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(A verse-by-verse commentary)



 A Preacher in his Study



1. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."  Luke 23:34

2. "And he (One of the thieves) said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."  Luke 23:43

3. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son.  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."  John 19:25-27

4. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46   "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Mark 15:34

5. "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst."  John 19:28

6. "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."  John 19:30

7. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."  Luke 23:46




The first words from Jesus' dying lips were words of prayer!  He prayed to His Father!  "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  Luke 23:34

He never wasted a moment!

He could not on that Cross use His Hands ... to heal more sick folks!  They were nailed to the Tree!

He could not use His Feet ... to "go about doing good!"  (Acts 10:38)  They too were fashioned to the Beam of the Cross!

He could not encourage His Disciples!  They had all forsaken Him and fled!

What good and profitable thing could He do?

He could still pray!

He asked the Father to forgive old rotten sinners!

He was interceding on their behalf!

By the way, that is the role of a Priest, to intercede!

Here is Jesus already serving as The Great High Priest!

Jesus began His public ministry praying (as He was baptized)!  Luke 3:21

Now He ends His public ministry praying also!

Jesus' praying for these folks is itself a fulfillment of prophecy!  In Isaiah 53:12 Jesus, on the Cross, is foretold to "make intercession for the transgressors."

And He did!

Notice something else too.  Heretofore Jesus, when sins needed forgiving, did that Himself!  For example, Matthew 9:2 --- "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." But now, on the Cross of Calvary, He calls on His Father to forgive the sin!  Why?

Because as the Sin Bearer on the Cross, He is taking our sins upon Himself!  He is here "made sin for us!"  (2nd Corinthians 5:21)  In this great capacity He does not forgiven sin ... but dies for it!  Therefore the Savior asks the Father to forgive them who hate Him so!

In the Old Testament even sins of ignorance had to be atoned!  Jesus, knowing this, asks that these ignorant executioners be forgiven of their blind actions! "They know not what they do!" Now deliberate sin may be another matter altogether to the Lord!  These wicked men were aware they were putting Someone to death  ... but they had no idea of the enormity of their deed!  One reason people no longer believe in Hell is that they no longer understand the greatness of the sin of rejecting the darling only-begotten Son of God!  The punishment (Hell) does fit the crime (rejecting Jesus)!

In this prayer Jesus also was putting into application what he had previously preached and taught!  Matthew 5:44 --- "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."  When Samson died, He killed His enemies!  When Jesus died, He prayed for (and saved) His!

Even Godly Stephen, when dying prayed:  "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."  (Acts 7)  Yet if you will notice, Stephen first prayed for himself ... then his enemies!  Jesus did better!  Our Lord prayed first for His enemies!

And may I lastly say that Jesus' prayer here was answered mightily!

"How?" you might ask.

By saving a thief right there on the Cross for starters!

By saving a number of lost priests in the weeks soon to follow the Crucifixion too!  "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."  Acts 6:7

By saving you and me too!  This is still Jesus praying:  "Neither pray I for these (the 12 disciples) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word (us)!"  John 17:20

And this is not a "cheap" forgiveness Jesus seeks!  It is not an asking of God to turn His head while sinners "sneak" into heaven!

It requires innocent Blood to be shed by a vicarious sinless Lord Jesus Christ!  A Price He was fully willing to pay ... and DID pay!

We are saved legally justly and properly in the eyes of God!

Jesus paid the Proper Price!

What a Saviour!

And what words from Calvary!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The whole Biblical account is recorded in Luke 23:39-43.  I will print it here for you.

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

There are several things I need to mention about this text.

1.  Initially both the "thieves" crucified by Jesus were blaspheming Him.  Matthew 27:44 says:  "The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth."  But here see that one of them has stopped that foolishness! Here's one of the first indications of the Holy Spirit's working in a heart ... Jesus is elevated!  One has to quit verbally attacking Him!  Quietly a "change" is already taking place!  (The Greek word "malefactors" means evil doers.  The verb "railed" in our Luke text is spelled "blasphemeo!"  You know that word!)

