Today is the day we traditionally celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in order to be crucified by the Passover so He could fulfill that feast. He became our Pascal lamb so that we could find salvation and healing. God didn’t withhold from Jesus what was going to happen on Good Friday. He knew what was coming and that means He was very deliberate in the things He said and did.
Today, I want to focus our verses on His final words. I believe they were chosen carefully and given with great urgency. When your time is up, you don’t waste words on trivial things. You focus on what matters and make sure that those around you get any final wisdom or instruction from you. Jesus was no different. His words that Friday were chosen carefully and used to fulfill prophesy as well.
Here are some of Jesus’ final words.
1. Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He replied to him, “It is as you say.”
MARK 15:2 AMP
2. Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.” They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice.
Luke 23:34 GNT
3. And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:43 NLT
4. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Matthew 27:46 NLT
5. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] gave up His spirit.
JOHN 19:30 AMP
What I love about having been to Israel is that when I read the Bible, I can picture each place in my mind. There are two sites celebrated as the place where Jesus was crucified. One of them is in a magnificent church and the other out in the open. I got to visit both places on this last trip, and both were incredible in their own way. Personally, I enjoyed the one outside better for a number of reasons, but I was a little offended at first by what I saw.
We were sitting on the property of the Garden Tomb, and they read Matthew 27:33. It says, “And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘Place of the Skull’)” (NLT). They pointed to a hill just about 50 yards away, and asked if we could see it. They showed us pictures of about 50 years ago and another from over 100 years ago. You can see how it looked like the Place of the Skull. But when I looked at the base of what could be Golgotha, there was a busy bus station. I couldn’t believe such a holy place was being disrespected.
That’s when it hit me that a bus station at the foot of the cross was the most appropriate way to honor it. One of Jesus’ final instructions before His ascension was from Mark 16:15. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” The buses that I saw there were a representation of the Great Commission. Those busses carry people all over the place the same way we are to carry the Gospel. Our message is summed up by what happened at the Place of the Skull.
Where Jesus’ mission was fulfilled, ours began. Where He said, “It is finished,” He was handing the baton to us. That place of death became the birthplace of eternal life. We are the bus drivers of His message. We carry His spirit within us to be witnesses in all the world. Wherever we go, whomever we meet, we are to transport His message of hope and love. We can turn this world upside down at He disciples did, but we have to be willing to get on the bus and go.