The Significance of Jesus’ Last 7 Statements on the Cross

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What were Jesus’ 7 last sayings while He hung on the cross? What is their significance?

Jesus’ Last Words

Of course, Jesus’ seven last statements on the cross were not His very last statements, but those on the cross held great significance. The number seven in Scripture always indicates completion, like in seven days the Lord God created the heavens and the universe in seven days. The seven last sayings of Jesus cannot be found in any one gospel as they are interspersed throughout the four gospels, so here’s saying number one.Taking up your cross daily

# 1 Luke 23:32-34 Father Forgive Them

“Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:32-34).

Notice that Jesus was praying for His enemies, as we’re told to do in Matthew 5:44. Perhaps that great act of mercy ever shown by Jesus was asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. This statement could well have persuaded the thief on the cross to believe in Jesus. He had never before experienced such love and forgiveness! These verses also fulfilled [meaning, filled to the full] the prophecy, “they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” found in (Psalm 22:18).

# 2 Luke 23:39-43 Today in Paradise

I believe it is possible that the thief on the cross was persuaded that Jesus was the Messiah after Jesus’ asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him, so we read that “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43). The Greek word used for thief is the same as robber, and we know that people usually use violence as a means to rob so this was no petty-theft criminal here! He must have deserved death or he wouldn’t have been sent to the cross, so he was very likely a violent criminal, perhaps even murdering to steal. Now the thief on the cross could die in peace because He trusted in Christ and was now at peace with God (Rom 5:1).

# 3 John 19:25-27 Behold Your Mother

The Apostle John wrote that “standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:26)-27! Here is where Jesus no longer calls his mother “mother,” but “woman,” indicating that Jesus is now her Lord and Savior; infinitely more than just her son. Jesus was telling John to take care of Mary as he would his own mother, and John agreed from that very day.  Even near death, Jesus was still honoring His mother as God commands all of us (Ex 20:12).

# 4 John 19:28 I Thirst

It was “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished [Our Salvation Finished!], said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst” (John 19:28). This is from one of the Messianic Psalms where it says, “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink” (Psalm 69:21), but there are other references to these things at the cross (Psalm 22:15), and notice, Jesus was not a helpless victim of circumstances. Regarding His life, He says, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:18). Indeed He did lay down His life for His sheep, fulfilling dozens of prophecies, some written a thousand years before Christ came in the flesh (Psalm 21-23).

# 5 Matthew 27:45-46 Forsaken of God

Next, we read It was “from the sixth hour [noon] there was darkness over all the land [earth] until the ninth hour [3pm]. And about the ninth hour [3pm] Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). This statement was prophesied about Christ from Psalm 22:1, but why would Jesus say He was forsaken by God? It was because He had taken upon Himself the sins of the world, and God the Father being holy, cannot even look upon sin. Apparently, when God looks away, only darkness prevails in this world. The darkness may have been due to the fact that our sins that had separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2-3) were then placed upon Jesus, and this darkness represents sin. And don’t overlook the fact that the Father suffered too. What human father would not have felt something, seeing their own son die in such a way?

#6 Luke 23:46 I Commend My Spirit

As we see, Jesus is in control of His own life, not man, even to the very end (John 19:30), so at the very end, “Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46). This was also a Messianic reference from Psalm 31:5. Again, it does not say Jesus was killed or murdered on the cross. He says “I commit my spirit….into your hands” and then (and only then) “he breathed his last.” It didn’t say He died and had his last breath. It is so important to know that Jesus was always in control of everything that happened. To the outside observer, it would seem ridiculous to think that Jesus or God was in full control but as we’ve read in Scripture, all these things were done “to fulfill the Scripture” (John 19:28). Fulfilled Scripture is the visible evidence of God’s will over mans. These fulfilled prophecies are further evidence (scriptural and historical) that Jesus is Lord and Savior and God.

# 7 John 19:30 It is Finished

As we’ve read before, no one took Jesus’ life. He willing came to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), so “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30). What was finished? His work on earth and He finished the plan of redemption for those who would trust in Him. Notice it doesn’t say Jesus’ died or Jesus was killed, but He “gave up his spirit,” meaning it was His own choice and He fully in control up to the moment He died. The Lord was no helpless victim of the Jews or the Roman authorities, but a willing Lamb led to the slaughter for the sake of His sheep. He could have called down legions of angels to stop this, but He knew that none of us would have any way to escape the wrath of God. God uses evil for good all the time (Gen 50:20), although not the author of evil.

Conclusion

After Jesus’ gave up His Spirit, Matthew 27:51-54 tells us that “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” It’s interesting that Moses instructed each Jewish household to “keep” the Paschal lamb for four days, from Nissan 10-14, before it was sacrificed. This gave them time to inspect the lamb for any flaws (Ex 12:3, 6), but then the family naturally grew found of the lamb so after the four days had passed, and they had to kill the Paschal lamb, it must have grieved them to have to kill it. This shows that sin hurts, causes pain, and brings death. God the Father must have also grieved over Jesus’ physical death. Do we?

Here is some related reading for you: Why Did Jesus Say on the Cross That God Had Forsaken Him?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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