2.  The unrepentant thief continues to belittle Jesus.  "If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us!"  That's one prayer folks that we had better be glad did NOT get answered!  If Jesus had saved Himself, coming down from that Cross, we would all already be in Hell!  (Ever think about the "unanswered" prayers of the Bible?)  To save us ... Jesus had to sacrifice Himself!

3.  Next observe that the soon-to-be-saved thief got a bit of boldness about him! He "stands up" to the blasphemer!  "But the other answering rebuked him ...." He rebukes his old friend for such disrespect toward the Lord!  I'll guarantee you that when a sinner gets under Holy Spirit conviction he or she will get bold enough to ask some questions ... or walk an isle ... or make their interests in Jesus known!

4.  Now watch a "vocabulary" change!  The thief speaks of the "fear of God!"  "Dost not thou fear God?"  That's another attitude which develops when one is under conviction!  I remember well my growing fear of Hell!  And fear of dying before I really got saved!  And a longing to be "right" with God!  No more smart-talk now!

5.  Next comes the word "condemnation!"  "Seeing thou art in the same condemnation?"  The noun "krima" means judgment!  They, thieves for years no doubt, had finally been caught and were being executed for their crimes! And deservedly so.  A holy awareness of one's lost condition and condemnation settles upon a sinner prior to salvation!  John 3:18 comes alive!  "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  Or John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."  Frightening words!

6. Now observe his admission of guilt and sin!  "And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds."  An old word that's now despised, "sinner," surfaces here!  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."  (Romans 3:10)  A soul ready to be saved MUST admit to his or her sin! 

7. Look at his attitude toward Jesus now!  "This Man hath done nothing amiss!" Jesus is without spot!  (There are some liberal Preacher who don't even know that!  Of course they are lost also.)  The closer one gets to genuine salvation ... the higher He values the Saviour!

8.  Now I hear a prayer coming!  "Lord, remember me ...."  Scripture says "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Amen!  One can trust His way into Heaven ... and often that faith is expressed in simple childlike prayer!

9.  And notice what the man called Jesus!  "Lord ...."  That seems right according to Romans 10:9 --- "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  If one is not willing to follow Jesus totally ... I doubt he's ready for salvation.  I'm not sure one can really trust a Saviour toward Whom he still has reservations and barriers erected! 

10.  The thief (but not for long) not only saw Jesus as Lord ... but also as a King!  "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."  Now where did he get the idea that Jesus was a King?  The Roman government gave it to Him! "And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."  (Luke 23:38)  That's the last thing Luke mentions before he tells us of this thief's salvation!  Rome meant that sign to discredit Jesus!  But with Holy Spirit direction it became a Gospel Tract pointing a penitent to the Lord!

11. NOW Jesus speaks!  After all we are studying HIS Words from the Cross! Our Lord honors the man's saving faith!  Jesus promised him:  "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."  Jesus' first words from Calvary asked for forgiveness for sinners!  Jesus' second word from Calvary saw the prayer answered!  This man got "saved!"  The verb "shalt be"  is in the indicative mood!  It is a fact!  (Not a question or even a possibility ... a FACT!) 

12.  Now look at something.  In at least 3 areas the sinner got more than he asked for!  Sinner's words:  Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  The Lord's answer:  "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

The thief expected a Kingdom ... he got Paradise!  (More than he expected!)

He asked for it "when or whenever"!  He got it that very day!  (More again!)

All he expected was to be "remembered!"  He was promised to be "with Jesus!"  With the King!  (That's more for sure!)

Isn't that true with you, dear Christian friend?  Hasn't the Lord given you more ... much more ... than you ever asked?

13.  Then see that the Lord gave Him some assurance along with his salvation. "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."  The particle verily (an adverb) means TRULY!  If Jesus calls it "truly" ... you can be sure about it!

Faithful to His Word, Jesus died first (verse 46 --- "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.") ... and the former thief followed!  (Jesus was waiting there on him!)  He's the first man saved after Jesus' Death!

