Seven Sayings from the Cross
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, ‘Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’ – Luke 23:43
The second lesson we learn as we look to Jesus on the cross is this: think of others in the midst of your own suffering. Here, in the darkest hour in human history, we find the One who is suffering is thinking of others.
On the cross, Jesus was not only bearing the wounds from scourging, beating, slapping, and crucifixion — he was bearing all the sins of all his people and the wrath of God for them. There are no words to describe or parallel experiences to illustrate the misery this must have been. It was literally hell on earth.
How unexpected, then, to see one of the thieves crucified next to him turn to him and ask for a place in his kingdom. But, as striking as that scene doubtless was, it must have been even more shocking to see the One who was suffering so much turn to the thief and speak to him words of comfort.
If Jesus can think of others at a time like this, surely we are utterly without excuse for ever being self-centered or self-absorbed in times of personal struggle or affliction. If Jesus can help and encourage and comfort while hanging on the cross, then we can certainly minister to others in the midst of our own pain or grief or loss.
Are you struggling under the weight of some great difficulty or sorrow? Then look to Jesus on the cross. Not only does he have words of comfort for you, but his example is a model for you. May looking to Jesus take your eyes off yourself and inspire you to reach out to those around you who are hurting and hopeless and needy.