Monday, March 25, 2013

WHAT WAS JESUS THINKING?


Sometimes I ponder…

One of the things I think about is what might go through my mind if I knew that I was dying.  In those last few hours as I approached the gates of eternity, what would be my most important thoughts?  

What would I want to communicate to my loved ones? 

In this week leading up to Easter, I'm pondering Jesus.  Hanging on the cross, battered and bruised, weak and suffering, He knew He was dying.  In those last hours before He died…

What was Jesus thinking?

So, I'm taking a look at His last words, and speculating on what might have been going through His mind.


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

The message:  Forgiveness

In an amazing act of humility and love, Jesus looked at His enemies, the people that were responsible for killing Him, and asked His Father to forgive them.  The message of forgiveness was of utmost importance to the Savior.  It was the purpose and the motivation for Him to complete His mission on earth. In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages –

"Look at My example.  Forgiveness trumps evil.  Forgive others, as I am forgiving you."


The Lesson: Forgiveness is important.  Embrace it, and pass it on.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37, NIV)



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

The message: Faith 

Jesus didn't make this moment of salvation theologically complicated, or personally difficult – no, He just spoke an unmistakable, clear promise that anyone who believed in Him would be saved.  Even if it was a last-minute repentance.  Jesus offered hope to sinners, and it was another important message He wanted to pass on.  In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages –

"Believe in Me, and you will be saved.  And when you die, you will join me where I am, and live in My Presence forever."


The Lesson: Faith alone saves.  It saves in an instant, and it lasts forever!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…" (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)



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

The message: Family

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.  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 His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages – 

"Take care of those you love, both family and others.  Love them like I do."


The message:  Family is important.  People are important.  Look out for them like Jesus did.

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." (John 13:34, NLT)



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

The message: Fear

I believe that Jesus had to battle real fear.  I don't think for a second that Satan kept silent when Jesus was hanging on the cross.  I believe that the taunts in those last dying hours were escalated.  The lies must have been a torture all their own.  And can you imagine a greater fear than the moment when 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.  In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages –

"It isn't a sin to feel fear.  I've felt it, too.  But, because of what I'm doing right now, you never, ever have to fear separation from my Father or from His love."


The Lesson: Fear is part of being human.  But it doesn't have to consume us.  Love overcomes fear.

"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." (1 John 4:18, NLT)



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

The message: Fragility

Jesus was a human being.  While He lived His life on earth, I'm sure there were times when He was sick, and achy, and hungry, and tired.  And on the cross, He had moments of genuine anguish.  He bled, He hurt, He grew thirsty.  Dying is lonely human business, and Jesus died a real, physical death. I believe this statement was important for Jesus to express so that we would understand that He was like us, fully human. He understood what that feels like.  In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages –

"I'm a human like you.  And I understand the struggles and weaknesses you experience.  But because of what I'm doing right now, someday you will receive a new imperishable body!"


The Lesson:  Jesus knows what it means to be human.  Talk to Him about everything.

"Because God's children are human beings--made of flesh and blood--the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death." (Hebrews 2:14, NLT)



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

The message: Finality

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 that once and for all, the price was paid – by Him, and only Him.  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.  In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages –

"I have done what I came to do. I have borne the sins of the world. I have brought salvation to all people." 


The Lesson:  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Only Him – the only way.

"…so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:28, NLT)




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

The message:  Freedom

Now, in the last seconds of His earthly life, Jesus expressed 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.  Jesus saw the death of believers as the ultimate freedom, the final release from the slavery to sin.  In His dying moments, He was compelled to tell His followers – both then, and through the ages – 

"Trust your life to the Father's hands.  Death has no more power over you.  Enter the door to freedom."


The Lesson: Slavery to sin is over.  The fear of death has no power. Jesus has overcome.  We will live forever!

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 
(1 Corinthians 15:55, NIV)



These were the last words of Jesus.

And last words hold a mighty power.  They are important, and well worth listening to.

On this Easter, I'm pondering what Jesus might have been thinking on the cross – what He might have been saying to the world.

And Lord, I am listening.




Into the darkness,
The Light of the World came...

And the Son still shines! 

HE IS RISEN!

HE IS RISEN INDEED!



"After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!'"  (Acts 1:9-11, NLT)

"And he also said, "It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega--the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life."  (Revelation 21:6, NLT)


How are you celebrating Easter this year?


Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Pamela at A SHELTERING TREE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

13 comments:

  1. Very powerful post, love you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm pondering on your ponderings this morning, and once again, your words are such a blessing Sharon! When you string all of those final words together and take the message from each one, it is so powerful for us, and the timing of your words this week before Easter is goig to have me pondering on them all week.

    THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sharon just stopping by to say hello and wishing you a blessed Easter. Very powerful words there. sandie

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh how I like this break down Sharon. Wishing you & yours a blessed holy week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Sharon,

    Feeling so rough this week and realising my own mortality, I have felt fear. So these thoughts were apt for me. I can't read it properly tonight, as it is too noisey in here and although I have felt better today, tonight I am not feeling 100% again. Weather is not helping it is so cold outside and miserable, that we are all coupped up again in one room, which is not ideal. However you have made me think of Jesus and the price He paid for me this week, so will be reflecting on this again.

    God Bless and have a wonderful Easter - Nita

    ReplyDelete
  6. My heart is blessed with the thought of "slavery to sin being over" and "the fear of death has no power." He is risen indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  7. And yet again, I type a long comment only to lose it. I tell you the truth... verily verily... that is really beginning to annoy me. With everything put together, I am seriously (and not just melodramatically) beginning to believe that God doesn't want me in Blog Land.

    Anyway, I'm back with this very short comment instead: I love your thoughts on the words from the cross, especially the suggestion that Satan was taunting to the end. I believe you are right and had not ever thought of that before.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a powerful and packed full of good insights.! Thank you for this, Sharon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Powerful words of witness, Sharon. I'm going to spend this week chewing on these final words of Jesus. Thank you for taking time to reflect on them.


    peace~elaine

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Sharon, Concerning the first words of Jesus you spoke of. I remember when I was a baby Christian the movie "The Passion of the Christ" was in the theaters. While watching Jesus going through all the beatings, I remember thinking, "just wait, one day you will be standing in front of this man you are beating and He is going to get you." Then I heard the words, "Father, forgive them..." Wow, that was eye opening. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and may you have a blessed Easter.
    Ken

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sharon - This is so powerful! I must share it on facebook - so concise and truly a blessing to me today - especially your thoughts on fear . . .

    Yes - I did get your other comment about the pink kitty - and you got it in one! No name, yet, but I need some playtime to see how he gets on with a couple of the other little friends.

    Right now I'm in New England with my son, daughter-in-love, and grand-toddler (busy little miss these days) and enjoying Easter vacation with them. Hoping to catch up with my blog reading and comments - and will finish the give-away when I get home early next week. This month has come and gone so quick - I've barely had time to do much of anything in Blogland! Always in hopes of catching up my homeschool classes to free up some time. Will be posting soon about the new show at church - hope you'll tune in online to see it May 30, 31, or June 1. I had to take one of the parts - wrote the language to elevated and we couldn't find anyone who could handle it. Pulling double duty as co-director and actor this time!

    Glorious Resurrection Sunday to you!
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a powerful message for me this day! I am so thankful I found you and got to read these words of Jesus along with your ponderings. A perfect day for this and for me.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've felt so blessed this resurrection Sunday. Amazes me that God gave so unselfishly and Christ willingly died...yet is alive today!

    Happy Resurrection Day!
    Joyfully,
    Pamela

    ReplyDelete

"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.)