And on the authority of God's Word ... Jesus did all He said He would for that man that day ... and ever since!

Glory to God!

And so far Jesus has only spoken twice!  There are five more to study!

What a Saviour!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Listen, Jesus is about to speak again!

This is His third Saying from the Cross.

Even his enemies admitted:  "Never man spake like this man."  John 7:46

So far all Jesus has thought about is others!

When He first spoke from Calvary, He was praying for the lost, even those who were crucifying Him!

Secondly He saved an old thief who was dying!

Now He is concerned about His Mother!

Before He even mentions a personal need (like "I thirst"), He speaks to those around Him (soldiers) and beside Him (the malefactor) and near Him (Mary and John)!

I am wondering if at this moment there was not relative silence on Calvary mount.  Otherwise He could not have been as easily heard by His grieving Mother and dear Disciple John.

Listen to Him specifically:  "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!"  John 19:26

Hear Him again:  "Woman, behold thy son!"

Why did He call Mary just a "woman" ... and not His Mother?

Because at this moment He was dying as our Great Sacrifice ... not just for one lady (precious as she was to Him) ... but for all the women and all the men of earth (past present or future)!  He addresses her as the representative woman ... a sinner who needed the Blood of the Cross as we all do!  Mary even called Him her Saviour back in Luke 1:47 ("And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.")

He means no disrespect calling her Mary!  Perhaps too He, knowing that many would some day worship Mary, calls her "woman" to discourage our elevating her too highly!  She is to be highly respected!  She is NOT to be placed on a level with Jesus the Son of God!

Ancient history says that by now Joseph had died and Mary was a widow lady. If so, Jesus as the oldest Son would have had special responsibility to care for her. What an example he sets for us all.  He honored His Mother here for sure, providing for all her future needs!  He surely obeyed Exodus 20:12 --- "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

But what did He have to give her?

His Body goes to a (temporary) grave!

His Spirit returns to His Father above!

His clothes go to the soldiers, the executioners below Him.

His Peace went to His Disciples!  John 14:27

His very Blood went to Heaven!  Hebrews 9:12

He gives her His friend John ... to care for her the rest of her days!

Love brings along with it responsibility and Jesus fulfilled His perfectly!

Are we doing the same?

It is as if he says to John.  "I am taking your place on this Cross!  Would you take My place and care for Mother?"


The verb "behold" is a command!  (Imperative mood!)  It means to consider to gaze upon or to perceive!

"Mary, see what I am doing.  John is now to be considered your son and caregiver!"

The noun used here for son (2 were available) is "huios" and means a birthed son!  It emphasizes the human end!  Look at John as being in the family!  (They were in the same family spiritually, the family of God!)

How do we know this is John?

Well, he is called a Disciple.  That narrows it down to 11 men ... Judas had betrayed Him.  And of those 11 the only one who was ever called "the Disciple whom Jesus loved" was John.

By the way, notice that both John and Mary were "standing" by the Cross! 

How about that?  A lady STANDING with Jesus in His hour of Death!  Other ladies were watching from "afar off" too!  But remember the men, the Disciples, had all forsaken Him and fled!  Matthew 26:56 tells us --- "Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled."  (Repeated in Mark 14:50.)

Thank God, ladies can STAND!

And John?

He had initially run away!

BUT he obviously returned!

He could not stay gone!

(Like Jeremiah, he could not quit!  Jeremiah 20:10)

And when the failed (having "run") Disciple returned ... Jesus did not rebuke Him or speak unkindly at all!  He welcomes returning backslidden Christians!

Rather than being resentful, Jesus gave John even further opportunity to serve the Lord!  "Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

"Behold thy Mother!"

Care for My Mother, John!

Did the Disciple get the message?


"And from that hour he took unto his own home!"

Mary was protected and her needs provided until she died and went to heaven.

Those who study such things tell us that the exact wording Jesus used here was the same basic form a wedding ceremony took in those days!

