Jesus’ Prayer From The Cross

Pastor Bruce Simpkins
Renewal Community Church
Caldwell, ID
Preached:  May 30, 2010

  1. Luke 23:34           Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
  2. Luke 23:43           I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.
  3. John 19:26, 27     Dear woman, here is your son . . . Here is your mother.
  4. Luke 23:46           Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
  5. Matthew 27:46     My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Mark 15:34          My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  6. John 19:28           I am thirsty.
  7. John 19:30           It is finished.


None of the Gospels give us all seven of Jesus last words.  Because they are distributed throughout, the order in which He said them is just a guess.


Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.  Who are the “them” and “they” that do not know what they are doing?  Caiaphas the high priest, Pontius Pilot the Roman governor, Judas who betrayed Jesus, all of the disciples who deserted Him and fled, Peter who not only fled, but denied knowing Jesus 3 times, maybe Barabbas (although he may have been an innocent bystander in Jesus death), the mocking soldiers who nailed Him to the cross, and the criminal on the cross who scoffed at Him . . . just to name the ones recorded in the Gospels.


Did they all really not know what they were doing?  From an eternal perspective, probably not, but from an earthly perspective, how could you betray, run away from, or abuse Jesus and not know what you were doing was wrong?  Would our behavior be any different if we were there?  Are we any different even now, and abandon Jesus?  But Jesus still utters these divine words, “forgive them”.  And they include us.  Accept this prayer of Jesus from the cross for you.


I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.  If you knew you had just a few hours left to live, would you turn to Jesus to save your soul in Heaven?  For those of us who know the Lord, the answer is a no-brainer.  But I am amazed at how many people still want nothing to do with Jesus, even at the end.  I can name at least a half dozen people that I personally knew who were dying and rejected Jesus with their last breath.  One example is a VERY good friend who worked for me at H.P.  He was a very likable person and was kind and generous to everyone and a smart, hard worker.  He called me one day to say he wouldn’t be at work because he had a severe headache.  He went to an eye doctor, because he thought it was his eyes causing it.  The eye doctor referred Him to an M.D. and the next day he called me and said he had a tumor in his brain and would never be back to work.  The day before he died (about two weeks later), he called me at work and wanted to thank me for my friendship.  When I talked to Him about Jesus, he cut me off and said, “I don’t believe in that stuff.  I just wanted to say goodbye”.


Everyone has a choice.  There was no debating at the cross.  Believe or do not believe.  One criminal was saved, the other was not.  After His resurrection Jesus said Mark 16:15-16  “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved , but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

If you never have put yourself under His forgiveness, and believed in Him, do it today and be baptized in His Name.  <<  ANYONE RIGHT NOW??  >>

Dear woman, here is your son . . . Here is your mother.  There are four soldiers at the foot of the cross gambling for Jesus clothes.  They were intent on getting something for nothing and oblivious to their opportunity for eternal life hanging right above them.  Jesus looks past them and the cruelty they perpetrated on Him and sees the two people He loved so dearly.  He is giving them the only thing He has as an inheritance to give . . . His love.  Basically He is saying love each other as I have loved you.  Love as a son and mother.  It is more than a practical taking care of each other.  They would be taken care of by the rest of the family and disciples, but this is a special gift of love . . . which is all Jesus ever really gave to anyone.  This final act of love is the same love He demonstrated in all of the rest of His life, and He gives it to you and me as well.


Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.  Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  This is a simple childlike prayer of absolute trust in the Father.


Being hung on a cross is not just a physical suffering to endure.  It is the ultimate in humiliation as well.  He was hanging there naked for all to see, exposed physically but also to verbal assault, and curses, and mockery.  He was as vulnerable as anyone could be.  Paul said:

2 Corinthians 4:10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

This is not just a prayer for when we are on our deathbed, but an everyday prayer as we die daily to our old self and thereby carry about the dying of Jesus.  We pray it when we go to work or school, we pray it when we go in for surgery, we pray it when we go grocery shopping . . . at all times we commit our spirits into the hands of our Father in Heaven.


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Christians die twice.  First when we follow Jesus we die a complete separation from our old self and choose to live obediently even if it means carrying our own cross.  We can’t be obedient until we have demonstrated what we say we believe.  We die to the old self, and live in the new self.  That means cutting the life lines that kept the old life alive.  It can not happen without a sense of loss for the old.  Jesus is experiencing the loss of the old relationship with His Father as He faces the new relationship in eternity.  There can not be birth without pain and cutting the umbilical cord.  Even though this statement may sound like a hopeless cry, it is the 1st verse of Ps 22 which leads to a glorification of the Father.  So it is for us.  The death to ourselves may have great loss in it, but it ends with a greater hope.


I am thirsty.  In the Greek, this is actually just one word:  (dip-sah’-o).  It would kind be like saying, “thirsty . . .”  Jesus was still in His body.  This is a statement of His physical condition, NOT His spiritual condition.  He has been on the cross for 3 hours on top of the hours of beatings and scourging.  His body is shutting down.  His lungs were failing.  His heart was failing.  His kidneys were failing.  All of this shutting down feels like a terrible physical thirst, “Thirsty . . .”.  Quenching a thirst is a relieving the body of what it is crying for.  Jesus is crying for relief for the physical body.  Our physical bodies are a part of the living and dying experience, and this is a proof if nothing else that was fully man as well a fully God.

It is finished.  This is also one word:  Tetélestai  The last stroke of the brush had been laid.  His mission was accomplished. The project was complete.  The contract was fulfilled.  The potatoes were done.  It is finished.  These all have a sense of relief and satisfaction . . . yet a sense of anticipation of what is next!


From the cross and during His life He forgave sins, He promised Heaven, He left His love, He committed Himself into the hands of the Father, He cut the umbilical cord to His old life, He sacrificed His physical body to the limit . . . and all the dominos were set up for the glorification and celebration that was to come!  At that point He had His relief and His rest from all His work, just like His Father in Heaven did in the beginning.


Gen 2:1-2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.


These are all the things we want to keep in our hearts and minds as we approach this table with the most reverent intentions.  And now we come to this table with great joy for what IS finished.


It is called the Lord’s Supper because Christ Himself instituted it in the upper room on the night He was betrayed.


From the beginning, it has always been a most sacred sign of loyalty to the church and a means of distinguishing between those who have professed Jesus Christ as their Lord from those of the world who have not.  We do not approach this table lightly but with most solemn and Holy intentions.


It is, however, for all believers.  You do not have to be a member of Northview Community Church, you just have to be a member of the body of Christ.


This is a time of remembering that Jesus became the last and final sacrifice on the cross for the sins of man.


Let us always remember that:


1 Cor 11:23-26  The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”


< Pass Bread >

Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:28 that  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.


Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you.


In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes


< Pass Cup >


Eph 2:13-18

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.


Drink in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you.


Rom 8:1-4

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do, in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not now live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.


Let’s Pray




1 Thess 5:23-24

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.









Luke 23: -34  34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”



Luke 23:43  “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”



John 19:26-27  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.



Matt 27:45-53  From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi,  lama sabachthani?“-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  


47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”


48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”


50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.


51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.



Mark 15:33-39  At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?“-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  


35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”


36 One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.


37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.


38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”


Luke 23:46  “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.



John 19:28-30  Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.   30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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