Thursday, April 21, 2011



Lucky number 7.

God's perfect number.

The Bible records the last seven statements of Jesus on the cross. I thought it would be interesting to explore them today.

1. "Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

The cross was the culmination of a terribly stressful week. Authorities had been looking for a way to kill Jesus. One of His trusted friends had betrayed Him. Another had denied Him. The rest of them had run away when He was arrested. He was completely alone. If anyone had reason to be bitter – it was Jesus. And yet, the completely Innocent One turned instinctively to His Father and prayed for all those people.

What does Jesus' gracious prayer of forgiveness mean to you?

2. "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

Three men hung on three crosses. Two of them deserved to be there. They taunted the "King of the Jews" hanging between them. And yet, one of the men began to see things differently – He saw who Jesus was. He turned to Him and asked to be remembered. Jesus didn't make this moment of salvation theologically complicated, or personally difficult – no, He just spoke an unmistakable, clear promise that because the man believed, he would be saved.

How does this promise affect your perspective about death?

3. "Dear woman, here is your son." And He said to His disciple, "Here is your mother." (John 19:26-27)

Was Jesus self-absorbed in His own struggle, His own suffering? No, even at the end, in His supreme moment of agony, His tenderness shone like a beacon to everyone at the foot of the cross. Suspended between life and death, Heaven and earth, Jesus did not think of Himself. He took care of those He loved – and at the same time, He was taking care of us.

In times of crisis, do we withdraw, or do we reach out?

4. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Jesus was not a good man who died for a cause. He wasn't a soldier who died for his buddy next to Him in battle. He wasn't a misunderstood martyr or a teacher who said the wrong things. He was Almighty God. God who stepped out of Heaven and came to earth for one purpose only – to give His life for you and me. Jesus took our place. He wore the dirty clothes of our sins. He became the ultimate Sacrificial Lamb – once, for all, for always. And in that moment, God had to turn His back on His beloved Son. Jesus experienced all the wrath, judgment, and penalty for every sin – He experienced it alone.

What does this moment tell you about Jesus' grace and love for you?

5. "I am thirsty." (John 19:28)

After all He had gone through, you might expect that Jesus would have been incoherent, delirious, not in His right mind. But, He maintained an unclouded focus. As a student of Scripture, He knew what the prophets had predicted. He knew that the Messiah's death would produce a dry mouth – "My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth" – Psalm 22:15. He knew that those attending the execution would offer "sour wine for my thirst" – Psalm 69:21. John tells us that Jesus was acutely aware of every detail of His crucifixion. As the moment of His death neared, Jesus made sure that not a single detail would be overlooked. He would finish and fulfill all the prophecies made about Him – He would make the final statement – Yes, I AM the Messiah.

How do these fulfilled prophecies strengthen our faith?

6. "It is finished." (John 19:30)

Jesus' death on the cross was fast by crucifixion standards. Usually, people lingered in agony for days. But Jesus, already weakened by blood loss because of His beatings and flogging, died quickly. This phrase is a translation of a Greek phrase that means "paid in full." Yes, Jesus paid the price. Totally. Completely. And in this moment, in this statement, Jesus proclaimed the humbly jubilant truth – "I have done what I came to do. I have borne the sins of the world. I have brought salvation to all people." We can never do enough to win God’s approval – we can never bridge the gap between a holy God and sin-filled people. Jesus did what we couldn't do. He bought us reconciliation with the shedding of His blood.

Do you ever let trying to be good enough affect your relationship with God?

7. "Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!" (Luke 23:46)

Now, in the last seconds of His earthly life, Jesus expressed His utter and total trust in His Father. Having felt abandonment, He still believed that God was there. God still cared. God would take care of Him. And with those last words, He breathed His last. Jesus gave up His Spirit. He rested in the promises of His Father's words – that this moment was NOT the end of the story. How do we react when it seems as if God has led us into a dark place? Are we tempted to despair? Do we consider giving up? Do we angrily blame God? In those times, especially in those times, we can follow the example of Jesus. Acknowledge the unseen and unfelt presence of God, and express our trust in Him. "Father, I am in Your hands."

What can happen when we acknowledge that we are in God's hands, even when we can't see His hand at work?


Perfect seven – the seven last words of our glorious Savior until He returns again.

The moment when He will shout these words:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End – I am the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One!"

