The four Gospels record the seven last words of Jesus Christ on the cross as he hangs on the cross waiting to die for the sins of the world. These last words are significant because they show us that Jesus was faithful until the end of his life on earth. He was consistent in who he was and the message he preached.
Jesus never wasted any words, and the 7 last words he spoke were full of power and life-changing to those who heard them. These words will transform our lives as we meditate on them and behold what Jesus was saying during his last hours.
1) The First Word
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus said these words as a prayer to his Father, to forgive those who crucified him because they didn’t understand the impact of their actions. They thought they were crucifying a normal man and hadn’t recognized him as the Son of God. He gave his life for the forgiveness of sins and he had to forgive those who were putting him to death. By praying for their forgiveness, he was fulfilling Isaiah 53:12 that said he would “made intercession for the transgressors.”
"Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Forgiveness of sins was the reason Jesus was hanging on a cross and he, therefore, could not hold a grudge against those who mistreated him. He knew they would need his forgiveness, although they didn’t know it at the time. He was demonstrating his ability to forgive sins because he had the authority from his Father. Jesus forgives our sins today as a result of his death on the cross, and we are to receive his forgiveness whenever we sin.
2) The Second Word
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
These are the words that have been said to one of the criminal crucified next to Jesus. This was after the criminal told Jesus to remember him when he enters his kingdom. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah. He even rebuked the other criminal who moked Jesus by telling him that if he was the Messiah, he should save himself and the two of them.
By saying these words, Jesus demonstrated that he had the power to give eternal life. His death and resurrection were not just for the redemption of sins, but to give eternal life to those who believe in him. Anyone who accepts his gift of salvation will spend eternity with him. With these words, he confirms that he will not reject anyone who comes to him (John 6:37). His free gift of salvation is available to anyone who will call out to him.
"All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away."
3) The Third Word
“Woman, here is your son.”
Jesus showed us his caring nature by uttering these words to his mother, Mary. She was standing at the foot of the cross together with the disciple Jesus loved. He also told the disciple, “Here is your mother” referring to Mary. Jesus was making sure that his mother had someone to care for her when he was gone.
Mary’s heart was in sorrow as Simeon had prophesied to her when Jesus was young (Luke 2:34-35). He told her that a sword would pierce her soul. The moment of fulfillment had come because Mary had to watch her son tortured and killed.
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Jesus cares the same way for us and always seeks to meet our daily needs. He provides for us and ensures we live an abundant life. God promises to meet all our needs through his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
4) The Fourth Word
“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
After spending hours on the cross, Jesus said these words because he felt God abandoned him. He was in agony and must have felt alone. Jesus was expressing the deep cry of his soul because he knew he had to go through the death on the cross.
With the sins of the world upon him, he experienced separation from his Father. Isaiah 53:5 says that he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. This means that God had to forsake him as he was laden with our sins.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
Today we turn to Jesus and receive his forgiveness for our sins. He died so that we would be free from slavery to sin and no longer face separation from God.
5) The Fifth Word
“I am thirsty.”
Having lived on earth, Jesus had physical needs because he had a body like each of us. He, therefore, experienced the suffering of the human body. Jesus was thirsty after the ordeal he went through and wanted a drink to quench his thirst. He was given a mixture of vinegar and gall.
"There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it."
This was to fulfill the Scripture that said,
“They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst”
Jesus had to endure thirst on the cross but after his resurrection, He would be the one quenching the thirst of mankind. He offered the woman at the well in John 4 a drink of living water and told her she would never thirst again. When we drink of the living water of Jesus, we too will never thirst again.
6) The Sixth Word
“It is finished.”
Jesus' death on the cross had a purpose, and when he had come to the end of his life, he declared the fulfillment of that purpose. He was to die on the cross for the redemption of mankind, and he had completed the work. It is a simple statement, but very profound when you think about its meaning. Today, we enjoy the finished work of Christ on the cross and enjoy the freedom he gave us.
In John 17:4, Jesus said:
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”
He had fulfilled prophecy and finished the work his Father gave him. He had finished his suffering and had achieved victory over the devil and the Kingdom of Darkness. Jesus showed us that it is important to complete the work that God has given each of us on earth. It is for a purpose and for the good of others. Like Jesus, we can say at the end of our lives that we finished the race and are ready to face our Creator.
7) The Seventh Word
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
After finishing his work on earth by dying on the cross, Jesus gave up his spirit and breathed his last. These are the very last words he spoke, and they marked the end of his life on earth. He willingly gave up his life for us so that we would have eternal life. In John 10:15 he says that he lays down his life for his sheep and at his last breath, he was doing exactly that.
"just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep."
When Jesus breathed his last and died, it was a glorious moment because of the eternal impact it would have on us. To some, he had failed because he could not save himself, but to those who believe in him, they know he gave them eternal life.
The Importance of The Seven Last Sayings Of Christ
Jesus’ last words on the cross are important because they remind us that he is a loving Savior who cares about our needs. He gave us his gift of love in much suffering and he knows how we feel when we suffer. We can always turn to him for comfort and strength because he understands our pain.
At the cross, Jesus completed the work that provided for us the inheritance we enjoy as believers. We belong to the Kingdom of God and everything we need, God already made it available when Christ died on the cross. The 7 last words of Jesus show us that He indeed completed the work and we cannot add our works to His. We can only receive everything he provided to us.
What Does the Death of Jesus Mean to Us?
Jesus’ death on the cross was a sacrifice that he offered of Himself so that we would not have to offer the sacrifice of bulls and goats. He atoned for our sins once for all people.
"And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
With the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have a New Covenant where God puts his laws in our hearts and writes them on our minds
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."
He does this through his Holy Spirit who indwells us after we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Jesus achieved victory over the devil and gave us the authority to enforce it in our lives today. He gave us authority in Luke 10:19 to trample over snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy.
"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."
When we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, we are reconciled to God and are no longer separated from Him. Jesus gave us the right to become children of God and enjoy all the benefits of the Kingdom of God.
"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
Did you notice the inscription INRI at the top of Jesus' cross? And do you know what it means? Find out the meaning of this abbreviation in our article; INRI Meaning on The Cross.