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Reflections on the Cross of Christ
40 Days of Prayers & Devotions

Section 4:  The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross

Day 17  The First Saying of Christ on the Cross - Part 1

“God, the Creator of the world, came to the world He created.  At His birth there was no place for him, King Herod tried to kill Him, and throughout His ministry His enemies sought to destroy Him.  Finally, at the end of His earthly ministry, He surrendered Himself to the vilest of men, suffered a mock trial, was slandered, mocked, beaten and finally crucified on the cross.”

“Jesus could have threatened condemnation and revenge.  As the song says, He could have called ten thousands angels to deliver Him.  He could have wreaked His wrath on them and destroyed them all.  But he didn’t do any of that.  Instead He spoke love - a divine love that had never before been so clearly revealed.”

“Then, as He hangs silent on the cross, instead of calling out for pity or cursing those who are crucifying Him, as He hangs dying, He utters the words “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

“The first words we hear from Christ in His torment and pain on the cross are a prayer.”

“Christ’s example in this first saying from the cross contains a lesson for us.  We may find ourselves limited in what we can do for the Lord or others because of some infirmity or other that limits us physically.  However, we can always pray.  The truth is that prayer is the most powerful force on earth.  In fact we may accomplish more through our prayers then we ever could by our active labor.”

Prayer Focus

Pray for:
-  God to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
-  God to give you the desire to be like Christ in praying for others.
-  Those on your prayer list.

Luke 23:33, 34 NLT

33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

Luke 3:21 NLT

21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened,

Matthew 5:44 NLT

44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Acts 4 NLT

Peter and John before the Council

1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, they were confronted by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. 2 These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead. 3 They arrested them and, since it was already evening, put them in jail until morning. 4 But many of the people who heard their message believed it, so the number of men who believed now totaled about 5,000.

5 The next day the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, along with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other relatives of the high priest. 7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected

has now become the cornerstone.’

12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. 15 So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves.

16 “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. 17 But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” 18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.

19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”

21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

The Believers Pray for Courage

23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. 24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—25 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,

‘Why were the nations so angry?

Why did they waste their time with futile plans?

26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;

the rulers gathered together

against the Lord

and against his Messiah.’

27 “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28 But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. 29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

The Believers Share Their Possessions

32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.  

Isaiah 53 NLT

1 Who has believed our message?

To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?

2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,

like a root in dry ground.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,

nothing to attract us to him.

3 He was despised and rejected—

a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;

it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,

a punishment for his own sins!

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,

crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.

We have left God’s paths to follow our own.

Yet the Lord laid on him

the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,

yet he never said a word.

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,

he did not open his mouth.

8 Unjustly condemned,

he was led away.

No one cared that he died without descendants,

that his life was cut short in midstream.

But he was struck down

for the rebellion of my people.

9 He had done no wrong

and had never deceived anyone.

But he was buried like a criminal;

he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him

and cause him grief.

Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,

he will have many descendants.

He will enjoy a long life,

and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,

he will be satisfied.

And because of his experience,

my righteous servant will make it possible

for many to be counted righteous,

for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,

because he exposed himself to death.

He was counted among the rebels.

He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Romans 1:4 NLT

4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.


 

Excerpts are taken from “40 Days: Prayers and Devotions Reflecting on the Cross of Christ” by Dennis Edwin Smith