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Jesus’ crucifixion stands as one of the most meaningful events in Christian history. As Jesus hung on the cross, he spoke seven last words, each carrying deep significance and meaning. These words provide a window into his heart and offer invaluable lessons for believers today.

1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

In his first word, Jesus exemplifies the essence of forgiveness. Despite the pain and suffering inflicted upon him, Jesus asks God to forgive those responsible. This act of forgiveness underscores the boundless mercy and love of God. As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate this forgiveness in our own lives, extending grace to others even when it’s undeserved.

2. “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

To the thief crucified beside him, Jesus offers the promise of salvation. This statement highlights the inclusive nature of God’s grace, demonstrating that redemption is available to all, regardless of past mistakes or circumstances. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of faith and the hope of eternal life.

3. “Woman, here is your son… Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)

In this word, Jesus shows care and compassion for his mother, Mary, and entrusts her to the care of the disciple John. This act emphasizes the importance of familial and communal bonds within the Christian community. It reminds us of our responsibility to care for and support one another as members of God’s family.

4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)

Jesus’ cry of abandonment reflects the depth of his human experience. In this moment, Jesus shares in the pain and anguish felt by many who feel forsaken or alone. This word assures us that Jesus understands our struggles and is present with us, even in our darkest moments.

5. “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

While a simple statement, Jesus’ expression of thirst reminds us of his humanity. In his suffering, Jesus experienced the physical limitations and discomforts of human existence. This word serves as a reminder of Jesus’ vulnerability and his willingness to fully embrace the human condition for the sake of humanity.

6. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

With these words, Jesus announces the completion of his earthly mission. He has accomplished what he came to do: to offer himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. This word signifies the victory of God’s love over sin and death, paving the way for reconciliation and new life.

7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

In his final word, Jesus entrusts himself completely to the Father’s will. Despite the agony of the cross, Jesus maintains unwavering faith and surrender to God. This statement serves as a model of trust and submission, encouraging us to place our lives and destinies in God’s hands.

Conclusion:

The Seven Last Words of Jesus on the cross provide profound insights into the character of Christ and the depth of God’s love for humanity. Through these words, we are reminded of the themes of forgiveness, salvation, compassion, empathy, vulnerability, victory, and trust. As we reflect on these words, may we be inspired to embody these qualities in our own lives, drawing closer to God and reflecting the love of Christ to the world.


I hope these reflections will help your encounter God retreat this Lenten Season.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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