Sayings of Jesus on the Cross
The first saying of Jesus while on the cross was for those who crucified him, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Here we find that Jesus in His final sufferings often mentions the Fatherhood of God – that God is our Father and He is a comforter in our times of trial.
Here we see that the pain and difficulty of speech during crucifixion was such that it was apparent that the Lord meant us to hear and meditate upon the words that He (Jesus) uttered from the cross. It would have been easier for Him to have prayed those words to himself, within his own thoughts, but instead he made the effort to speak them out loud, in order to inspire a similar effort in us to communicate with others when we feel like retreating into ourselves – to comfort them with our forgiveness, and to pray for our enemies.
They divided his clothes by casting lots: to divide his garments among themselves was such petty materialism in the presence of the cross of Jesus Christ that it was, and is, pathetic.
The second saying of Jesus on the cross was “Truly, I say to you today, (right now) – that you will indeed be with me in Paradise.” Jesus said these words after he had heard from the thief on his cross who asked, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your Kingdom.” (Luke 23:42).
The thief asked Jesus to remember him for good when Jesus returned to establish his Kingdom, because the thief was not ignorant of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God which Jesus had been preaching. He knew that there would be judgement day at the establishment of that Kingdom. That is why he asked Jesus to remember him, as he knew Jesus would rise from the dead to eventually be the Judge of that day – to remember him for good. The thief was certainly not ignorant, he recognised that salvation in the day of resurrection and judgement would be pronounced by Jesus Christ. Jesus replied that the thief “would be with him in paradise.” This word ‘Paradise’ in Greek simply refers to the garden of Eden, which will be seen in the future Kingdom of God on the earth. Christ and the thief did not go to the Kingdom that day – Jesus went to the grave, but as we know, being free from sin, His Father raised him from death. The thief was aware that he was responsible and sinful, and would appear at the judgement. But Jesus gave him the reassurance, and said: “I can tell you now” (right away - that you don’t have to wait until then to find out my verdict upon you) – “you will be with me in the Kingdom.”
Bro Joseph Mulawo (Pemba, Zambia)