the fall and rising of many in
There is no doubt that Maryís soul had been pierced with a sword as she
tried to take in all that Jesus was going through. Even though Jesus was is severe pain, He wanted to make sure that His mother was
taken care of, so He asked John to do it, which shows how Jesus is always
putting others before Himself. This is a message we are taught as well, because
we are supposed to love one another and care for one another because we are all
brothers and sisters in the family of God. Since Jesus asked John to take care
of his mother it implies that His step-father was dead. Since His brothers did
not believe in Him at that time, He apparently felt that John was the best man
to take care of His mother.
Only John mentions Jesusí mother being at the
cross. Jesusí acquaintances and the women who followed Him from
Sister of Jesusí mother
Mary the wife of Clopas
Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses
Mother of Zebedeeís sons
Mary the mother of James and Joses
Mary the mother of James
Based on our chart it easy to see that Mary
Magdalene, whom Jesus cast out seven demons (Mk. 16:9), was one of the women
there, and we know that Jesusí mother was there.
In the middle of our chart John talks about Mary
the wife of Clopas. ďAccording to tradition, Clopas
was the same person as Alphaeus, the father of James the Less and of Joses
(Matt. 10:3; Mark 15:40)Ē (Nelsonís New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 284).
So, I believe a strong case can be made that John is talking about Mary the
mother of James the Less and Joses.
Now we are left with the sister of Jesusí mother.
When we compare Mk. 15:40 to Mt. 27:56, we can make a strong case that Salome
is the mother of Zebedeeís sons James and John. If John is staying consistent
with these other accounts, then Salome is the sister of Jesusí mother, which
means James and John are Jesusí first cousins. Since we have no hard evidence
that Johnís account is only mentioning the same women as the other accounts, I
cannot be dogmatic about this. More women were there than these four, so it is
possible the sister of Mary was some other woman than Salome, but it is also
possible that she is her sister.
Jesus fourth saying comes from,
Matthew 27:45 Now
from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the
land.† 46 And about the ninth
hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama
sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken
From noon until 3 p.m. there was darkness over all the land. This darkness
was a miracle from God. Imagine being there at the cross and experience this
great darkness knowing what was said about this man Jesus on the cross.
Some think this darkness was prophesied by Amos in:
"And it shall come to pass in that day," says the Lord GOD,
"That I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in
Though this message fits the situation, since it went dark starting at
noon, it also fits how these prophets were talking about a dark day
metaphorically when God would punish His people for their rebellion against
God. Based on the context of Amos, I would not dogmatically say that it does point
to this darkness at the cross, but I can say maybe it does because there are
many prophecies that point to something in the near future
and to the time of Christ.
Some try and explain away this darkness and say it was just an eclipse, but
that is impossible because the Passover always took place at the time of the
full moon, which is astronomically impossible for an eclipse. Also, an eclipse
never lasts for 3 hrs. Though we do not need confirmation of this darkness from
outside sources to believe it happened, we do have the darkness recorded.
In the same hour too, the light of
day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze.
Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt
thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world portent
still in your archives! (Tertullian, Apology in the Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand
Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957), Vol. III, p.
Pilate sent the following report to Tiberius, emperor of
And when he had been crucified, there was darkness over the
whole earth, the sun having been completely hidden, and the heaven appearing
dark, so that the stars appeared, but had at the same time their brightness
darkened, as I suppose your reverence is not ignorant of, because in all the
world they lighted lamps from the sixth hour until evening. And the moon, being
like blood, did not shine the whole night, and yet she happened to be at the
full. (Pontius Pilate, To Tiberius in Ibid., Vol. III, p. 463.)
So, there is no
doubt that this did occur on that day, but why did God make the sun go dark for
those last three hours of His Sonís crucifixion and why did He lift the
darkness after His death? We also learn in Scripture when the end came and
Jesus died, that there was also an earthquake that opened up
the tombs of some of the dead saints (who were later raised from the dead after
Jesus was), split rocks, and the massive veil that was somewhere around 60 feet
high and as one unconfirmed source says 4 inches thick, was torn from top to
While we may
never understand all the specific details of the darkness and these great
miracles associated with Jesusí death. I believe we can firmly say that these
great miracles were all done to show that this was not an ordinary crucifixion
because it was the Son of God. There are many ideas that man has come up with
of other reasons God made it dark, but they are simply that, manmade ideas.
Even though I could make several points from this darkness that would sound
logical, I am content with simply accepting that it was a sign from God to show
that this was His Son being crucified.
Though the Bible
does not specifically say why the veil was ripped in two, most conclude that
since it was ripped from top to bottom at the death of Jesus that is shows that
God did it because if man had done it would have been from bottom to top. The
significance of this was to show that the Old way of doing things through
temple worship was gone and now instead of one priest being able to enter into the presence of God through a veil, we must now
enter into the presence of God through Jesus because He is the only way to gain
access to the Father (Jn. 14:6).
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of
Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is, His flesh, ††††
Out of all things that happened on the cross, one of most perplexing statements that Jesus made was this:
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have
You forsaken Me?"
are asked about this. For example, why would Jesus ask His Father why He
forsook Him when He knew He was going to die as a sacrifice for all mankind?
Was Jesus just having a weak moment? Did God actually
separate Himself from Jesus for a short time while He was on the cross?
