Jesus’ Last Moments
Jesus hung there on the cross between the two criminals. The sign Pilot ordered, hung over Jesus’ head, it said, This is the King of the Jews. The bible says the Jewish rulers were “sneering” at him. “He saved others,” they said. “Let him save himself if he’s God’s Messiah.”
One of the criminals who hung there with him also sneered. He said, “You’re supposed to be the Messiah? Save yourself and save us too.”
Darkness came across the land.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then Jesus called out loudly, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
And then he died.
How God Said It
In the story of Jesus’ death we see him mocked and sneered at while he hung there to die. Before that we feel his pain as we see him falsely accused, and whipped, and crowned with thorns, and nailed to the cross. We see it, we feel it, we experience it. That’s the way the bible is written. Have you ever noticed that? Have you ever noticed all the sensory experiential language in the bible?
- Jesus’ first miracle had to do with tasting. He turned the water into wine. And the master of the wedding feast tasted it and said, This is the best tasting wine of the feast.
- “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” Psalm 34:8 says.
- Jesus said, I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35) In fact most of John chapter 6 is about Jesus explaining how we must eat and drink of him.
And there’s also all the talk about Jesus our bridegroom, and how we’re his bride.
- Jesus said, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?” (Matthew 9:15)
- The bible says in Revelation, “The marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready…” (Revelation 19:7-9, see also Revelation 21:2, 21:9-11)
- And Jesus tells the parable of the virgins and the bridegroom in Matthew 25.
And those are just a few examples. So why does the bible push all this sensory and experiential language on us? What is God saying to us?
What God Wants
What is he saying to us? What does God want? Here’s what He’s saying to us: God is saying, he doesn’t want us to just know Him. He wants us to experience Him also.
Many of you reading this right now, know of Him. Right now you know information about Him. You have knowledge about Him. But for most of you the time is coming when you’ll want more. You’ll begin to want more of Him. You’ll want, not just to know Him, but to experience Him. You’ll find yourself hungering and thirsting for Him. Like David did in the desert. (Psalm 63:1)
And that makes all the difference. Because the difference between knowing and experiencing Jesus is like the difference between knowing that honey is sweet, and actually tasting honey. (Edwards) The difference is like knowing a 2002 Lingenfelter Corvette has a fast 0-60 mph time, and driving a 2002 Lingenfelter Corvette. The difference is like knowing that hang gliders fly, and flying a hang glider.
The difference is like knowing someone is a beautiful person, and marriage with that beautiful person.
(By the way, I’ve never driven a 2002 Lingenfelter Corvette. But I do know what marriage is like with a beautiful person, and it’s pretty spectacular.)
Jesus doesn’t want you to just know him, or know of him, or know a lot of information about him.
Jesus wants you to experience him.
God loves you so much. He wants so badly for you to experience the very best He has for you. That’s why Jesus came down. That’s why he left his place with God in heaven, even though he knew he would be betrayed, and derided, and crucified. He came anyway because he wants you to experience that abundant life. That’s why Jesus said he came, not only to give his life as a ransom so you could be saved, but also so you could have life here on earth more abundantly. And he said the way to have that life is to abide in him, and for him to abide in you. (John 10:10, John 15)
When you begin to desire Jesus, the way David did, when he was in the desert, that’s when your life will change.
You, God, are my God, Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. -David, Psalm 63:1
Your life is going to change just as soon as you decide to go beyond knowledge of Christ and to pursue experiencing Christ. After you begin that journey, you’ll experience amazing highs and also some lows. But no matter what, commit to going deeper and deeper in your relationship with Christ every day, until your final day on earth.
When Jesus was on the cross he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
I guess I’m asking you to do the same thing.
Commit yourself into God’s hands.
All of you.
I promise you’ll never regret it.
[Image via Ted Fu - Creative Commons]
Jonathon Edwards sermon: A Divine and Supernatural Light
Timothy Keller sermon: Lord of the Wine