The Rabbi would say, "Groom Behold thy wife!"  Then, "Wife, behold thy husband!"

By using such terminology Jesus is of course suggesting nothing improper, but emphasizing to John that he is entering into a contractual agreement here.  He will be morally and spiritually obligated to fulfill his word!  A covenant has been struck!

This is serious business!

Why didn't Jesus commit Mary to one of His (half) Brothers?  (Mark 6:3 --- "Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not His sisters here with us?)  Because they were still lost!  (Neither were they at the Cross that day!  Likely ashamed of their half-Brother, they stayed far away!)

I believe James, after being saved (shortly after Jesus ' Resurrection) ,thought of his missed opportunity here again and again!  He nearly says so in James 1:19. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  The widows!

Plus ... John may have been the kind of Christian who needed someone to lean upon from time to time!  Many are that way!  He could no longer lean upon Jesus as he had so often done during those three earthly years.  Our Lord would be in Heaven as our Great High Priest!  But He could gain much fellowship and strength from Mary's companionship and knowledge!  No human could better relate the truth of the Virgin Birth than Mary!

Jesus knows what we need!

Then ... one last thing.

Three days later, after Jesus' Resurrection, John (as soon as He discovered Jesus was ALIVE again) did something strange!  He DID not go immediately to meet with the other Disciples!

He did this ... "went away again unto his own home."  John 20:10  (Peter and John both did this really.)

Why did he go home?


He took his new "job" seriously!

Are WE taking our Christian service with the same determination and resolve?

I trust so.

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The most misunderstood statement Jesus made from the Cross is no doubt His cry: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:36 and Mark 15:34

I mean the very Name by which He called Almighty God is unusual!

When first placed on the Cross, Jesus called Him Father! ("Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34)

His last cry from Calvary likewise was: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost." Luke 23:46

But in the middle ... no longer is He "Father" ... but GOD!

How is this explained?

Because Jesus, after being nailed to the Cross, became the SIN BEARER for the iniquities and transgressions of a lost and dying world!

He took our sin UPON Himself! ("All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6)

At the very moment this occurred Jesus could no longer address Jehovah God as simply His "Father!" He is now being "made to be sin" for us! (2 Corinthians 5:21) And as the Sin Bearer, He cannot call God "Father!"

Truthfully this explains also why the Father had to turn away from His darling Son!

Listen to what Habakkuk says to our great God: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." Habakkuk 1:13

Once sin was placed on Jesus ... God had to look away!

That I believe was the real horror and the greatest suffering of Calvary for the Lord Jesus!

He, Holiness personified, could truly say: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."  (Psalm 42:1)  He always longed for communion with His Father!

He could also say: "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." (John 8:29)  Never in all eternity had the Son not been in intimate holy Communion with the Godhead!

He, Wisdom alive and in a human body, could truthfully describe Himself as being "daily the delight" of His Father! ("Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him." Proverbs 8:30)

But once Jesus assumes the load of our sin ... He faces the penalty thereof!

The wrath of God fell on Him! See John 3:36

The wages of sin had to be paid ... to satisfy the Holy Character of God! ("For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23)

Again let me say this.  Before those horrible hours on Calvary ... Jesus had NEVER (not for a second) been separated from fellowship with His Father! The triune God is inseparable!

Jesus was overwhelmed that the Father had "abandoned" Him! Thatís what the Greek word for "forsaken" means! To leave out!

Hereís a fuller description of how He felt: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?  O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."  Here in Psalm 22:1-3 Jesus answers His Own question! The broken fellowship is due to the very Holiness of God --- "But Thou art Holy!"

Now hereís a good New Testament description of what Jesus was doing on the Cross: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness." 1 Peter 2:24

And during those dark (the sun quit shining) hours, Jesus suffered untold agony as He paid our sin debt, satisfying Godís righteous nature!

And I would immediately assert that Jesus PAID the whole thing too!  He atoned for our iniquity!  ("Jesus paid it all" as the beautiful old hymn goes!)

Otherwise fellowship with His Father could not have been restored!

