8th Revised April, 20, 2011: 26 Pages Total
Date: April, 2011
Searching the Scirptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are they which testify of Me. “John 5:39”
Author: Bob Moses
The Seven Utterances of Jesus from the Cross
(This is a lengthily “Study”; I feel it necessary to break it down into several Lessons, for the benefit of our readers. The first 5 pages are the Introduction. We will see how the Utterances themselves fall into various Lessons, depending upon time and space. Thank You for your understanding and patience.)
Within this “Study”, we find ourselves once again, embarking upon much uncultivated soil. Why modern day preachers do not choose to unravel some of the most basic of Christian revelations is a mystery. What could be more important to the heater of the pew, than to know what saith the Lord? I fully acknowledge, as a professional speaker, that the mind can only absorb whatever the ass can endure. Nevertheless, should the speaker make the subject matter interesting, engaging, and instructive, you will find me on the edge of my oak boarded seat. Anticipating what might come next, because I am eager to learn, and digest the food of the heavenly Word. I wish to drink of the fountain, which will quench my spiritual thirst, but alas, I find it nought, or with rare exception. Why is this withheld from me, I cry! It is withheld because young pastors are not encouraged to seek, and to search. They are taught to mimic the lessons of the elders; same as the nation of Israel was caught up in the leadership of the Scribes and Pharisees. They followed as sheep, not taking the time or inclination to seek for themselves. They may be forgiven, as they did not have access to the Holy Writ such as we do today. We however, have no excuse. The Bible rests in our hands, and unfortunately that is what it does; it rests, because we do not pick it up and read it. All of God’s counsel is contained therein. We are privileged to have an education which has taught us to read. “Study to show thyself approved”. We have no excuse to claim, we did not know. Shame on us.
Sin is always sin in the sight of God, whether we are conscious of it or not. Sins of ignorance need atonement just as truly as do conscious sins. God is Holy, and He will not lower His standard of righteousness to the level of our ignorance. Ignorance is not innocence. As a matter of fact, ignorance is more culpable now than it was in the days of Moses. We have no excuse for our ignorance. God has clearly and fully revealed His will. The Bible is in our hands, as mentioned above, and we cannot plead ignorance of its contents except to condemn our own laziness. God has spoken and it is by His Word we shall be judged.
Our topic with this Study is the Utterances of our Lord upon the Cross. I have encountered, but a very few, who have taken up this subject. I feel it most appropriate to do so as a completion of our current series. I must confess up front that I shall use the writings of A.W. Pink, and his enlightenment from the Holy Spirit for much of the material. It is with heart-felt gratitude that I might echo Mr. Pink’s plowing of the ground before me, and am confident that he would endorse this feeble endeavor.
To lay the ground-work, there were seven utterances of our Lord from the Cross. As discussed in previous articles, seven is the number of heavenly completion. Four, representing man or the earth, three the Holy Trinity. Thus we have before us the merging of heaven and earth through the death of Jesus the Christ.
Brother Pink labels the seven sayings as First the Word of Forgiveness, Second the Word of Salvation, Third the Word of Affection, Forth The Word of Anguish, Fifth the Word of Suffering, Sixth The word of Victory, and Seventh The Word of Contentment.
I wish to begin with a few words of introduction into this marvelous revelation. The Death of Christ was unique, miraculous, and supernatural. First we must understand that it was a natural death. How could this be, when the inspired Word tells us that He was, from the beginning?(John 1:1) How could the eternal One die? Because, He became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil.2:8). Thus having become incarnate, the Lord was capable of suffering death, and so it was that He “tasted” death itself, human death, even as we know it.
Second, His death was abnormal. Meaning that death had no claim upon Him. Death is the wages of sin, and He had none. Before He was born, it was said to Mary, “that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35) He “did not sin” (I Peter2:22), had “no sin” (I John 3:5), “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). In His person and in His conduct, He was the Holy One of God “without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:19) As such, death had no claim upon Him. Even Pilate had to acknowledge that he could find in Him “no fault.”
His death was super-natural, in that it was different from every other death, known to man. In all things He has the pre-eminence. His birth was different from all other births. His life was different from all other lives. And His death was different from all other deaths. Christ Himself stated; “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have power to take it again” (John 10: 17 & 18).
Let us note a seven-fold proof and verification of His assertion. First; He says He “laid down His life”. In other words, He was not powerless in the hands of His enemies. Observe in John 18, where we have the record of His arrest. A most profound statement is made by our Lord. A band of officers, from the chief priests and Pharisees, headed by Judas, sought Him in Gethsemane. Coming forward to meet them, after His “trial” before God the Father as illustrated in a previous article, the Lord Jesus asked, “Who seek ye?” The reply was, Jesus of Nazareth! Then our Lord uttered the ineffable title of Diety, that by which Jehovah had revealed Himself of old to Moses at the burning bush stated: “I Am.” Remember when Moses asked God, who should I say sent me (to Pharaoh, to release the children of Israel), God told Moses to say: “I Am” sent me. Here when asked by the soldiers “Who seek ye”, they replied Jesus of Nazareth, and Christ said, “I Am”. How profound, how revealing, how dumfounded the officers, as we are told that they were awestruck, and “they fell backward, and fell to the ground.”
