Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part LXXVIII: Certifying Christianity Via Christ's Faithfulness To His Mission Even In Facing Death
(Luke 23:26-46)
  1. Introduction
    1. It can be said that when facing death, a man does not lie. In fact, one's final words spoken in events that he fully knows mark the close of this earthly life are often taken by courts of law to be true confessions.
    2. Thus, if Christianity is true, we should be able to see some signal of that fact in the actions and words of Jesus as He faced His horrible death by way of crucifixion. Luke's Gospel gives us that insight as follows:
  2. Certifying Christianity Via Christ's Faithfulness To His Mission Even In Facing Death, Lk. 23:26-46.
    1. Luke's Gospel was written to give Theophilus insight on the credibility of the Christian faith, Luke 1:3-4.
    2. As such, Luke records the words and acts of Jesus when He clearly knew He was about to die that bear witness to His fidelity to His lifelong mission, certifying the Christian faith to be of God as follows:
      1. According to the authoritative A. T. Robertson's, A Harmony of the Gospels, p. 227-233, Luke's Gospel is the only gospel record that records the following: (a) Jesus' words to Jerusalem's women while bearing His cross, Ibid., p. 227; (b) Jesus' call to the Father to forgive those who crucified him, Ibid., p. 228; (c) Christ's comforting words to the believing thief on the cross, Ibid., p. 231 and (d) His claim that His spirit was going to the Father as He was in the process of dying itself, Ibid., p. 233!
      2. Each of these events focus on how Jesus steadfastly continued His lifelong teachings to Israel:
        1. In Christ's words to the women while walking toward Golgotha, Jesus continued His lifelong ministry of holding to His claims, Luke 23:26-31: (a) As Jesus walked toward Golgotha, He became so weakened from abuse suffered the night before that He fell under the weight of the cross. The soldiers had to get another man to carry the cross, Luke 23:26. Thus, Jesus obviously KNEW He was facing death! (b) However, while in this state, and hearing the women mourn for Him, Jesus addressed them with a warning of impending trials, Luke 23:27-30. (c) Jesus pointed out that if such a great injustice as was happening to Him at the time could be done by wicked men, how much more unjust sufferings would Israel endure in the time of suffering to come, Luke 23:31 with Ryrie Study Bible, KJV footnote. (d) Thus Jesus steadfastly held to His claims to be righteous as God's Messiah and Son even while walking toward the cross under duress and facing death!
        2. In actually being pinned to the cross, Jesus steadfastly continued His lifelong teachings to Israel: (a) Luke's Gospel alone records that while Jesus was being nailed to the cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do." (Ibid., p. 228) (b) Thus, Jesus steadfastly held to His claim to be the Son of God by praying to the Father to forgive His persecutors. (c) As such, Jesus steadfastly held to His claim to be God's Son by His actions in the face of death's suffering!
        3. In the event of conversing with the thief on the cross, Jesus steadfastly continued His lifelong teachings to Israel: (a) Matthew's Gospel records that at the first, both the thieves who had been crucified with Jesus bitterly mocked Him, Mtt. 27:41-43, 44. (b) However, Luke records that one of the thieves had a later change of heart, for he came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah by asking Him to remembe r himself when Jesus came into His kingdom, Luke 23:39-41, 42. (c) While facing death on the cross, Jesus responded graciously, promising this man eternal life just like He did so many other times to other sinners who had repented during His earthly ministry, Luke 23:43. (d) Thus, though facing a horrible death, Jesus steadfastly continued His graciously saving ministry!
        4. While dying, Jesus commended His spirit to the Father, a testimony that He believed His Sonship was a correct claim as sealed by His dying words themselves, Luke 23:46.
Lesson: In facing certain, violent death, Jesus repeatedly witnessed that He was upright and gracious, the Son of God who came to save sinners. As such, He certified His lifelong claims to be true.

Illustration: When Cassey of Littleton, Colorado answered the gunman when asked if she believed in God, knowing it meant her death, she PROVED the reality of her faith that she had claimed on video two days before by saying, "Yes." In view of the added fact that she had changed from a rebellious teen two years before because of "Christ," the way Cassey died gives added reality to our own faith!