A dying confession under certain conditions is an exception to the hearsay rule and can be admitted as testimonial evidence in a court of law. Here are the last words of Christ as He was dying on the cross. It is the testimony of a dying man.
Christ’s first words on the cross were a prayer. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Many believe the words of Christ are a magnanimous appeal to forgive His Jewish accusers and Roman executioners. But I think the object of Christ’s prayer was much broader. I believe He was praying for all of us who sin ignorant of its full consequence and what it would cost Him.
Two things happened in answer to His prayer, one unseen the other seen. Father God begins to answer His prayer by laying our sins on Him, and it begins to grow dark.
One of the thieves being crucified with Him, asked, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
The other rebuked him, “We indeed are suffering justly … but this man has done nothing wrong.” He turned to Christ and begged, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Some say Paradise and heaven are not the same place, but to be with Jesus in Paradise would be heaven to me. With the burden of all mankind on His shoulders Jesus still cares about the one.
Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, has died and as the eldest son the welfare of His mother is His responsibility. Jesus looks to the disciple He loved, John, and says, “Behold, your mother!” and after commending her into his care, He tells her “Woman, behold your son!”
About three hours pass and around three in the afternoon Jesus cries out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” In that moment Jesus experiences something He has never known, and what He feared as He prayed in the garden, bearing our sin He is separated from fellowship with the Father.
Again, He cries out, “I am thirsty.” But it is a thirst no earthly drink can quench as the hellish price is paid. The price of our redemption having been paid in full, Jesus declares, “It is finished!”
Ever the faithful Servant Jesus surrenders His life, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit,” and breathes His last.
On February 26, 2004, Ash Wednesday, Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” debuted. It was received amid much controversy, in part, because of its extremely graphic and brutally violent portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ. Weeks before Easter this year the controversy is resurrected.
While the depiction of Christ’s physical sufferings were great they pale when compared to what He suffered spiritually.
Paul reminds us, “You have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body,” First Corinthians 6:20.