Luke 23:34, etc. - The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

Luke 23:34, etc. - The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

There are seven sayings of Jesus uttered from the cross. They 
were spoken in the following order:  
   1. the word of forgiveness: "Father, forgive them; for they 
know not what they do" (Luke 23:34, KJV)  
   2. the word of salvation: "Today shalt thou be with me in 
paradise" (Luke 23:43, KJV) 
   3. the word of affection: "Woman, behold thy son"; "Behold 
thy mother" (John 19:26-27, KJV) 
   4. the word of despair: "My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34, KJV) 
   5. the word of physical torment: "I thirst" (John 19:28, KJV)
   6. the word of triumph: "It is finished" (John 19:30, KJV)
   7. the word of committal: "Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit" (Luke 23:46, KJV) [The One Year Bible Companion re Luke 

The seven utterances of Jesus as He hung upon the cross are 
sometimes called the Seven Words. No gospel writer mentions more than 
three, nor less than one, of these utterances. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

The Gospels report seven utterances by Jesus as He hung on the 
cross. Three of these can be assigned to the first three hours, between 
9 a.m. and 12 noon. Four can be assigned to the next three hours, 
12-3 p.m., during which the scene was shrouded in darkness.  It is 
traditional during Good Friday services to meditate on these seven 
utterances. Surely there is much here for us to ponder. [Victor Bible 
Background Commentary] 

Jesus' first and last words from the cross were a prayer to His 
Father. [Disciple SB] 

First Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

Luke 23:34a (KJV) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for 
they know not what they do.  

Heaven viewed with grief and amazement Christ hanging upon the 
cross, blood flowing from His wounded temples, and sweat tinged with 
blood standing upon His brow. From His hands and feet the blood fell, 
drop by drop, upon the rock drilled for the foot of the cross. The 
wounds made by the nails gaped as the weight of His body dragged upon 
His hands. His labored breath grew quick and deep, as His soul 
panted under the burden of the sins of the world. All heaven was filled 
with wonder when the prayer of Christ was offered in the midst of His 
terrible suffering,--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they 
do." Luke 23:34. Yet there stood men, formed in the image of God, 
joining to crush out the life of His only-begotten Son. What a sight for 
the heavenly universe!  DA760 

Jesus asked God to forgive the people who were putting him to 
death--Jewish leaders, Roman politicians and soldiers, bystanders--and God 
answered that prayer by opening up the way of salvation even to Jesus' 
murderers. The Roman centurion and soldiers who witnessed the crucifixion 
said, "Surely he was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). Soon many 
priests were converted to the Christian faith (Acts 6:7). Because we are 
all sinners, we all played a part in putting Jesus to death. The 
gospel--the Good News--is that God is gracious. He will forgive us and give 
us new life through his Son. [Life Application SB] 

Christian forgiveness is an amazing thing.... There is nothing so 
lovely and nothing so rare as Christian forgiveness. When the 
unforgiving spirit is threatening to turn our hearts to bitterness, let us 
hear again our Lord asking forgiveness for those who crucified him 
[Barclay Commentary] 

   In his book, Beneath the Cross of Jesus, A. Leonard Griffith 
tells the story of a young Korean exchange student, a leader in 
Christian circles at the University of Pennsylvania. The student left his 
apartment on the evening of April 25, 1958, to mail a letter to his 
parents. As he turned from the mailbox, he was met by eleven 
leather-jacketed teenage boys. Without a word, they beat him with a blackjack, a 
lead pipe, and their shoes and fists - and left him lying dead in the 
   All of Philadelphia cried out for vengeance. The district 
attorney planned to seek the death penalty for the arrested youth. And 
then, the following letter arrived, signed by the boy's parents and 
twenty other relatives in Korea: "Our family has met together and we 
have decided to petition that the most generous treatment possible 
within the laws of your government be given to those who have committed 
this criminal action.... In order to give evidence of our sincere 
hope contained in this petition, we have decided to save money to 
start a fund to be used for the religious, educational, vocational, 
and social guidance of the boys when they are released.... We have 
dared to express our hope with a spirit received from the gospel of 
our Savior Jesus Christ who died for our sins." 
   When you forgive, you are no longer a victim but a victor. 
[God's Little Devotional Bible] 

Today you will meet all kinds of unpleasant people; they will 
hurt you, and injure you, and insult you; but you cannot live like 
that; you know better, for you are a man in whom the spirit of God 
dwells. Others may have in their hearts the unforgiving spirit, others 
may sin in ignorance; but we know better. We are Christ's men and 
women; and we must forgive as he forgave. [Barclay Commentary] 

Second Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

Luke 23:42, 43 (KJV) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me 
when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I 
say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. 

