TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Luke 23:33-46; Mark 15:34-36; Psalm 22
BOTTOM LINE: The Prayers of Jesus on the Cross allow us to: 1) Know that no matter what, God is still God; 2) Share are true, raw emotions w/ God; 3) Surrender our Soul & Spirit to God daily.
QUESTION: Do you ever wonder if it’s ok to tell God how you really feel? Have you ever felt like maybe God wasn’t around in your circumstances? [even if you knew deep down the Bible says He is, it still doesn’t feel like it] GOOD NEWS: Jesus wrestled w/ the same things!
As we CELEBRATE the Resurrection of Jesus on EASTER, we’re going to look at another opportunity that Jesus shared in PRAYER … on the Cross.
If we look at all 4 of the Gospel writings … Matthew, Mark, Luke & John … each of them recorded the story of the Life of Jesus from their lens. When we use them all, we discover that Jesus spoke 7 different times from the Cross. Three of the seven … are 3 very different Prayers … but the 3 of them together really paint a powerful portrait of all Jesus must have been thinking and experiencing in the moment.
One of the things we have to remember is that Jesus was the only person in the history of the world to be Fully Human and Fully Divine. He knows how it feels to be 1 of us [and everything we experience] … and even here on the Cross, we see Jesus wrestling w/ this Tension at times … between being Human and Divine.
Yet thru the life of Jesus, and His willingness to take on the Sin of the World. we’re reminded that God came to earth to dwell among us. The Promises Jesus makes are Divine Promises … they are God’s Promises to us!
All 3 of the Prayers here from Jesus can be seen thru the Lens of His Humanity, which I think for us in our Humanity is important, because I truly believe Jesus knew what it was like to Suffer.
We can know that when we’re going thru our difficult seasons, we can know that Jesus felt what we feel, and we can see how Jesus responded too.
1. … Father, forgive them, for they know now what they do.
Praying for Forgiveness sounds like a Noble thing to do until we’re the one who has to do the Forgiving right? Then … we don’t want the Power to be Merciful … we want Justice!
BUT JESUS … He realized that those who had sinned against Him didn’t’ need God’s Wrath as much as they needed God’s Mercy!
2. … My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
In other words … God, where are You? Don’t You see what I’m going through? Have You forgotten about Me down here?
When we feel like asking those questions … I’ve got great news for us … we’re in GREAT COMPANY!
And with all the anguish and emotion, there’s still some great stuff we can grab ahold of here:
ONE … it’s important to note that even though Jesus is at the lowest point in His human-side of life … where He felt the furthest from God … He still cries out My God, My God.
TWO … This isn’t reserved just for Jesus, and honestly, there’s nothing polite or reserved here about what Jesus is crying out, it’s just His raw emotion.
And this so good for me! Regardless of our theology about God’s goodness; or our belief about how much God loves us; there are times when at least for me personally. I feel like I have been forsaken … like God is so far from me in that moment.
And what Jesus’ Prayer here tells me is … It’s ok to not only FEEL this … but to EXPRESS it in no uncertain terms.
3. … Father, into Your Hands, I commit my Spirit.
The last Prayer of Jesus here that Jesus shares from the Cross … are His last words … and what an appropriate ending.
The 1st recorded words of Jesus in the Gospel writings were when He was found in the Temple and says to His parents … Don’t you know that I had to be about my Father’s business?
And now … That Business is FINISHED!
The Resurrection of Jesus made a way for us to be able to come to God in a real and personal way, for you and me to approach God directly. When Jesus arose just as God had promised, it solidified our opportunity to be restored into a relationship w/ God.
And we see thru Jesus …
- … that in our most difficult of times, we can come to God and share w/ Him in the midst of our raw emotion, and feelings and He’s big enough to handle it.
- … we remember from Jesus … that we still call Him My God … and how just because things don’t seem to be going my way, doesn’t make God any less My God …
- … and when we feel abandoned … and fearful … and it seems like God is just not there … we trust in the truth of knowing He is there … and we lean into the Power of God in our lives.
- … AND … something absolutely extraordinary happens when we surrender into God’s Will … and we can do that every single day!