The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ uttered while he was nailed to the cross on Calvary, where He died for our sins, provide us with a lasting example of how we must live our lives today.
“We already know where the voracious greed for power, the imposition of one’s ideas as absolute, and the rejection of those who think differently will take us: to a numbness of conscience and to abandonment. Only the commitment of love in all its simplicity—steady, humble, unassuming but firm in conviction and in commitment to others—can save us.”
– Pope Francis, Homily May 25, 2012
What is love and how have we expressed it in our lives? Let us examine ourselves in light of the St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 13.
The Significance of the Words Jesus Spoke While on the Cross
By Don Stewart
1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 24:34)
The first of seven sayings of Jesus shows that He was thinking of others until the end of His life. He came to earth for the purpose of forgiving sinners and He loved them and forgave them up until the end. It was because of man’s sin that He was on the cross—suffering on behalf of that sin.
2. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
When the thieves were put on the cross both of them cursed Jesus but, as time elapsed, one of the thieves had a change of heart. It was at this juncture that Jesus made His second statement from the cross promising to forgive the repentant thief. Again, we see Jesus’ concern for others.
3. “Woman, behold your Son.” (John 19:26)
As Jesus continued to suffer on the cross His mind was still upon others. He saw His mother standing near the Apostle John and said, “Women, behold your son.” He then looked at John and said, “Behold you mother!” By doing this He was entrusting the care of His mother to John. The law required the firstborn son to take care of his parents, and Jesus was obeying the law of God up until the end.
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
The fourth saying of Jesus from the cross is probably the most difficult for us to understand. The Father was placing the sins of the world upon the Son in order that everything in the universe that had been affected by sin could again be made right with God. Jesus was suffering the pain and separation that we deserve. In order for this to occur, the Father had to forsake the Son and punish Him on our behalf.
5. “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
The fifth statement that Jesus made from the cross reminds us again that He suffered as a human being. He lived as a man and suffered as a man in order that He could identify with suffering humanity. From this statement we observe that Jesus suffered the full physical effect of crucifixion. There was no easing up, for the weight of our sins was placed upon Him.
6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
The sixth statement from Jesus while on the cross was a cry of victory. Jesus had to finish the task the Father had sent Him to earth to accomplish, namely, to provide salvation for humankind. The way of salvation had now been made complete. His was the supreme sacrifice which satisfied the righteous demands of a holy God. Another reason that Jesus said “It is finished” is with regard to His own suffering. He had now endured the final six hours of that suffering on a cross. He would no longer have to suffer the limits of space and time. It was finished!
7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
This is the final statement that we have from Jesus before His death. Everything had been completed and now it was time to dismiss His spirit. We realize that Jesus had to purposely dismiss His spirit; it could not be taken from Him. Unless He desired to die, He would not have had to. Because He was a willing victim, however, He chose to die. Upon making His final statement, Jesus died.