The Bible reveals some of Jesus’ thoughts while He was dying. After a severe beating that drove some insane, Jesus carried His cross to Golgotha. Anticipating Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., He warned followers and mourners: “‘Do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!’”’” (Luke 23:28-30)
On the cross He lovingly said, “‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).
He also loved Mary, entrusting her to John: “‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother’” (John 19:26-27).
The rebels crucified beside Him witnessed His amazing compassion despite excruciating pain that usually elicited curses. Both “heaped insults on him” (Matthew 27:44), but later one repented. Jesus promised him, “‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43). “Today” meant for Jews by sundown.
About 3 p.m. He said, “‘I am thirsty’” (John 19:28), and, quoting Psalm 22, “cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34).
Finally He said, “‘It is finished’” (John 19:30) and “‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’” (Luke 23:46).
Our Good Shepherd knows His sheep and all things—even all the stars in the universe.
Astrophysicists estimate there are at least 100 billion galaxies. Our Milky Way galaxy alone has an estimated 100 billion stars. God “determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4). “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:25-26).
Jesus “calls his own sheep by name” and lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18), who include all His future disciples.
Shortly before the cross, Jesus said, “‘My prayer is not for them (His disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message’” (John 17:20). Jesus prayed down the corridors of time for all His future disciples. We may be a number to the government or a business, but Jesus loves and knows us personally, individually by name.
God numbers the hairs on our heads, and Jesus said, “’You are worth more than many sparrows’” (Luke 12:7). Since He has far more stars than sparrows or disciples, He must consider us individually worth more than both many stars and sparrows as He created us in His image and died for us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Many preachers have noted that we can substitute our names for “the world” in that verse.
If you saved your child from drowning in the ocean but drowned yourself, you would be pleased that you had saved your child. Hypothetically, if we as mere humans died for future disciples, we couldn’t know them personally.
While we can’t psychoanalyze our Good Shepherd, we can deduce some of His thoughts on the cross.
He loved and thought about His doomed fellow Jews, His enemies and torturers, His mother Mary, His newest brother—a condemned revolutionary and His disciples of every century, including one sheep precious to Him, bearing your name.
While suffering crucifixion, the omniscient King of Kings and Lord of Lords loved you and had your name and face on His mind.