Jesus’ Last Words
The promised one by whom the world was created came unto his own, but
they received him not (John 1:11). At his birth there was no room for him in the
inn. Herod sought to slay him, but he fled to Egypt. When he attempted to
minister to his home town of Nazareth, they tried to throw him off a cliff. The
Pharisees and Sadducees plotted against him. One of his own disciples betrayed
him into the hands of his enemies.
Man had done his worst. A mock trial was held and Jesus was sentenced
to death on a cross. And there he hangs – silent! As we look upon him, his lips
seem to move – is he crying for pity? No! What then are his words? Is he
pronouncing judgment on his enemies? No! He is praying, praying for his
enemies. We listen as he says, "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they
do (Luke 23:34). The first, of seven saying on the cross was a Word of
Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus modeled the value and importance of
prayer. Even now as he hangs dying he continued to teach us that nobody is
beyond the reach of divine mercy.
The second of Christ’s sayings was spoken in response to a request by a
dying thief. “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your
Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in
paradise.” (Luke 23:42,43)
It was no accident that Jesus was crucified between two thieves for Isaiah
the prophet foretold seven hundred years earlier, “he was numbered among the
transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12) God never acts arbitrarily. He has a divine purpose
for everything he does. Being numbered with the transgressors is evidence of his
position as our substitute.
“Standing by the cross were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the
wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19:25).
There stands Jesus’ blessed mother. What agony she must be enduring.
She was the one who brought him into this world. She planted the first kisses on
his little brow. She was the one who held his tiny fingers as he took his first steps.
She watched as he turned water into wine. Now she gazes upon his suffering as
pain is etched across his face. Jesus looks down and sees his mother’s heart. His
beloved friend John is standing next to her. Jesus speaks, “Dear woman, here is
your son. And he said to his disciple John, “Here is your mother.” And from that
time on this disciple took her into his own home. (John 19:26-27)
Here is a perfect example of children honoring their parents. Jesus’ act on
the cross embraced love, affection, gratitude, and respect. In the midst of intense
suffering, he took the time to care for his mother.
About the ninth hour the fourth words came from the lips of Jesus when he
cried with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
These are startling words. To think that such an exclamation would come
from one who was the object of the Father’s love is unbelievable. From eternity
past he had enjoyed unbroken fellowship. Complete harmony existed between
the members of the Godhead. Now there appears to be a break. It is
inconceivable that God would forsake his Son, even for a moment. This cry is
deeply mysterious. What mind is capable of analyzing the meaning of this
amazing cry? “Why have you forsaken me?” In this cry, we see the awfulness of
sin, the absolute holiness of God, the inflexibility of his justice, the meaning of the
cup in Gethsemane, and Jesus’ unswerving fidelity to his Father.
Jesus fifth word was the cry, “I thirst” (John 19:28). Think of it! The creator
of heaven and earth with parched lips. The Lord of Glory in need of a drink! With
this cry we see the evidence of Christ’s humanity. Jesus was truly the God-Man.
The writer of Hebrews said, “For since he himself was tempted in that which he
has suffered, he is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Hebrews
The sixth word from Jesus was a word of victory. When Jesus therefore had
received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). These words represent
the triumph of the cross. Victory has been won. Salvation secured. Suffering for
the sins of mankind is complete. We finally reach the climax for which Jesus came
to this earth. He paid for our sins by the shedding of his own blood as of a lamb
without spot or blemish. It was a perfect sacrifice for a sinful people. The final
atonement was made. Satan’s power has been crushed – his destiny sealed. As
the song writer said, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin has left a crimson
stains, he washed it white as snow.”
The final word from Jesus is a word of contentment. “And when Jesus had
cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and
having said thus, he gave up his spirit.” (Luke 23:46)