Last words are often long remembered. For those we love last words are always treasured. Often they are a distillation of their life. From the pulpit of Calvary, upon the Cross Christ spoke seven times. In each instance an ocean of redemptive truth is distilled into a drop of divine speech. Please turn with me to Christ’s last words from the Hill called Calvary, from a cross of wood where mankind murdered his Maker! Luke 23:33-34 record the first of these words.
The Cross, that ignominious monument to mankind’s hatred, was transformed into the most powerful pulpit of the world by Christ’s as he declares the Seven Dying Words of Life.
Remember that long, dark pathway to the Cross? It started in the night watches in Gethsemane. Then through the dark came the flash of the light of the torches piercing groanings and bloody sweat of Christ’s prayers.
That cold and wicked kiss of the traitor and the hasty arrest.
Still in the darkness of night, the illegal and contrived arraignment before the high priests, followed by the hours of waiting, and of tension.
Then the appearances of Jesus in the morning before the high priests and the council.
Following this Jesus is ignominiously dragged to the palace of the Roman governor where that strange interview transpired between Jesus and Pilate, withdrawn from the rabble into some quiet apartment.
Across the old city Christ journeys from the house of Pilate to the palace of Herod. At last, the first and final meeting with Herod, the corrupt, the depraved, Herod who had so often sought an interview with Him, and had never obtained it until that last hour, Herod who never heard the voice of Jesus, for to his curiosity Christ vouchsafed no single word.
Then began Christ’s rough handling at the hatred of Herod’s brutal soldiery until the journey back to Pilate.
Hours into which eternities were compressed! Through all in silence, He endured the Cross, despising the shame; in silence, with no word of complaint and no word expressive of pain, Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (NIV)
Remember Christ had been acquitted by the highest court of appeal but He is still subjected to the cruelest of punishment.
• Seized by calloused Roman soldiers
• rudely stipped
• harshly pushed onto a rough and filthy wooden beam
• cruelly pierced by Roman spikes
• raised aloft to be seen by all on an instrument of horror and torture
But in the midst of all that there is a stir, the prisoner held by spikes, thorns and bleeding wound is about to speak to His cruel tormentors. His lips begin to move . . .