Next; let’s turn to Matt. 27:46. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthanit? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Two things are of importance here. You will recall from previous “Studies”, that the Jew began his day at 6:00pm, the evening as we know it. Therefore if we go from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, we have covered 12 hours. Then if we go from 6:00am till noon, we have six hours, and from noon to 3:00 pm, we now arrive at the nine hours, which was in the middle of the afternoon that our Lord uttered: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This time frame is important as we progress throughout this particular Study. Also be aware that this is a Bob Moses thing, not A.W. Pink. He would most assuredly, not belabor the point. Nevertheless, I feel it necessary to document the time frame for future reference and to lend credibility in forth-coming “Studies”. I must take pause to point out two quotations from Scripture, Matt, 27: 45 & 46; “Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. (3:00pm) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Also Luke, 23: 44 & 45; “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”
My point is that we are in the middle of the day, noon till 3:00pm. Yet, darkness covered the earth. Scientists will tell us that it was obviously an eclipse. I differ in my thought process. Even if it was an eclipse, the timing was impeccable. Our Lord suffering upon the cross, crying out to the Father, who was “Light”, had turned His back upon His Beloved Son, as was meant to be, before the foundation of the earth was ever formed. And He cried, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? God could not look upon sin, and Christ became sin for us. What a blessed Redeemer we have in Jesus!
The other noteworthy phrase in this verse is “Jesus cried with a loud voice”. Why would the Holy Spirit reveal to us this terrible cry “with a loud voice”? Surely, to demonstrate to us the power of Christ. Our Saviour was not exhausted from His ordeal, His strength had not failed Him; He was still master of Himself, instead of being conquered by death, He was yielding Himself to it. He had said; “I lay down my life”.
Thirdly; I wish to call attention to His fourth utterance—“I thirst”. This furnishes evidence of our Lord’s complete self-possession. John: 19:28, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst” Of old it had been predicted that they should give the Saviour vinegar mingled with gall, to drink. As He hung from the cross, His mind was unclouded, His sufferings had neither deranged nor disturbed it and His mind reviewed the entire scope of the prophetic word, and checked off one by one those predictions which had reference to His passion. He remembered Psa. 69:21: “They gave me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink”. Jesus remembered that there was yet one prophetic fulfillment necessary to complete His mission from upon the cross; He must yet taste of the vinegar and gall; and, “knowing that all things were now accomplished, saith, I thirst.” Further proof, that He did indeed;“lay down His life of, Himself”.
Fourth; as we read John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the spirit.” What are we to make ofthis? Simply that previous to this, our Lord’s head had been held erect. It was no impotent sufferer that hung there in a swoon, His head had not lolled helplessly on His chest; it would have been impossible for Him to “bow”, if not erect. No wonder the centurion said “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matt. 27:54).
This fifth element of our introduction is awe inspiring. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said this. He gave up the spirit” (Luke 23:46) None else ever did this or died thus. How profound when we read “I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself” ((John 10: 17, 18) The uniqueness of our Lord’s action may be seen by comparing His words on the Cross with those of dying Stephen. As the first Christian martyr came to the brink of the river, he cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). But in contrast with this Christ said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” Stephen’s spirit was being taken from him. Not so with the Saviour. None could take from Him His life. He “gave up” His spirit. (A.W. Pink)
Sixth, we must note the action of the Roman soldiers. It was common that the legs of those crucified must be broken to hasten punishment and death. The Scribes and Pharisees were concerned that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, as that was a high day. Therefore, they besought Pilate that their legs be broken, and that they might be taken away. Could anything be more bizarre? We have the Scribes and Pharisees killing the Christ, and they were worried about befouling the Sabbath day. Once again allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves: John 19: 30—33; “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “it is finished: and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day.) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then, came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs.) The fact that when the soldiers came to Him, while the two thieves yet lived, speaks to the additional proof that He had voluntarily “laid down His life of Himself.” And that it was not “taken from Him”.
The last and final demonstration of the super-natural character of the death of Jesus the Christ, we must turn to the fact; “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottoms; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent: and the graves were opened”. (Matt. 27: 51, 52)) What are we to make of this? Merely, that this was no ordinary death. The veil of the temple was rent in twain to show that a Hand from Heaven had torn it asunder. The curtain which shut out the temple-worshipper from the earthly throne of God, signified that the way to the Holiest was now made plain, and that access to God Himself, had been opened, through the broken body of His Son. “The earth did quake, and the rocks rent, the graves were opened” demonstrates that the power of Satan, which is death, was now shivered and shattered.
Putting all of these thoughts together: the manifest yielding of Himself into the hands of those who arrested Him; the crying with a “loud voice,” denoting His retained vigor, the fact that He was in full and unimpaired possession of His mentality, evidenced by the “knowing that all things were now accomplished”; “ The bowing” of the erect head; the deliberate “committing” of His spirit into the hands of the Father; the fact that He was “ dead already” when the soldiers came to break His legs; all furnished proof that His life was not “taken from Him”, but that He laid it down of Himself. Together with the tearing of the temple veil, the quaking of the earth, the rending of the rocks, and the opening of the graves, all bare unmistakable witness to the supernatural character of His death. No wonder the centurion stated, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
The death of Christ was unique, miraculous, super-natural. We shall see before us in this “Study” a revelation of words which our Lord spoke upon the Cross. The words which fell from His lips, words which reveal the excellencies of the One who suffered there, words which wrap up the Gospel of our Salvation and words which inform us of the purpose, the meaning, the sufferings, and the sufficiency of the Divine Death of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This concludes “Part 1” of our “Searching the Scriptures” Study of the “Utterances of Jesus from the Cross”. Please print and “hang-on” for the next several “Parts” of this informative look at the perfections of our Lord and His fulfillment of the Divine Decree as laid out before the “foundation of the world” between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
May God Bless you and yours!!!