The conversion of the thief upon the cross, which is an 
illustrious instance of Christ's triumphing over principalities and powers 
even when he seemed to be triumphed over by them. Christ was 
crucified between two thieves, and in them were represented the different 
effects which the cross of Christ would have upon the children of men, 
to whom it would be brought near in the preaching of the gospel. 
They were all malefactors, all guilty before God. Now the cross of 
Christ is to some a savour of life unto life, to others of death unto 
death. (Matthew Henry's Commentary) 

It may have been that while on the cross Jesus had taken 
occasion to acquaint them with the nature of his kingdom. While he might 
have been doing this, one of the malefactors may have continued to 
rail on him while the other became truly penitent. Such a result of 
preaching the gospel would not have been unlike what has often occurred 
since, where, while the gospel has been proclaimed, one has been "taken 
and another left;" one has been melted to repentance, another has 
been more hardened in guilt. (Barnes' Notes) 

The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus' 
followers put together. Although the disciples continued to love Jesus, 
their hopes for the kingdom were shattered. Most of them had gone into 
hiding. As one of his followers sadly said two days later, "We had hoped 
that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21). By 
contrast, the criminal looked at the man who was dying next to him and 
said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." By all 
appearances, the kingdom was finished. How awe-inspiring is the faith of this 
man who alone saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory! 
[Life Application SB] 

To add on a thought that struck me is the fact that both the 
malefactors were equidistant from Jesus and had the liberty and were not 
compelled to make their individual decision.  One chose to seek 
deliverance from temporal death and the other chose to seek deliverance from 
the second death. One was interested only in this worldly life and 
the other was interested in eternal life.  The one who was 
interested in this worldly life, if he was delivered by Jesus, would surely 
have gone back to the ways and means of life hitherto he had lived.  
But the one, who desired life eternal, knew that the first death is 
imminent and that there is no escape for anyone from it, but to die with 
Christ is also to rise with Him. Thomas Philip (Evangelist) Bangalore, 
INDIA [thomas.philip@mailcity.com] 

Third Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

John 19:26, 27 (KJV) When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and 
the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, 
Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy 
mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 

He calls her woman, not mother, not out of any disrespect to 
her, but because mother would have been a cutting word to her that 
was already wounded to the heart with grief; (Matthew Henry's 

The relationship between John and Jesus was more intimate than 
that between Jesus and the other disciples, and John could therefore 
carry out the duties of a son more faithfully than they. That Jesus 
entrusted His mother to a disciple is acknowledged as evidence that Joseph 
no longer lived, and is thought by some to indicate that Mary had 
no other sons of her own, at least in a position to care for her. 
Jesus' older brothers, sons of Joseph by a former marriage (see on 
Matt. 12:46), did not, at this time, believe in Him, and He may have 
felt that their attitude toward Mary would have been critical and 
unsympathetic, as it had been toward Him. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

In this passage there is something which is surely one of the 
loveliest things in all the gospel story. When Jesus saw his mother, he 
could not but think of the days ahead. He could not commit her to the 
care of his brothers, for they did not believe in him yet (Jn 7:5). 
And, after all, John had a double qualification for the service Jesus 
entrusted to him--he was Jesus' cousin, being Salome's son, and he was the 
disciple whom Jesus loved. So Jesus committed Mary to John's care and 
John to Mary's, so that they should comfort each other's loneliness 
when he was gone. [Barclay Commentary] 

Behold, my beloved disciple shall be to you a son, and provide 
for you, and discharge toward you the duties of an affectionate 
child. Mary was poor. It would even seem that now she had no home. 
Jesus, in his dying moments, filled with tender regard for his mother, 
secured for her an adopted son, obtained for her a home, and consoled 
her grief by the prospect of attention from him who was the most 
beloved of all the apostles. What an example of filial attention! What a 
model to all children! And how lovely appears the dying Saviour, thus 
remembering his afflicted mother, and making her welfare one of his last 
cares on the cross, and even when making atonement for the sins of the 
world! (Barnes' Notes) 

Fourth Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

Matthew 27:46 (KJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a 
loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My 
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 

Jesus was not questioning God; he was quoting the first line of 
Psalm 22--a deep expression of the anguish he felt when he took on the 
sins of the world, which caused him to be separated from his Father. 
This was what Jesus dreaded as he prayed to God in the garden to take 
the cup from him (Matthew 26:39). The physical agony was horrible, 
but even worse was the period of spiritual separation from God. 
Jesus suffered this double death so that we would never have to 
experience eternal separation from God. [Life Application SB] 

Did God actually forsake Jesus? (27:46) The divine and human 
natures of Jesus were never separated, even during the crucifixion. Yet 
it is clear, difficult as it is to explain, that Jesus' intimate 
fellowship with God the Father was temporarily broken as he took the sin of 
the entire world on himself. Jesus used the words of Psalm 22, which 
begins with despair but ends with renewed trust in God. By quoting that 
psalm, Jesus may have hinted that he knew the broken relationship with 
his Father would soon be restored. [Quest SB] 

In an awesome sense which we cannot begin to grasp the Godhead 
itself was ripped and torn, and the anguish Jesus felt was deeper and 
more real than all the anguish felt by our sin-cursed race. All this, 
all of history's sin and suffering, was suddenly, stunningly 
shouldered by the Son of God, and in the resultant sundering of that 
intimate tie that bound Father, Son, and Spirit together, Christ suffered 
more than we can ever imagine or begin to know. [Victor Bible 
Background Commentary] 