I did a lot of
research on this question spoken by our Savior, and there are two basic ideas
about it, and I am going to share both of them to you.
Please understand that neither explanation I give you is a salvation issue, nor
does it change the simple fact that Jesus died on the cross as a perfect
sacrifice so that we could have the forgiveness of sin. The difficulty of
Jesusí question is that the Scriptures do not paint a clear picture of why He
asked the question and it forces us to make a conclusion on our own based on
what can piece together from other Scriptures.†
One of the more
popular views that most teach on this goes like this:
brethren (including many able scholars in the Word) have explained that,
because Jesus was "made to be sin" (2 Cor. 5:21; cf. John 1:29; Gal.
3:13; Isa. 53:10), God could no longer look upon Him and thus turned away from
Him. They teach that it was not because of any sin the Christ had committed
(Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; et al.) that God in some sense forsook His Son in this
awful hour.† Rather, He did so because
the Lord bore the sins of all humanity for all time (Isa. 53:4-5,8,11-12).† The sins of others which He bore did not make
Him a sinner, but He was nonetheless laden with those sins on the cross.† These brethren further reason that God either
did forsake the Lord or He did not, and Jesus said He did.† Moreover, God did not respond to Jesus' pleading
question with a denial that He had forsaken Him. (
who is explaining it to you, you may hear these very points or something
slightly different, but the above is the core message of that view. I myself
have said this very thing that since Jesus was having to bear our sins on the
cross that God had to turn away because He cannot look at sin. I have also made
the statement that when the Father separated Himself from Jesus that it was the
hardest thing for Him to bear because it was the first time He had not been connected with the Father, which is why He made the
statement He did. Now, I still believe that if Jesusí statement does mean that
the Father had to separate Himself from His Son because He was being sacrificed
for our sins, then it would have indeed been the most difficult time in Jesusí
existence. Though this first explanation is the most popular, there is another
valid explanation for what Jesus said.
The first thing
that I want to point out is that while Jesus did bear our sins on the cross,
this did not make Him a sinner, but simply made Him a sin offering. In other
words, He did not take on the guilt of sin, but He bore the punishment of sin.
The same thing can be seen in the O.T. when an animal like a goat would be
sacrificed it did not have sin, but it bore the punishment of sin, which was
Here are some
reasons Jesus may have not actually been separated from the Father while
hanging on the cross.
that Jesus was sacrificed as man without sin.
Hebrews 9:13 For if
the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean,
sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,† 14 how much more shall the
blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to
God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1 Peter 1:18 knowing
that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold,
from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,† 19
but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without
Paul tells us
Ephesians 5:2 And walk
in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and
a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. †
It was Godís
plan all along for Jesus die on the cross for us to become a sin offering.
Since Jesus was carrying out the plan, this sacrifice was a sweet-smelling
aroma to Him. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Father turned His back
on Jesus or broke His connection with Him. This is something that has been
surmised in connection with Jesus saying Why have you
forsaken me? Here is what need to keep in mind, Jesus was fulfilling all those
things that were prophesied about Him.
Luke 24:44 †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
What we learn is that Jesus was saying the very words that David penned in
Psalm 22, which is a Psalm that talks about the many things that would happen
to Jesus at the cross. I hope you will read this Psalm on your own, but I have highlighted
a few of the verse from it:
Psalm 22:1 †My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so
far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?
Psalm 22:7 All
those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,† 8
"He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He
delights in Him!"
Psalm 22:15 My
strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have
brought Me to the dust of death.† 16
For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;† 17 I can count all My
bones. They look and stare at Me.†
18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing
they cast lots.
All of these things and the things being said were
happening as part of prophecy. The Jews of that day would have been familiar
with that Psalm because the Psalms along with Law of Moses were taught. So,
when Jesus quotes what David wrote, itís possible that He said this to take
their minds back to Psalm 22 to let them know that these words were being
fulfilled? So, this second explanation says that Jesus was not separated from
the Father but spoke that question to point out that Psalm 22 was being
fulfilled and that God was not going to rescue Him from dying physical though
He would be raised from the dead later.†
In what way was Jesus forsaken? The first view would say that the Father
separated Himself from Jesus temporarily because God could not look upon the
sin Jesus was being sacrificed for. The second view would say that He simply
forsook Him in that He did not rescue Him from physical death though He would
be raised from the dead in 3 days.
I want to repeat this again. Neither of these views take away from the
simple fact that Jesus did died on the cross for our sins and made it possible
for us to have the forgiveness of sins. Neither of these views are teaching
that Jesus died spiritual on the cross as a sinner as some like to teach. If
Jesus had died as a sinner instead of dying because of our sins, then He would
not have ended up in Paradise as He told the thief He would because sinners end
up with the rich man in Gehenna. I will leave it up to you to decide which view
you think sounds correct because as far as I can tell, it does not really
matter which one is correct since neither view takes away from what Jesus did
for us on the cross.
I also know that Jesusí asking the question does not mean that He doubted
the Father in anyway because on the cross, He prayed to the Father to forgive
them, He knew that He would be in Paradise that day, and as we will see, His
last statement is spoken to His Father, when He puts His spirit into His hands.
There are three more saying from the cross that we must examine, but we will have to wait until our next lesson since we are out of
time. I hope these lessons on what Jesus said from the cross and what He
endured for us motivates you to live your life more for Jesus since He was
willing to give up His very life for you.