Jesus shed Blood propitiated (pleased) God in Heaven!

His Holiness is satisfied and His wrath at forgiven sin is abated!

Yet lastly I must say this. Through those hellish hours ... Jesus, Who (due to becoming our Sin Offering) was separated from His Father ... still trusted and believed that God was going to send the victory!

He did not quit!

He did not come down from the Cross!

He worked no miracle for His relief or deliverance!

He suffered both physical pain and spiritual torment in order to save our souls!

And as soon as the Price had been paid ... He loudly proclaims ... "FATHER, into Thy Hands I comment My Spirit!"  He died ... but did so back in fellowship with His darling Counterpart in heaven, Almighty God the Father!

What a Saviour!

Yet ... let me add this!

It is obviously Biblically true that the Father forsook His Son during the Calvary ordeal. But at the very time He (the Father) had to turn His back on His beloved Son ... HE WAS SO THRILLED AND SO PLEASED AND SO PROUD OF THE OBEDIENCE THAT HIS SON HAD JUST EXHIBITED!

So forsaken of God ... yet never any more approved of God!

Little wonder that when Jesus returned to Heaven, having ascended there bodily 40 days after His Resurrection, the Father said "Sit Thou on My Right Hand!" And God then "highly exalted" our Lord Jesus, giving Him a Name above every Name. Thatís a Name Which every mouth will confess some day and to Which every knee will bend!  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

Dear unsaved reader, I suspect 99% of our regular students are saved folks. If you are this far into our Article today ... you are unusual. And you HAVE to believe God has used the circumstances of life to bring you right here! Remember ... He suffered this alienation from His Father ... just for you! He wants you to be saved?

What are you going to do about that?

Let Jesus save you now!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




A quick glance at John 19:28 will give us Jesus' fifth cry from the Cross.

"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst."

Before we consider His actual need for water, let talk about the first part of this verse.  "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled ...."

Jesus plainly knew (and had been pondering) the fact that many Scriptures had been fulfilled that Day of His Death!

For example:

A friend had betrayed Him!  Psalm 41:9 --- "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

His Disciples all forsook Him and fled!  Psalm 31:11 --- "I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me."  Also Zechariah 13:7 where God the Father says:  "Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd (Jesus), and against the Man that is my Fellow (still Jesus), saith the LORD of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones."

Lies had been told by false witnesses ... all against Him!  Psalm 35:11 --- "False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not."

He was silent before His accusers!  Isaiah 53:7 --- "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

He was declared "without fault" by Pilate ... innocent!  "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."  Isaiah 53:9

He was crucified among thieves, transgressors!  Isaiah 53:12 --- "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

He was pierced (nailed) to a Cross!  Psalm 22:16 --- "For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet."

He was mocked by the crowds!  Psalm 109:25 --- "I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads."

The taunt came ... "Let Him save Himself!"  (Luke 23:35)  See Psalm 22:7-8.   "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him."

They gambled for His garments!  Psalm 22:18 --- "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."

He prayed for His enemies: "Father, forgive them!"  Isaiah 53:12 again --- "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

And as we've already seen, He was forsaken of God!  Psalm 22:1 --- "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"

His last words before death were even prophesied!  Psalm 31:5 --- "Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth."

And later ... not one bone of His Body was broken!  (Although the thieves' legs were broken violently!)  Psalm 34:20 --- "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken."

And He was buried in a wealthy man's tomb!  "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."

But ... there was one more!  And Jesus had the clarity of mind to recall it!  In fact He no doubt was meditating on it as His tongue swelled and His mouth became more and more parched!  Psalm 69:21 --- "They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."  And perhaps add Psalm 22:15 also ... where Jesus said:  "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death."

He knew the Word of God, didn't He?

And He was dedicated to fulfilling It too!

He could have been thirsty without saying so out loud!  But He openly declared it ... so we cold be aware of His motive, obeying God's Word and God's Will!

Then ... look at the context of this thirst.  This will teach us something of the nature of His horribly parched dryness!