In that moment the weight of the world's sin fell upon the heart 
and the being of Jesus; that that was the moment when he who knew no 
sin was made sin for us (2Cor 5:21); and that the penalty which he 
bore for us was the inevitable separation from God which sin brings. 
No man may say that that is not true; but, if it is, it is a 
mystery which we can only state and at which we can only wonder.... That 
is a saying before which we must bow in reverence.... [Barclay 

The mystery of God the Father forsaking His only begotten Son is 
too deep for us to fathom and understand. [Wiersbe Expository 

Fifth Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

John 19:28 (KJV) After this, Jesus knowing that all things were 
now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I 

Thirst was one of the most distressing circumstances attending 
the crucifixion. (Barnes' Notes) 

It was foretold that his tongue should cleave to his jaws, . (Matthew Henry's Commentary) 

I am thirsty. The wording indicated that Jesus was fully 
conscious and was aware of fulfilling the details of prophecies. [Bible 
Knowledge Commentary] 

The fatigue which he had undergone, the grief he had felt, the 
heat of the day, and the loss of blood, were the natural causes of 
this thirst. This he would have borne without complaint; but he 
wished to give them the fullest proof of his being the Messiah, by 
distinctly marking how everything relative to the Messiah, which had been 
written in the prophets, had its complete fulfilment in him. (Adam 
Clarke Commentary) 

I thirst. The physical need of the sufferer asserted itself, the 
only outward indication he permitted to escape his lips. Even so, he 
stated a fact rather than voicing an appeal. [Wycliffe Bible 

"I thirst" spoke both of physical and spiritual agony, for 
Christ suffered the torment of hell for our sins. He thirsted that we 
might never thirst. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

Sixth Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

John 19:30 (KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, 
he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the 

"It is finished" was the shout of victory. [Scofield SB]

The sixth word or saying that Jesus spoke from the cross was a 
single Greek work which means It is finished. Papyri receipts for taxes 
have been recovered with this word written across them, meaning "paid 
in full." This word on Jesus' lips was significant. When He said, 
"It is finished" (not "I am finished"), He meant His redemptive work 
was completed. He had been made sin for people (2 Cor. 5:21) and had 
suffered the penalty of God's justice which sin deserved. [Bible 
Knowledge Commentary] 

   "It is finished" (Jn 19:30). It is finished is in English 
three words; but in Greek it is one--Tetelestai (5055-GSN)--as it 
would also be in Aramaic. And tetelestai (5055-GSN) is the victor's 
shout; it is the cry of the man who has completed his task; it is the 
cry of the man who has won through the struggle; it is the cry of 
the man who has come out of the dark into the glory of the light, 
and who has grasped the crown. So, then, Jesus died a victor with a 
shout of triumph on his lips.  
   Here is the precious thing. Jesus passed through the 
uttermost abyss, and then the light broke. If we too cling to God, even 
when there seems to be no God, desperately and invincibly clutching 
the remnants of our faith, quite certainly the dawn will break and 
we will win through. The victor is the man who refuses to believe 
that God has forgotten him, even when every fibre of his being feels 
that he is forsaken. The victor is the man who will never let go his 
faith, even when he feels that its last grounds are gone. The victor is 
the man who has been beaten to the depths and still holds on to God, 
for that is what Jesus did. [Barclay Commentary re Mat.27:45-50] 

Seventh Of The Seven Utterances Of Christ From The Cross.

Luke 23:46 (KJV) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he 
said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said 
thus, he gave up the ghost. 

The fact that Jesus dismissed His spirit is evidence that He was 
in full control of the situation.  [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

Jesus died with the words of Ps. 31:5 upon His lips. The 
attitude thus expressed brings to a sublime climax the spirit of humble 
submission to the will of the Father exemplified throughout Jesus' life on 
earth. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

Jesus died with a prayer on his lips. "Father, into your hands I 
commit my spirit." That is Ps 31:5 with one word added--Father. That 
verse was the prayer every Jewish mother taught her child to say last 
thing at night. Just as we were taught, maybe, to say, "This night I 
lay me down to sleep," so the Jewish mother taught her child to say, 
before the threatening dark came down, "Into thy hands I commit my 
spirit."  Jesus made it even more lovely for he began it with the word 
Father. Even on a cross Jesus died like a child falling asleep in his 
father's arms. [Barclay Commentary] 

   The words are from yet another psalm, Ps. 31:5, and were used 
in Israel as an evening prayer. The psalm is a beautiful expression 
of unshakable confidence. It reminds us that, although Christ 
accepted death as the Father's will, His suffering in no way threatened 
the loving bond of trust that existed between them. 
   The words of that psalm, penned by David, remind us that even 
in the darkest of times God is our refuge too. Jesus' willingness 
to suffer for us is unshakable proof that as He committed His 
spirit into the Father's hands, so can we. [Victor Bible Background 
Commentary re Mar.15:34] 

Christ's Passion:

The Cross:

The Blessed Hope: