By Jesse Becker
A person’s dying words are often some of the most important words a person will say. There are seven last words of Jesus recorded for us in scripture. Nothing Jesus ever said was trite or insignificant, but these seven sayings hold some very precious truths for us.
Father, Forgive Them
The forgiveness of sin was the purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. The soldiers who drove the nails into His hands and feet and who cast lots to claim His garments were for the most part ignorant of whom they were dealing with. They probably thought of Him as just another criminal. But in spite of their ignorance, Jesus wanted them to be forgiven, too. What a tremendous picture of God’s mercy, grace, and compassion. God has forgiven us of our sins, also. Let us be careful not to take such a gift for granted.
To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
There is a powerful truth in this statement given by Jesus to the criminal on the cross next to Him. The criminal believed who Jesus was when in faith he asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus would enter His kingdom. Jesus’ response tells us that there is no other way to be saved than faith. The criminal had no chance to get baptized, give money to the church, feed the poor, or deny himself in any way. He had no other recourse than to fully trust in Jesus. And that is the place anyone must come to be forgiven and saved from their sin—an all out faith in Jesus and Jesus alone.
Woman, behold thy son! Behold thy mother!
John 19:26, 27
In this moment we see two things. First, Jesus was a caring a responsible individual who took great care of those He loved. His mother would no longer have Him physically near to take care of her needs, so Jesus saw to her wellbeing by giving her to John. Second, Jesus’ relationship with Mary was going to be different now. Jesus had been her son for 33 years, but now He would be her Savior for eternity. Mary was blessed to have birthed the Son of God, but she was as much in need of a Savior as any other person ever born. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world including yours and mine.
My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken me?
Perhaps this was the agonizing punishment that Jesus was dreading the most. Never in all eternity had Jesus and God been apart. The Holy God had to separate Himself from His only Son, because at that moment Jesus became sin for us, and God could not fellowship with sin. Because of that moment, we can fellowship with God by believing that Jesus died for us.
Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. There can be no doubt that Jesus was physically exhausted. His human body would have been in great need of many things including a great thirst. But some time before, He told the woman at the well that if any man thirst for God they need to drink the Living Water. It may be that Jesus at this moment of separation from God knew for the first time what it was to thirst for God. Jesus knew all our sin and all its consequences including the void that exists in the heart that cannot fellowship with God. Jesus thirsted so we would never have to thirst again.
It is finished.
What an incredibly important statement. Finished. Complete. Paid in full. Jesus satisfied the holiness of God so that the wrath of God would be spared. It is impossible to fully grasp what Jesus did for us. If we could even comprehend the desolation of our own sinful hearts we could begin to understand, but we can’t even do that. How can we ever appreciate something so vast? As far as the east is from the west, that is how far He has removed our iniquity. It is finished. There is nothing left for you or me to do. It was finished on the cross.
Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.
Jesus was absolutely alone on the cross. None of His friends or disciples were up there with Him. God had turned His back on His Son. Darkness cloaked Calvary’s hill. He was alone. Then Jesus said this with a loud voice, perhaps in desperation for God to hear, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” He felt that He must yell these words because God was so far from Him. Then Jesus was silent. He laid down His life and gave up the ghost. He had fully obeyed and done the work of His Father, and now He trusted His spirit into His Father’s care believing that God would raise Him from the dead.
God’s plan of salvation is so wonderful and so amazing. Everything Jesus said on the cross helps us appreciate what He went through for us. Then to think that it was all done because God so loved the world—because God so loved me—my heart is filled with gratitude and worship.