Last week my post—When did “a cross” become “The Cross”?, revealed the true message of The Cross. “Through Jesus’ resurrection—He once was dead then came to life three days later—a cross turned into The Cross!”
“Literally, a cross is itself not power. But, The Cross, the means by which Jesus sacrificed Himself to death and now symbolizes eternal life for Christians-that, dear believers, holds power. It is truth we Christians need to remember daily.”
It was on The Cross that Jesus shared His final words. Often, people are intrigued to know the dying words of someone about to take their last breath. In fact books have been written on this very topic. Famous last words of five well known men include:
- “I die hard but am not afraid to go.” – George Washington, US President
- “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” – Steve Jobs, Apple founder
- “Love one another.” – George Harrison, The Beatles
- “One last drink, please.” – Jack Daniel, Distiller
- “A dying man can do nothing easy.” – Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of America
One can decipher any interpretation one wants from the above statements. They were made by intelligent ordinary men. Though successful in their fields, none were privy to know beforehand the eternal realm they were about to enter upon their deaths.
Jesus knows about life and death.
On the other hand, Jesus, while in life on earth and in death to His body on The Cross, knows all things seen and unseen. Jesus was “In the beginning. . .”—knowing what was past, is present, and what is to come.
Jesus is God. That means Christians should consider the importance of the last seven statements He made to us from The Cross, right before giving up His earthly body.
Try and picture the horrific scene of darkness in the afternoon as Jesus’ battered body hung on The Cross between two other men also being crucified.
Jesus’ mother Mary—crying as she is consoled by the women followers of Jesus. John the apostle—watching his beloved friend suffer as many gather just to gawk. All while Roman soldiers—caring more about themselves gamble at the foot of The Cross for Jesus’ clothes.
Jesus’ seven statements from The Cross:
1….Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
These are the first words Jesus spoke after being nailed to The Cross. Jesus asks that God forgive His haters. This offering of Jesus’ divine love to sinners speaks volumes on the unquestionable love Jesus has for all. As His unidentifiably bruised and battered body hung dying at His accusers hands—Jesus asked God to forgive His killers.
2….Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus was crucified along with two criminals. The one on Jesus’ left mocked Him while the one on the right expressed faith in Jesus. Again, even as Jesus’s body was dying, Jesus offered His love to another by assuring the criminal of his place in Heaven.
3….John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Jesus’ beloved mother, Mary, was at the crucifixtion along with John the apostle. Seeing Mary, Jesus was concerned for her wellbeing on earth and entrusted her to John’s care, all while He hung on The Cross.
4….Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
At this moment Jesus felt the sin of the world upon Him—the reason for which He sacrificed Himself—and He was temporarily separated from God The Father. I believe Jesus absent from the presence of His Father induced far more anguish and suffering than the physical pain man was pressing upon Him.
5….John 19:28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
Jesus fulfills the Messianic prophecy from Psalm 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
6….John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
This means the works Jesus came to do: teaching God’s word, discipling, miracles, exemplifying love, healing, and His sacrificial death for man’s sin, was now complete.
7….Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Jesus, free of sin, willfully gave His unblemished spirit to God, who lovingly accepted it as redemption for all man’s sin.
Now that you have this scene in your mind, take a few moments and thank our almighty LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the unmatched love His offers. None in this world compares with His endless compassion, mercy and grace. If you ever doubt His love, just think back and remember all that Jesus did and said at The Cross.
We overcome life because Jesus overcame death!