The Four F Words At the Cross
There He hung upon the Cross, nailed there, stretched out and in pain and he whispered these four “f-words”.
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” –Luke 23:24
1) In the midst of pain and suffering, Jesus didn’t point towards someone else in blame. He asked for forgiveness.
How often do we point to someone else in forgiveness and love. Growing up, as the eldest, I remember whenever I got in trouble that I would immediately find a reason to point things back to my younger brother. If it was, “Jennifer why didn’t you clean you room”… it was, well… John (my brother) did this, this, and that. Twenty years later and I continue to still point towards my brother and he isn’t living on this same continent currently. Last week I showed my dad my two new Christian tattoos and he was surprised and gave me a slight lecture. What did I do? Immediately throw my brother under the bus and tell my dad how the tattoo my brother wants to get is so much worse. Sad but true. My parents always told me that for every finger that I point, that there were three more pointing back at me. Yet amidst pressure, pain and extreme circumstances, Christ points towards others in forgiveness rather than in blame.
He was suffering and thought outwardly of others in forgiveness. This is so not our generation; we tend to be the generation of me and I. As He bleeds out, lashing wounds with clotted blood from our mistakes, betrayal and dishonesty, He wants us forgiven by God. I pray I can learn to offer forgiveness to others amidst extreme pain and sorrow. I pray I can take responsibility and stop placing blame.
“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” -John 19:26-27
2) Jesus had Family on His mind before He left us. He calls us to be brothers and sisters, but also to take care of one another. It doesn’t matter what your family is like. You might be thinking, “well, you don’t know my family.” Well, it doesn’t matter. Christ died so that we can offer grace and kindness to all people, including our family.
It reminds me of the newest song by NeedToBreathe: “Brother, let me be your shelter, never leave you all alone. I can be the one you call. Brother let me be your fortress .”
His grace is so wide that His love wasn’t just for the orphan or for the widow, but for family. When I was going through therapy I came to the realized that I was praising my Father, while forsaking and not offering love and grace to my own earthly family, despite the hurt, pain, and past. God’s grace is so sufficient that if it can accept me, then certainly it can help me to find ways to show my family love and grace.
“And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" –Mark 15:34
3) Jesus saw betrayal at the Cross, not simply by the Jews but He was forsaken by His own Father. He was abandon by His own Father for you and for me. God gave up His one and only Son for me and for my betterment. Jesus was fully human, as much as He was God. He experienced the physical and emotional pain of being rejected, abandoned… He felt forsaken. That feeling of abandonment hits home for me because for so many years I felt forsaken by my family as I was the odd person out, as I was twas emotionally and verbally abused. I was so disconnected from my family, especially as I clung to my relationship with God. The closer I grew to God, the further I grew to away from my family as I tried to align my life with God’s will. However, through me clinging to God and moving further from my family it allowed me to offer grace and kindness like never before.
Also think of that sacrificial love (hesed: loving-kindness in Hebrew) that was displayed from God’s perspective. A few weeks ago I went to a baby’s funeral whom had moved onto life with Jesus after such a short time on this Earth. I am not yet a mother, but I felt the depth of loss of the child, but even more so for my friends as they grieved. I have waited so long to be married, and then hope to eventually children… the thought of losing my only child pains my heart deeply. That child, no matter how old is still half of you. There is beauty in the birth of child and then such sorrow and yet peace as they reunite with God as His forever child.
It reminds me that Christ went through anything and everything that I could ever experience. I believe it is our human and sinful nature that at some point we fill loneliness. Those moments when we are sitting along in a room, after a breakup or in the moments where we can barely find the energy to get ourselves off the floor, He had to lift His weary head up to heaven and see that His Father forsake Him. He experience true loneliness and abandonment.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” –John 19:30
4) It is Finished.
If it is finished, why are we still fighting like He didn’t complete it? We live life as if what Christ did wasn’t enough. How often do we find ourselves looking for another way to Him or to Christianity? There was only one way to God and that was through His Son. How funny is our human nature, that we should know that there is only way… yet we are still searching for another way. Let’s say that we even had two ways to God, I am sure we’d ask for a third option. We are restless, yet it is finished.
His Spirit commended to the heavens and three days later He rose again. But although He said it is finished, there is responsibility on our part. We have to accept Christ and ask for His Spirit so that the work will indeed be done and finished through Him. We need to jump in to experience the fountain of Christ’s love and redemption. Even after it is finished, we still need to do our part. We need to surrender our lives, so that His will can be done and His Kingdom come. We cannot rest in Christ, until we submit to His finished work.
We deserve to be guilty, forsaken and abandon, but His grace is sufficient to cover all of our sin.
“It is finished” was the final word to human kind in committing His Spirit back to God but also in redemption for us and for our souls and salvation.
I pray that you reflect on these final words and the ways in which Christ offered His love to us. I pray that even though another Easter has come and gone, that we would keep these words and the things that Jesus did for us. I pray that we remember God’s ultimate love and sacrifice and forgiveness. We are redeemed and we are His beloved.