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The last words from the cross

Various texts

Pastor David Ernst

Good Friday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Fri, Apr 14, 2017 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On this Good Friday night, we try to understand the disciples' fear and despair. For three years they followed the man who they believed was the Messiah, the Savior prophesied in the Old Testament,. True, they had the testimony of the prophets that the Promised One of Israel should suffer in the place of sinners (Isaiah 53, for example). Jesus also announced three times His intention to suffer and die for us. However, when the time had come, they could not believe it. Most fled, and only John, Mary, Jesus 'mother, Mary, Cleopas' wife, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross.

We also try to understand the despair of Jesus on the cross. He was flogged, beaten, and crucified, but worse than physical suffering was the abandonment of His disciples. And worst of all was abandonment by God. This is the punishment we deserve, the complete absence forever of the presence of God in our lives.

Thank God, we know the rest of the story. We know the risen Christ. But at this moment we reflect on the price of victory, the promise of eternal life for us. We hear the last words of Jesus Christ.

The First Word: (Luke 23:34)

And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And they divided their garments among themselves, casting lots.

 God the Father, you well know that we have sinned much. We often live like the unbelievers around us and not like your children. Forgive us for the pain we have caused you and others. Forgive us because of Jesus Christ, who died for us. As you forgive us, help us to forgive others as well. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Second Word: (Luke 23: 39-43)

And one of the evildoers that were hanged reviled him, saying, If you are the Christ, save yourself and us. And the other answered and rebuked him, saying, Do you not yet fear God, being in the same condemnation? And we, indeed, justly suffer; Because we received what our deeds deserved; but this one did no wrong. And he said unto Jesus, Remember me when thou comest into your kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.

O Lord Jesus, we praise you because you have opened the door of heaven. You suffered the pains of hell so that we could enjoy paradise. Thank my Lord! Help us to share this with others, so that many may enter heaven through the door you have opened. Amen.

The Third Word: (John 19: 25-27)

And His mother was next to the cross of Jesus, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. And when Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved, who was present, He said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son. Then he says to the disciple, "Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his house.

O Savior Jesus, help us to love as you love us. In the midst of so much suffering you had compassion for your mother. Teach us how to love our mothers and fathers and brothers and children. Help us to treat you with love and above all, to speak of you, so that you may become saved. In your name we pray. Amen.

The Fourth Word: (John 19: 28-29)

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were already fulfilled, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: "I thirst." And there was a vial full of vinegar there: and they filled a sponge of vinegar, and, surrounded by a hyssop, they brought it to His mouth.

Holy Spirit, fill us today. Quench our thirst for God with the living water that is Jesus Christ. As Jesus suffered physical thirst to save us, so teach us to endure the afflictions of this world and take the time to offer others that water of salvation. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

The Fifth Word: (Matthew 27:46)

 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? That is: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Lord Jesus, no one can understand the depth of your suffering for us. You were forsaken on the cross so that we would never suffer that despair. When we feel alone, let us see your presence. And help us guide other people who are depressed and disillusioned. In your name we pray, O Lord. Amen.

The Sixth Word: (Luke 23:46)

 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. And when he had said this, he expired.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for forgiveness and eternal life and the love you give us through Jesus Christ. We thank you because you quench our spiritual thirst and because you never abandon us. Father, into your hands we entrust our lives. We trust in you, Lord. As Christ died for us, we want to live for you. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Seventh Word: (John 19:30)

And as Jesus took the vinegar, He said, It is finished. And having bowed His head, He gave up the spirit.

The suffering that Christ suffered, was for you. Now it's all over. All the prophecies have been fulfilled. The whole price of salvation has been paid. All of our sins have been blotted out. It's finished! O Savior Jesus Christ, you have accomplished all. You have the victory over the evil one, over sin and over death. Holy Spirit, help us share that victory in our lives. Make us live with confidence, sure of forgiveness. And give us strength to overcome temptation. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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