Welcome to the Year at the Cross at TVCOC. This year, let’s choose to live as Jesus died. Luke 23 and John 19’s crucifixion accounts teach us what truly matters and what we are called to focus on in this life.
Luke 23:32-46 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
- Make forgiveness the rule and not the exception. Life is too short to live offended. Live free. Forgive. Do the right thing. Jesus forgave. Live like Jesus died.Luke 23:35ff Vs 35:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
- Tune out the insults of others.
Think of what could have tragically happened if Jesus had spent His last moments trying to engage those who were insulting Him rather than the things He was concerned about as He hung on that cross? The return of Christ is nearer than it has ever been. People are dying every day without the Lord. The only critic we need to concern ourselves with is God Himself. If we are seeking to please Him, we can keep on keeping on and not pay attention to the distracting noise around us which has been sent by the enemy to try to detour us from doing God’s will.Luke 23:38ff 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
If Jesus had engaged with those who hurled insults at Him, He wouldn’t have had time to engage with the thief on the cross. Time was of the essence. The thief on the cross wanted an eternity with Jesus, and Jesus wisely shut out the voice of the insulters to listen to the voice of someone seeking salvation. We need to do the same. Jesus refused to listen to insults. We need to live like Jesus died.
John 19:2525 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
- Stay others-focused.Even though He was laser-focused on His mission which was to die for the sins of the world, He never lost sight of the people for whom He was dying. People mattered to Jesus. People need to matter to us. Jesus lived for others. Live like Jesus died.
Luke 19:44-46 44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
- Remain in God’s hands.We remain in God’s hands when we give our lives to Him and seek His will above our own, just like Jesus. Jesus remained in God’s hands. Live like Jesus died.
John 19:30 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Finished. Not just “done,” but finished. We may be “done” with something, but it may not be finished. Jesus finished the work God gave Him to do.
- Complete the work God gives you.I don’t just want to start something for the Kingdom, I want to finish it. I want to stay faithful. Jesus stayed faithful to the end. Jesus was a closer, a finisher of the work God gave Him to do. Live like Jesus died.