Recent articles have reflected upon the final words of individuals who were part of God’s Plan for bringing Messiah into the world and proclaiming the good news that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and future King over the earth. Jacob prophesied that through the tribe of his son Judah, God would fulfill His promise to bless all the nations of the earth. God’s plan to accomplish that would eventually come from the house of David and the gospels and epistles of the apostles would record the revelation of the divine plan.
Humbly stated, God’s intent for the ages can be summarized thusly: to bring Messiah into the world and provide salvation for all mankind and secondly, to have Him return to establish His kingdom on earth. Christians celebrate the accomplishing of the first phase of this two part plan at Christmas and Easter -- the manger to the Cross. In announcing the purpose of what is called His first Advent, Jesus told Zaccheus … “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10 NIV).
While this tax collector who was hated by the Jews responded to the Truth of Christ’s offer of salvation, the majority of the nation rejected it and called for His crucifixion. However, that did not deter God’s Plan to redeem mankind, to offer any individual eternal life on the basis of faith in Christ and have imputed to him or her His Righteousness so that a person would be declared justified before a holy God.
The gospels do not record the entire conversation with Zaccheus, but no doubt Jesus presented Himself as the Messiah who must go to the Cross and bear the sins of mankind. To any religious Jew, this teaching was not unknown for the prophet Isaiah had graphically presented a picture of the Suffering Servant who would accomplish salvation. It would involve a sacrificial offering by One who was innocent on behalf of sinful man.
The prophet of Israel stated … “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa 53:3-5 NASB).
A thousand years before the Cross, David presented to the nation a vivid portrayal of that sacrifice. The thoughts of the Lamb of God while on the Cross where prophetically stated by the psalmist. “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; and by night, but I have no rest” (Ps 22:1-2 NASB).
In the agony of being judged for the sins of man, the humanity of Christ recognized … “Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In Thee our fathers trusted; they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. To Thee they cried out, and were delivered; in Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed. But I am a worm, and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, "Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him" (Ps 22:3-8 NASB).
During the course of those hours on the Cross, it was the Word of God in His soul that sustained and enabled Him to accomplish the purpose for which He came at His first Advent. He has paid once and for all time the sin debt of mankind. Salvation had been accomplished; His parting words from the Cross proclaimed … “It is finished” (John 19:30).