Seven Words From The Cross (Part 3) by Jason Exley
As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:
THE FOURTH WORD “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46).
There is a depth of feeling in this cry from the heart, made with an intensity matched only by the darkness that had draped itself over the terrible spectacle. All the sin of the world, the awful legacy of the fall of mankind was laid upon Jesus. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
Now at the climax of his passion, at the moment of making atonement for our sin it was necessary that even his Father should stand aside. Just as a scapegoat of the Old Testament had to be banished into the wilderness, so Jesus had to bear the sin of the world alone – literally. God forsaken. He who was made sin for us was feeling the punishment of the sinner, being separated from God. This Word from the Cross points us to the cost of the atonement made. Thank God, there’s atonement for sin at the Cross by the Lord Jesus.
THE FIFTH WORD “I thirst” (John 19:28).
The hours of torture on the Cross took a tremendous toll on the body of Jesus. Execution by crucifixion was not a sudden death like being shot by a firing squad. It was a long drawn out, lingering death. His wounded hands and feet would be quickly inflamed, resulting in a fever of thirst and his body would soon be dehydrated. The prophetic 22nd Psalm which anticipated our Lord’s passion speaks graphically of his condition, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (14,15).
Jesus had earlier refused to drink a drugged wine designed to alleviate to some extent the intensity of the coming suffering, but now his mission almost complete his cry of thirst could be met from a sponge dipped in wine vinegar. In fact it was necessary that his lips should be moistened because he had yet two momentous Words to utter. There was a Scripture still to be fulfilled. Psalm 69:21 had predicted that the Suffering Servant of Israel would say “They … gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Jesus knew that for him to do his Father’s will required him to fulfill all that had been prophesied of the Messiah down the ages. This Fifth Word from the Cross serves to tell us that there is suffering in the Cross.
To Be Continued…