The ultimate victory is eternity with Jesus Christ. – Zig Ziglar

You can trust the man who died for you. – Lettie Cowman

(Based on studies from "The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar"
by Zig Ziglar and Dwight "Ike" Reighard, c. 2009)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Of all the statements, I'm the most convicted by the first one because far, FAR too often, I lack the grace for forgiveness in "real time". I might be able to give forgiveness on the back side of the story, but rarely in the middle of it.

    He could have endured the cross and grave and then pleaded to the father for forgiveness. He didn't. He is our real time example.

    And your comments about the thirst were very interesting to me! I had never been taught that before. Awesome. I love learning.

  2. This is an amazing post! Have a blessed Easter.


  3. excellently written Sharon!! So very true how you laid this out with Jesus' statements on the cross!! Thank you Lord for your sacrifice for me!!


  4. I love all the statemenst Jesus made and believe all of them. I appreciate his forgivenss and that we will be with him in paradise.

  5. Hi Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful message with us.

  6. A wonderful word, Sharon. His words of love and
    truth spoken to us! My favorite is "It is finished!"
    Oh, that encompasses so much. All we will ever
    need in this life, given through the blood of
    Jesus,poured out for us on the cross. There are
    no words for how much I love Him.
    May you and yours have a blessed Easter,

  7. Sharon - this is a wonderful post. Although I've read the words many times, often I didn't stop to think about how much they apply to me.

    Wishing you and your family a glorious Easter.


  8. This. Is. Powerful. I love how you set this post up. Awesome writing Sharon! I struggle a bit with number 6 but I am making progress. ;-)

  9. Hi Sharon,
    Great post. The Son of God is so wonderful. To think that even during the most painful time in his life on earth, he was thinking of us. What a wonderful God we serve.

    Happy Resurrection Weekend!

  10. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you.

    This post causes pondering. It is so fitting for this week, Sharon. And I love the title of the post.

    Especially, I was struck by this that you expressed, "His tenderness shone like a beacon to everyone at the foot of the cross."

    That is heart gripping to me.

    HE LIVES!!!

    Today, I responded to your comments on my blog topics, "WHO WILL CELEBRATE WITH ME" and "FIRE WORKS NOTICE." I asked you a question on the "FIRE WORKS..." one.

  11. Debbie - We serve a real time Savior. I love that thought! I suppose that if I had to pick the two statements that I struggle with the most, it would be #4 and #7. My goodness, how often I feel like God doesn't care (even though I know He does). How often I don't trust Him (even though I know He is completely faithful). But, I am relying totally on #7 - IT IS FINISHED. I'm resting on that promise - His work covers my messes.

    Cindy - Thanks so much for stopping by, and for leaving such a nice comment. Wishing you and yours a blessed Easter, too!

    Betty - I'm glad you enjoyed this. I have to give credit to Zig Ziglar's book. He provided so many ideas and thoughts. It was fun to line up all 7 statements like this. And yes, how grateful I am, too, for Jesus' unmatched sacrifice for me...

    Sandie - I believe them all, too. What a Savior we have, right?! And boy oh boy - being with Him in paradise sounds really, really good! In His presence forever??? Blessed are we!

    Ken - I'm so glad you enjoyed this. Wishing you the most wonder-full Easter. I will be joining you in grateful celebration of the Most Innocent One who shed His blood for us.

    Sandy - I agree. I am left speechless at the gift of salvation, and the miracle of the resurrection. That He would die for me, a sinner - I scarce can take it in.

    Joan - Even in His worst moment on earth, Jesus had the words, He WAS The Word, that reached into the depths of our hearts. He still speaks to us, across the centuries - and in the still, small voice...

    Alisa - Thank you. We all struggle (or is it just me?? :)
    But through His finished work on the cross, and through the power of His Spirit working in us - we are new creations. The old is passed away - the new has come. And the struggles? Well, they're covered!!

    Beverly - Truly an awesome God! I am overwhelmed at how Jesus was thinking of us on that cross. Somehow, I feel guilty that it was my sin that put Him there - but I am overwhelmed and humbled by the fact that it was His love that kept Him there.

    Sandra - Yes, that grips my heart too. He is our Light - and He calls us to be light in this world, too. Sometimes, the world is so dark, that all I can do is cling to the foot of the cross. Only there does the glimmer of hope explode into glorious SONshine! (I sent you an answer on the "Fireworks" post about the necklace!)

    If I don't talk to all of you before or on Sunday - Have the most blessed Resurrection Sunday!

    He is risen.

    He is risen indeed!!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)