Summary: This is a sermon about the last seven words or expressions that Jesus said before his death on the Cross of Calvary on Good Friday ,
There are seven words, the last seven expressions of Jesus Christ which he uttered on the Cross at Calvary (Golgotha in Hebrew according to John 19:17, meaning a place of a skull (Mark 15:22). The testimony of a dying man holds more value in the court. So the words of Christ on Calvary carry legal weight. In other words they are true. Supposedly crucifixion happened on a Friday, we call it Good Friday.
There are seven expressions traditionally attributed to Jesus during his crucifixion, gathered from the four Gospels. Three of the sayings appear exclusively in the Gospel of Luke and three appear exclusively in the Gospel of John. The other saying appears both in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Mathew. In Mark and Matthew, Jesus cries out to God. In Luke, he forgives his killers, reassures the good thief, and commends his spirit to the Father. In John, he speaks to his mother, says he thirsts, and declares the end of his earthly life.
THE FIRST WORD
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Gospel of Luke 23:34
Jesus says this first word only in the Gospel of Luke, just after he was crucified by the soldiers on Golgotha, with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. The timing of this suggests that Jesus asks his Father to primarily forgive his enemies, the soldiers, who have scourged him, mocked him, tortured him, and who have just nailed him to the cross. Even though He was dying on the Cross, His focus seems to be the other people. The other people are the Jews, Gentiles (all of us, not just Romans who crucified Him), His disciples who deserted Him. Forgiveness dominates his life style and his preachings. We see it in the Lord’s Prayer (Mathew 6:12), he tells it to Peter, his disciple (Mathew 18:21-22), at the last supper (Mathew 26:27-28), he forgives the Paralytic at Capernaum (Mark 2:5), the adulteress caught in act (John 8:1-11), after resurrection he commissions His disciples to forgive (John 20:22-23). Forgiveness flows in His blood. So we also can appreciate its importance on our lives as well.
THE SECOND WORD
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Gospel of Luke 23:43
Luke 23:39-42 (New King James Version)
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[a]save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[b] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
Here we see how one thief mocks Jesus, but the other one asks for forgiveness and receives it. The second word is about salvation with forgiveness underlying it. Here we see salvation through faith alone, not works as the thief had no time for good works, not even for Baptism. He just believed and was saved.
THE THIRD WORD
"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son".
Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."
Gospel of John 19:26-27
Jesus was with his mother at the beginning of his ministry in Cana and also now at the end of his public ministry at the Golgotha. There are four at the foot of the cross according to the Bible. John 19:25
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home His third word is addressed to Mary and John, the only eye-witness of the Gospel writers. The third word is about affection or love he has for the mother who gave birth to him on earth. He is doing his duty as her eldest son, making sure her needs are met after he is dead and gone.
THE FOURTH WORD
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46 (New King James Version)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[a]