Recently, I began preaching on the Seven Sayings of Jesus while He was hanging on the Cross. As I have studied these phrases, one word has repeatedly come to my mind: love. Love is a powerful word that is the theme of all of God's Word.
The commonly used word in our Greek New Testament is agape. It is a word which describes an all-encompassing love. It can be a good love ("For God so loved the world" John 3:16) or a bad love ("Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogue." Luke 11:43).
When we look to the Cross, we see the agape love of Christ on display. Let me give you three examples:
1. "Father, forgive them. For they do not know what they are doing." One person has said "we are never more like Christ than when we give." Perhaps, the truth is we are never more like Christ than when we forgive. One of the greatest acts of the Cross was when Christ looked to the heavens and prayed that His Father would forgive those around Him who had mercilessly and crookedly put Him to death.
2. "Today, you will be with me in paradise." These were the words Jesus spoke to the thief on the left of Him. The thief asked Christ to remember him, but Christ asked the thief to join Him in heaven. Our Savior loves us so much that His best for us is always greater than our best for ourselves. Think of the biggest dream you have for yourself; Christ has an ever bigger dream for you if you will trust Him.
3. "Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother." Perhaps, these are the most neglected words of Jesus and the most misunderstood. They are, in fact, very easy to understand. In Exodus, God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. One of the first commandments we teach our children is "Honor your father and mother." At this point, most Bible scholars believe that Jesus' father, Joseph, was already dead. As He hangs on the Cross, He is not thinking of His own self and His own needs but He is thinking of the needs of those around Him, namely His mother. Thus, He makes sure to entrust her to the care of His beloved disciple, John.
When we read and study these words, we see a clear picture of the love of Christ displayed to not only those He called friend but also those who were against Him. That is truly "love so amazing, so divine."