This "thirst" cry from Calvary comes immediately after the Father's forsaking Him!

This lack of water is not just a physical thing!  It is true that Jesus likely had had nothing to drink since the night before, at the Passover Supper ... however His thirst goes much deeper than that!  (Over 18 hours!)

It is a consequence of His being forsaken of God!

And if forsaken of God, the Holy Spirit had of course withdrawn His strengthening Presence too!  That Spirit, Who is like "rivers of living water," would upon withdrawal ... allow great spiritual thirst!

Sin ... and Jesus was the Sin Bearer during those hours ... breaks fellowship and communion with God!

Jesus was bearing the weight (and heat) of God's wrath against sin ... which dried His Spirit and made Him immensely thirsty!

Here's the heart cry of a normal maturing  child of God:  "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"  Psalm 42:1-2

This is a good place to insert another little fact.

Jesus NEVER worked a miracle to please Himself!

When hungry (40 days without food), He did NOT turn a stone into bread!

And here when thirsty, He does not create cool clear water!  (Nor call for an angel to deliver it!)

How unselfish!

But Jesus could produce water!  (In fact He could "walk" on it if need be!) 

He brought water out of the Rock in Moses' day!  (Twice!)

He turned water into wine (150 plus gallons of it) in John 2!

But here on the Cross, dying for you and me, He refuses to do anything but endure the tormenting thirst!

He paid the full price of sin and all that involves!

Let me add this too.

Because HE thirsted ... we don't have to!

The salvation He provides gives us water that is everlasting!

Listen to him:  "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."  John 4:14

And remember this.  If one rejects Jesus' offer of soul salvation (which He provided at such great cost, including this "thirst") he or she will die and go to Hell!  Hell fire!  A place of perpetual thirst!  The rich man in Hell (Luke 16:24) said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

And what if I told you that Jesus ... not in a suffering way, but in a divinely "hungering" manner ... still "thirsts!"

He "hungers and thirsts" for your love and fellowship, friend!

Listen to Him in Revelation 3:20 --- "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Oh, how we ought to love Him today!

He Who so suffered (including this thirst) for us all!

Are YOU saved?

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The sixth cry from the Cross is recorded in John 19:30.  "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

If you could only remember "one thing" Jesus said on the Cross, this is it!

It is the apex of His Holy utterances!

Keep in mind, Jesus did NOT say, "I am finished!"  Many around the Cross thought so!

He said ... "It is finished."

His first public words were:  "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"  (Luke 2:49)  That was at age 12.

His (nearly) last words:  "It is finished!"

I say He was a Success ...and still is!

I saw something interesting in an on-line dictionary just a minute ago.  The English words telegraph, television and telephone all are derived from the "root" of the verb Jesus used here for "It is finished!"

"Tele," the prefix, comes from Greek teleos (our word!) and means having reached the goal!

Isn't this an interesting mix?  The Cry of all the ages .... perhaps the greatest words ever spoken ... are in English "kin" to our nouns telephone, telegraph and television!  These are all instruments of communication!  Ways to spread news!

And what's the best News on earth to spread!  "It is finished!"  Jesus died for sinners!  Redemption is completed!

Here's what was said when Joshua was near death:  "Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed."  (Joshua 13:1)  The leader of Israel was NOT finished ... but he died anyway!

The great composer Beethoven died with an unfinished symphony by his side!

The famous author Rudyard Kipling died leaving an unfinished story, and a good one too we are told!

The painter Rafael died with his painting on the Transfiguration of Jesus half done!  As his funeral procession inched its way through the streets of Rome, two men carrying the undone picture preceded the casket! Advertising that his work was not finished!

Jesus told a parable about "finishing" one day!  "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,  saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."  Luke 14:28-30

Well folks, I have good news!

Unlike all these characters just mentioned, Jesus finished His Calvary symphony ... or story ... or picture!  He built the tower of salvation too!  He conquered all the land promised Him!

He finished His Task!

What was finished?

Some things were yet undone!

