Jesus agonized on the cross for six hours before he died. It is difficult to understand everything that was happening during those 360 painful minutes. From a human perspective, Jesus was dealing with excruciating pain. From a divine perspective, he was carrying the weight of the world’s sins. His seven statements from the cross give us a glimpse into his amazing heart.
Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9 o’clock in the morning. He died at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. He spoke three times in the first three hours. Then at noon, the sky turned black and for the next three hours, darkness covered the land and Jesus entered into a painful silence. In the final few minutes before his death, Jesus broke the silence, speaking four more times in rapid succession.
Seven Words from the Cross
1. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
They had just nailed Jesus to the cross. Those who drove the nails were flipping a coin to see who would get his only earthly possession — the clothes off his back. The people stared at him motionless. The religious leaders sneered in sadistic delight.
Jesus’ first order of business from the cross — forgiveness.
Jesus came to heal a broken world. The first step on the road to healing is always forgiveness.
Reflection: If Jesus was willing to forgive those who crucified him, what is my excuse for not forgiving those who hurt me?
2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on the left and one on the right. These were not common criminals. Crucifixion was reserved only for the most heinous crime — treason against Rome. These two had been found guilty of armed rebellion against Rome. They form a stark contrast with the one that hangs between them.
They are a contrast between the power of the sword and the power of God. They are a contrast between hatred and love, violence and peace, belief and unbelief, guilt and innocence.
They also form a contrast with each other. Both on their death bed — one spews hatred and contempt, the other repentance. His words are a precursor to the most powerful and essential confession in human history — Jesus has done nothing wrong. I am the guilty one. Remember me.
Jesus’ response brings peace and joy for all who believe in this world.
Reflection: If the criminal was willing to swallow his pride and confess his need for Jesus, what is my excuse for not doing the same?
3. “Woman, here is your son, … Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27).
John, the youngest of Jesus’ disciples, may have been the only one of the Twelve who had the courage to show up at the cross. The women who followed Jesus were there. Not surprisingly, so was his mother.
Mary was not the first Jewish mother to have to watch her son die on a Roman cross. But, that didn’t make it any easier. Obviously, the anguish was on her face.
Jesus was dying on one of the cruellest execution racks ever invented. The beating alone would have killed most. The loss of blood and the late morning sun were taking what was left of his life-energy.
I am told that the closer a terminally ill patient gets to the point of death, the smaller their world becomes. In the last few hours, their entire world is measured by each breath. But, to the very end, Jesus was thinking of others. To the end, he was taking care of those he loved.
Reflection: If Jesus could care for his mother even as he was dying on a cross, what is my excuse for not caring for the people in my life?
To Be Continued …
Shortly after Jesus made the last statement, darkness covered the land, and Jesus fell silent. It remained dark for 3 hours, until 3 pm (Mark 15:33). At that point, Jesus made four more statements in rapid succession.
READ ABOUT THE LAST FOUR WORDS FROM THE CROSS –> CLICK HERE