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Jesus' Seven Last Words From the Cross

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

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Jesus made seven statements, expressions or sayings when He was hanging on the cross. Christian churches hold Good Friday services where those seven last words are the focus.

Usually, seven preachers are assigned to give a 7-minute homily on one of the expressions in the order they occur in the gospels.

When you read the seven statements below, notice that they are short and to the point. Also, notice that Jesus focused on those in the crowd when He spoke the first three statements. It is only during the last four that He turns His attention to Himself.

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First Statement

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke 23:43

After all the things Jesus had gone through from Thursday night until He spoke from the cross many hours later, His very first words were those of forgiveness.

Jesus asked His Father to forgive those responsible for putting Him in the position He was currently in. He had been falsely accused and nailed to the cross and would die there.

It is remarkable that Jesus' first concern was forgiveness for others.

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Second Statement

"Today, you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43

After Jesus had asked God to forgive those who were crucifying Him, He spoke to the two thieves who were on both of His sides.

One of the thieves mocked Jesus for being there. The other thief was nicer to Jesus and asked to be saved. Jesus spoke the second statement from the cross to him.

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Third Statement

Jesus' mother was still at the foot of the cross along with John, Jesus' beloved disciple. Jesus wanted to spare His mother from seeing Him die on the cross, therefore, the next statement was to her and John.

"Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother.” John 19:26-27

One can't help from noticing that Jesus asked John to take care of His mother instead of asking His own brothers to do so. That's because Jesus trusted John. After all, He had spent three years with him and He knew what John was all about. The Bible refers to John as "the beloved disciple."

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Fourth Statement

There is a definite division that starts here. One can clearly see that Jesus' statements changed from taking care of others, and He focused on Himself.

Even the fourth word that Jesus quoted is found in two of the four gospels, Jesus was actually reciting Psalm 22:1.

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

This is the only question in the group.

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Fifth Statement

The fifth word was different from any of the others. It was the shortest of the statements. It was about Jesus' humanity and His personal need.

"I thirst." John 19:28

Even so, Jesus did not request anything. He simply made a statement to fulfill what was written in Psalm 22:15.

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Sixth Statement

"It is finished." John 19:30

Most people make the mistake and this is the last of the seven expressions, but it is the sixth and not the seventh.

When Jesus said, "It is finished," He was referring to His earthly work. The redemptive work He had come to earth to complete was over. This did not mean He would do nothing from that point on because now He is sitting on the right hand of God making intercessions for us.

Also, Jesus did not mean that nothing else had to be done. Jesus had trained His disciples to do greater work on earth.

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Seventh Statement

"Father into your hands, I commend my spirit."

When Jesus spoke His final word from the cross, it was one that most people are familiar with. The words are similar to the bedtime prayer mothers teach their children. Jesus' mother might have taught Him that same prayer that our mothers taught us:

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

After Jesus said His final statement, like a little child, He went to sleep in his father's arms, according to Luke 23:46.

Notice that the first word was to His Father and the last word was to His Father.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What was the FIRST WORD from the cross?
    • "I thirst"
    • "It is finished."
    • "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
  2. What was the SECOND WORD from the cross?
    • "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
    • "Into their hands, I commend my spirit."
    • "Today you shall be with me in paradise."
  3. What was the THIRD WORD from the cross?
    • "I thirst."
    • "Woman, behold thy son."
    • "Father, forgive them for they know now what they do."
  4. What was the FOURTH WORD from the cross?
    • "Today, you shall be with me in paradise."
    • "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
    • "I thirst."
  5. What was the FIFTH WORD from the cross?
    • Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
    • "I thirst."
    • "It is finished."
  6. What was the SIXTH WORD from the cross?
    • "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."
    • "It is finished."
    • "I thirst."
  7. What was the SEVENTH WORD from the cross?
    • "Woman, behold they son."
    • "It is finished."
    • Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

Answer Key

  1. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
  2. "Today you shall be with me in paradise."
  3. "Woman, behold thy son."
  4. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
  5. "I thirst."
  6. "It is finished."
  7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

Comments

Howard Taylor on April 07, 2020:

God bless you for bringing to my remembrance the seven statements. You are such a great teacher.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 30, 2018:

Tim, it is wonderful that you read my article about the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. Thanks for reading it.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on March 30, 2018:

Thanks for this interesting article. I enjoyed reading it.

Sincerely,

Tim