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 anguish: "My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34, KJV)
5. the word of suffering: "I thirst" (John 19:28, KJV)
6. the word of victory: "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
Jesus' first and last words from the cross were a prayer to His
Father. [Disciple SB]
FIRST UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (forgiveness).
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
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 UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (salvation).
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,
THIRD UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (affection).
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)
Jesus had been flogged and crucified. His physical suffering
was unimaginable. More than that, the world's sin was crushing him,
and God had abandoned him. Jesus was spiritually empty. But despite
all this, Jesus was concerned about his family. He instructed John
to care for Mary, Jesus' mother.
Jesus' physical and spiritual anguish was for a purpose
though. Jesus' blood and spirit would give birth to a new family - to
God's children - to the Church. Jesus would be "the firstborn among
many brothers and sisters" (Romans 8:29). The disciples were no
longer slaves, nor friends. They were brothers (John 15:15; 20:17).
Jesus had established a new family.
Our families are precious gifts from God, and we should look
after their needs in all circumstances. We should care for those who
are our family by blood and for those who are our family by the
Spirit. In doing so, we honor the work of Jesus' death. He brought us
together, people who were separated and alone. He brought us into God's
family and united us by his Spirit. "Since we are living by the Spirit,
let us follow the Spirit's leading" by caring for our families with
the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). [One Year NLT SB re John
GREAT VIDEO CLIP ON THIS 3RD SAYING OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS BY
FOURTH UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (anguish).
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
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
We have all at least thought it: My God, why have You
forsaken me? We've all come to the point where we feel like God has left
us to despair in our bad situations. Whether it's because of
medical problems, relational difficulties, or financial setbacks - we
know what it's like to feel abandoned.
Yet, for some reason, it's disturbing that Jesus said it on
the cross. Matthew 27:46 tells us, "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?'"
The word forsaken means to abandon or leave helpless. Yet,
generally, we are accustomed to hearing it in terms of God's promise to
never desert us. As Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "The LORD your God, He is
the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Therefore, because we know that God honors His promises, we
are convinced that God is never going to forsake us. And even when
it feels like God is nowhere to be found, we claim the promise and
have confidence that He is still with us.
However, when we read that Jesus said it on the cross, it's
somewhat disconcerting. Of course, we understand that Jesus had to be
crucified in order to forgive us of our sins (see Heb. 9:22); and we know
that it was excruciating for Him. Still, it was an outburst that
seems strange coming from Jesus.
Think about it: Jesus had been on the cross almost six hours.
Why did He say it just as He was about to die-when He was almost
through with the mission? After all, Jesus knew that the Father would
keep His promise to resurrect Him from the grave (see Ps. 16:10). So,
knowing the promise, and knowing the suffering would be over very soon -
why did Jesus say that God had forsaken Him? We know it couldn't be
from a lack of faith.
Sometimes in the immensity of all that happened at the cross,
we lose the small details of God's astounding plan. However, it's
important to note the exact moment when Jesus cried out.
The Mishnah, which is the oral law of the Jewish people,
reports, "The slaughter of the Passover Lamb was performed during the
ninth hour." The ninth hour. We learn that at the exact moment when
the lambs were being sacrificed in the temple, Jesus was crying out
about being forsaken.
If you've ever wondered when exactly Jesus became our sin
offering - understand that it was in that one awful, horrifying,
redeeming moment that He cried out. Because it was in that moment that He
became sin for us. As Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:21, "He made
Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the
righteousness of God in Him." In 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul confirmed, "Indeed
Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us."
In that moment, Jesus knew what it meant to be separated from
God. For the first time since before the beginning time - Jesus
didn't feel God's presence. That doesn't mean that the Godhead was
breached - Jesus was still fully God. Rather, it means that the Son
understood the poverty of being separated from the Father. The hopelessness
of it. The loneliness of it. It was the most heart-wrenching, awful
moment of His life - worse than any scourging, beating, or crucifixion.
Perhaps that was the way that Jesus best experienced what
it's like to be us - what it feels like to be a sinner - without
actually being one (see Heb. 2:14).
In that moment, Jesus felt every fear that you and I feel. He
felt the consequences of sin. He felt what it means to be forsaken -
what it means to be without God's perfect love. Perhaps that's what
is at the core of every time we feel forsaken, abandoned, enraged,
offended, and hurt: It all comes from fear. We're afraid of being left
with nothing. We're scared of being unloved and rejected. We're
terrified of dying alone. However, at the core of it all is the fear that
comes from not feeling God's perfect love.
Yet, 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect
love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears
has not been made perfect in love."
Friend, perfect love doesn't abandon you. When you experience
God's perfect love and are obedient to His will, it doesn't matter
what happens - you are fully convinced of God's provision and
Therefore, whenever you feel forsaken, remember that the
resurrected Christ knows exactly how you feel. He knows the depth of your
pain. And He did not leave you helpless to face your fears - He did
not abandon you to a life without the perfect love of God.