The Burial had yet to be completed!

The Resurrection must occur!

The Ascension, the Session (His sitting at His Father's Right Hand), the Second Coming ... none had yet happened!  One still remains in the future!

Why, Jesus had not even breathed His last when He cried these great words of victory --- "It is finished!"

Again I ask, what was finished?

His sufferings were finished!

Except for a few more minutes ... Jesus would not hurt any longer!

No more Kings trying to kill Him (which had been occurring since he was a baby less than 2 years old)!

No more being called names like "born of fornication," or like "winebibber" or "glutton" or "worker in power of Beelzebub!"

No more misunderstanding family members, thinking he was "crazy!"

No more Pharisees trying to "trick" Him at every turn!

No more attacks from Satan!

No more being forsaken by His best friends!

No more slaps and insults!

No more being spit upon by some rebel!

No more Blood to be shed!

Hallelujah, it was finished!

God's great plan of salvation had been finished!

He had come "to seek and to save that which was lost!"  (Luke 19:10)

He had come to be "baptized" in death ... to redeem a lost world!  (Luke 12:50)

He had come "to save sinners!"  (1 Timothy 1:15)

He had come "to take away our sins!"  (1 John 3:5)

He had come to offer "a more excellent sacrifice!"  (Hebrews 11:4)

And Jesus had finished the Work!

The Levitical Offerings had been finished too!

Mainly they were 5 in number.

The Burnt Offering, in which ALL was given to God the Father, had been now truly offered!  "It is finished!"  (Leviticus 1)

The Meat Offering (Meal Offering), in which the perfect life of Christ was celebrated, has now been placed in the oven of God's wrath and baked to perfection!  Once "done" it was dedicated to the Father and enjoyed by the priests too!  "It is finished!"  (Leviticus 2)

The Peace Offering, in which the sinner and the priest and God ALL got some "food," has been provided!  "It is finished!"  (Leviticus 3)

The Sin Offering, in which God did not take pleasure, had to be burned "outside the camp!"  Jesus was crucified outside the city and felt God's wrath in order to fulfill this type!  He took our sin upon Himself!  "It is finished!"  (Leviticus 4)

And the Trespass Offering, in which the injury of sin is seen, comes next.  In this Offering not only blood sacrifice is required, but restitution also!  More than the original loss ... was restored!  "It is finished!"  Jesus has given us in salvation MORE than we lost when Adam sinned!  (Leviticus 5)

Glory to God!

The power of the devil had been "finished" as well!

Jesus, speaking of the Cross said:  "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."  John 12:31

Hebrews 2:14 adds:  "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." 


The devil lost his grip that day at Calvary!  "Who (Jesus) hath delivered us from the power of darkness!"  Colossians 1:13

He even got stripped of his armour!  Speaking of Jesus' Victory, Paul said:  "And (Jesus) having spoiled (stripped their clothes off) principalities and powers (the devil and his demons), He made a shew of them openly (embarrassed them publicly), triumphing over them (taking them prisoner) in it."  Colossians 2:15

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"  1 Corinthians 15:55

And just in case you need God's evaluation of the Calvary Cross ... it came immediately!  It was as though in the Father's Eyes the High Priest had just offered the Blood on the Day of Atonement ... inside the Holy of Holies!  In fact, this was to be the very last Offering of Blood ever needed!  So much so that God decided the veil to that Most Holy Place was no longer needed!  Therefore He ripped it down the middle!  "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose!"  (Matthew 27:51-53)  I'd say God the Father spoke volumes!

He was pleased.

Indeed, it was finished!

This whole sentence, "It is finished," is comprised of one Greek verb! "Tetelestai" means "it is completed or perfected, or fully furnished, or ended!" As a verb it is in the "perfect" tense!  The job of atoning for sin is done and has lasting (eternally so) consequences and power!

Blessed be His Name!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




And lastly, "When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."  Luke 23:46

Notice immediately the Name He used when addressing God here.  "Father!"  He's back to calling Him Father!

