American author Russell Bradley Jones tells the true story of seven Russians taken captive many years ago in Finland. They were to be put to death at sunrise. As they waited through the long night some cursed, some cried, some called out for their mothers. One named Kos Kinen began singing an old Christian hymn.
“Where did you get that you fool?” they asked.
“My mother taught it to me.” he replied, “and I am giving my life to the Jesus my mother taught me.” “In a few hours I will be with my Savior.”
By 4:00 a.m., Kinen had led the other six men to faith in Jesus Christ. At 6:00 a.m. they marched out to be shot. They requested to die with their faces uncovered, with arms stretched to heaven they sang…
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast.
There by His love oe’r shadowed.
Sweetly my soul shall rest.
They were shot. Forgiveness turned their doom into a moment of glory.
During the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, He never verbally attacked His accusers, cried for compassion, hurled desperate insults at His captors and torturers, or spelled out the doom awaiting those responsible for the circus of a trial He had forced upon Him. Pastor Rick Warren summed it up best in a comment he made during a Q & A session at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in 2016…
We are most like Christ when we are silent in the face of our critics.
The Bible tells us that Jesus remained silent in the face of the hate, ridicule, and false accusations. Even as He hung on the cross, His thoughts were of others.
A Word of Pardon.
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do…” ~ Luke 23:34
- This was the word of a Son who had influences with the Father.
- This was the word of a Savior who was giving His life for others
- This was the word of a Priest who stands between sinful humanity and the wrath of God
- This is the Word of Pardon for all who will receive Him.
A Word of Promise.
“Today you shall be with me in Paradise” ~ Luke 23:43
Even in the darkest of times, His thoughts were still of redemption. As this thief hanging next to Him repented, the sinless Lamb of God made a promise of eternal life to this man who was paying the price for his bad choices.
A Word of Care.
“Woman, behold your son! [John], behold your mother!” ~ John 19:26-27
In the middle of all this, Jesus, as the first born, took care of His earthly mother. Jesus gave that assignment to John who carried Mary to Ephesus where she lived for Jesus until her death. Jesus did not shirk His earthly responsibilities.
A Word of Passion.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” ~ Matthew 27:46
Here is the High Priest alone in the Holy of Holies. Here is the scapegoat alone in the wilderness. Here is the dark moment when the humanity of Jesus is at its peak.
“God forsaken of God” – who can imagine it? Here is how it should read, “My God, My God, why? Hast thou forsaken me?”
The answer is no!
The Apostle Paul said that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). He felt forsaken that you and I might never be alone.
A Word of Suffering.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” ~ John 19:28
Again we see Jesus’ humanity! In the awful agonies of crucifixion, Jesus suffered intense dehydration. He became thirsty, that we might drink from His fountain of Life.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ~ John 7:37-39
A Word of Triumph.
“It is finished!” ~ John 19:30
Jesus’ words here have four meanings.
To bring to a close.
To finish a performance on task.
To fulfill all obligation.
To pay the bill in full
Jesus brought to a close all of the law and prophets.
Jesus finished the tasks of suffering.
Jesus paid for our sins in full.
Jesus finished off Satan.
A Word of Glory.
“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” ~ Luke 23:46
Despite what the priests, Pharisees, Romans, and Pilate may have thought, there was never a moment when Jesus was not in control of His destiny. Even during each horrific moment on the cross, Jesus was still in charge and was still Lord.
This same Jesus — Messiah, Lord, Triumphant Conqueror, and King —
… wants to be the Lord and Savior of YOUR life!
Are your sins forgiven? Do you know Jesus Christ? He died for your forgiveness.
Like the Russian prisoners at the beginning of this blog, you can receive Jesus today!