So, the next time you read the profound words, "My God, My
God, why have You forsaken Me?" Thank Jesus for identifying with you
in such a deep way. And realize that you can always count on Him,
because there's no situation you will face that He will not face with
you. [Life Principles SB By Charles Stanley]
FIFTH UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (suffering).
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)
The wording indicated that Jesus was fully conscious and was
aware of fulfilling the details of prophecies. [Bible Knowledge
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
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 Commentary]
"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]
One of the women who lingered at the foot of the cross had
once known thirst that ordinary water couldn't quench. She had been
an outcast among her peers, and there was no place in society for
someone like her. She had a great need, and nothing could fill the
emptiness, the void within her. Then came the day when she met Jesus.
Although her accusers had already given up on her and would readily have
stoned her, Jesus saw her need, and rather than give up on her, he
faced her accusers and saved not only her life but her soul as well.
From that moment forward, Mary Magdalene was a devoted disciple of
Christ, following him even to the foot of a brutal cross. When Jesus
cried out in thirst, the soldiers mistook it for weakness of the flesh
and thrust sour wine to his lips. What they didn't comprehend is
that Jesus' words were a declaration of his completion of his
Father's work. He was thirsty because he was being poured out as an
offering, not only for the grateful woman who knelt at his feet but also
for generations of people to come.
Jesus, you poured out your life like an offering and gave me
living water that saved and restored my soul. Help me to take that same
living water and extend it to those around me who are thirty. Please
use me to reach out to the abandoned, the scorned, the unlovable,
with your sacrificial love. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller]
I have a great need for Christ, I have a great Christ for my
need. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)
SIXTH UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (victory).
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
"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]
Until this time, a complicated system of sacrifices had atoned
for sins. Sin separates people from God, and only through the
sacrifice of an animal, a substitute, could people be forgiven and become
clean before God. But people sin continually, so frequent sacrifices
were required. Jesus, however, became the final and ultimate
sacrifice for sin. The word finished is the same as "paid in full." Jesus
came to finish God's work of salvation (John 4:34; 17:4), to pay the
full penalty for our sins. With his death, the complex sacrificial
system ended because Jesus took all sin upon himself. Now we can freely
approach God because of what Jesus did for us. Those who believe in
Jesus' death and resurrection can live eternally with God and escape
the penalty that comes from sin. [The One Year Bible Companion]
With one prophecy after another falling into place, Jesus
went to the cross and died for the sins of the world. Finally, he
said, "It is finished." God's plan, which the Bible says was put into
place before the creation of the world, was finally fulfilled. The
centerpiece of God's rescue mission was complete.
The death of Jesus is the ultimate expression of love, and
it's available to anyone who will agree to be rescued. To some, the
thought that a sacrificial death was necessary is offensive; to others,
it's everything. Paul made this message of the cross the essence of
his preaching because it's the only means of our salvation. Jesus'
death removed everything that stood between us and God so we can have
perfect fellowship with him through faith. [NIV Once A Day Bible]
"It is finished."
Stop and listen a moment. Let the words wind through your
heart. Imagine the cry from the cross. The sky is dark. The other two
victims are moaning. Jeering mouths of the crowd are silent. Perhaps
there is thunder. Perhaps there is weeping. Perhaps there is silence.
Then Jesus draws in a deep breath, pushes his feet down on that Roman
nail, and cries, "It is finished!"
What was finished?
The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The
message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on
earth were finished ... The sting of death had been removed. It was
over. from No Wonder They Call Him The Savior [Grace For The Moment SB
By Max Lucado]
Come to Me and listen! Attune yourself to My voice, and
receive My richest blessings. Marvel at the wonder of communing with the
Creator of the universe while sitting in the comfort of your home. Kings
who reign on earth tend to make themselves inaccessible; ordinary
people almost never gain an audience with them. Even dignitaries must
plow through red tape and protocol in order to speak with royalty.
Though I am King of the universe, I am totally accessible to
you. I am with you wherever you are. Nothing can separate you from My
Presence! When I cried out from the cross, "It is finished!" the curtain
of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This opened the
way for you to meet Me face to Face, with no need of protocol or
priests. I, the King of kings, am your constant Companion. (Isa. 50:4;
55:2, 3; John 19:30; Mat. 27:50, 51) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
SEVENTH UTTERANCE OF CHRIST FROM THE CROSS (committal).
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]
CLOSING PRAISE AND WORSHIP SONGS:
Were You There? by Crystal Lewis:
More Than Wonderful by Sandi Patti & Larnelle Harris:
How Great thou Art by Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill:
FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
The Last Words Of Christ On The Cross From Charles Spurgeon's