Today’s message at church was very good. There was one point that especially struck me and I instantly thought about sharing it with you. Our pastor, Robert J. Morgan, preached on the Seven Last Words of Christ. He used each of the seven phrases that are recorded in the gospels and expounded on them relating them to our lives today. Just for your information he is a very well known author and contributor to some 40 books and does a lot of ghost writing for a number of well known men of God such as Dr. David Jeremiah. We are a blessed group at The Donelson Fellowship to have had him as our pastor for the last 31 years.
Ok, enough of bragging about my pastor. Sorry about that. But if you have an awesome church and an awesome pastor then you probably like to brag too, don’t ya?! Ok on with the real point of my blog.
I’m not gonna share the entire sermon because you can hear that for yourself on our website (click on the link in the first paragraph) but just wanted to share one special point that spoke to me. It was in the first point actually. Since today is Palm Sunday the message was about words that Jesus spoke from the cross, yes I realize I already said that. If you have a church background then you will recognize the statement found in Luke 23:34. It says “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Have you seen the movie The Passion of the Christ? I hope that you will consider watching it this week as it is the Easter season. Just thinking of my Savior hanging naked on a cross in order to assure my ability to go to Heaven is mind altering. But then to think of the abuse that had been thrown at Him for the time previous to even reaching the cross and then the abuse and pain He experienced ON the cross amazes me that He could ask God to forgive them and not instruct God to reign down punishment and strike them all dead. That is where the humanity part of Christ would have come in. But the God part of Christ knew that this very event was His purpose for coming to earth. Jesus asked God to forgive them. I would imagine there is someone in your life that you have had to forgive or perhaps still NEED to forgive for some wrong they have done against you. Could it be as great as what Jesus went through on the cross just so that one day we can experience the paradise of Heaven? Forgiveness seems a bit less daunting when you think of it in that light.
But you know what – that isn’t even the part that struck me the most. Yes, it is very moving and thought provoking and convicting. However, there is a simple word in that part of the verse that I shared above. It’s probably not even the word you would pick out if you were teaching that verse. But Pastor Rob is so brilliant at looking at the small words and searching them out to make the scripture even deeper and more meaningful. Look at the verse again – “Jesus said, Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. The amazing part to me is what he had to say about the simple word SAID. He looked it up in the Greek (the original language of the New Testament). The form of the word said is used in the CONTINUOUS SENSE. That means that He was in a constant state of seeking forgiveness for those who mistreated Him as they put Him to death in such a violent and vicious way. If you ask me – that takes forgiveness to a whole new level. A continuous state of forgiveness. Can you imagine? Each strike of the cat of nine tails – Father forgive them. Each spit – Father forgive them. Each curse word – Father forgive them. Each strike of the hammer – Father forgive them. Each poke of a sword – Father forgive them. Each dying breath – Father forgive them.
Why did He do that? Simply so that we can accept His great gift of love and sacrifice to cover our sins and offer us forgiveness as well. Love is the reason! And salvation is the gift! Heaven is the reward!