He began the Cross "experience" calling Jehovah God His Father ... but had to stop!

When the sin debt of the world was poured out on Him ... He could not claim Sonship to the Father ... He had become the Sin Bearer and was enduring the wrath of God!  Our pure God, Who cannot even look upon sin had to turn away from His darling Son Jesus!  Habakkuk describes God here:  "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity!" 

At this moment and for several hours thereafter Jesus groaned:  "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Mark 15:34

He is calling the Sovereign Lord "God" ... and not "Father!"

But the sin debt now is paid in full!  "It is finished!"

And fellowship is restored with the "FATHER!"


Again our verse for today:  "When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

Next Jesus placed Himself again into the Hands of His Father!

For several hours now He had been in the hands of evil wicked men!  "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" says Peter in Acts 2:23.

Or Mark 14:46 --- "And they laid their hands on him, and took him."

Now it's back to the Father's loving Hands!

The Hands that to Jesus brought precious memories of kindness!  He said in Psalm 16:11 --- "At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Jesus found great strength at the Father's Right Hands:  "Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great."  Psalm 18:35

Jesus well knew things were on schedule and could well have said to His Father:  "My times are in thy hand."  Psalm 31:15  (Especially since He was just quoting from that great Psalm!)

God's Mighty Hand had been HEAVY on Him during the Cross.  Now He was delighted to get back "into" Them!  Psalm 32:4 --- "For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah." Wow!

Also see Psalm 38:2 --- "For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore."

And Psalm 39:10 --- "Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand."

And how well Jesus knew of the Father ... "Thy right hand is full of righteousness." Psalm 48:10  (He had just "satisfied" that Righteousness on Calvary!)

I wonder if Jesus thought of Psalm 77:10 on the Cross.  "And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High."

And did God answer His prayer?


In fact, He gave Jesus more than He asked!

As soon as Christ ascended into Heaven He heard these words:  Son ... "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."  Psalm 110:1

Now ... the verb Jesus used:  "When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost" is a word (in Greek = "paratithemi") means to "place alongside" something!  Father, I place Myself alongside your Great Hand!  Remember, "He thought it not robbery to be equal with God!"  Alongside!

I am told that this particular verb is a banking term in Koine Greek.  It meant "to deposit" something valuable!   Heaven's greatest Treasure, Jesus, had been "withdrawn" and send to earth to "spend Himself" for lost sinners!  He did so fully and upon completing history's greatest "redemptive transaction, He re-deposited Himself (now more valuable than ever) back into Heaven's Bank and the Father's Hand!

It's the same word Paul uses when he tells us that he has committed himself to the Father also!  "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."  2nd Timothy 1:12


The "spirit" Jesus mentions is His pristine holy unstained human spirit, which is the most precious part of any man's existence.  Note that the King James translators chose not to capitalize the word.  Had This been the Holy Spirit it likely would have been a "big" S!  (This is not an iron-clad rule however.)

Then Jesus immediately "gave up the ghost."  The verb is "ekpeneo" and means to breathe out!  "Pneo" means to breathe hard.  "Ek" means out of. Jesus decided when He would breathe His last air!  He exhaled ... and went to Glory! 

Notice ... they didn't kill Him or murder Him!  He willingly laid down His Life for us sinners to be saved!  He chose precisely when to die!  He died "in due time!"  Romans 5:6 tells us:  "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

That fact (Jesus not being murdered but laying down His Life) is further proved by the opening words of our verse.  "Jesus had cried with a LOUD VOICE!"

Now dying men, especially those who have been crucified can't cry with loud voices!  Their strength is all gone!

But Jesus did not lose strength.  He died as The Son Of God yet human by means of the virgin birth ... and clearly vocally spoke His last words!

John in His Gospel even adds this:  "And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."  His Head was still held upright!

He died when He saw all was done!

What happened after that?

A reunion!

Apparently too sacred to describe ... as the victorious Son/Saviour re-entered the Presence of His Father in Glory!

Oh, we're treading on holy ground!

Be reverent!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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