Luke 23:34, etc. - The Seven Sayings of Christ from the Cross.
Luke 23:34, etc.: The Seven Sayings of Christ from the Cross.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
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 SAYING 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]
SECOND SAYING 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)
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]
THIRD SAYING 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.
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 SAYING 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]
FIFTH SAYING 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
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
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. [Praying Through The Bible By
SIXTH SAYING 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
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 Gods justice which sin
deserved. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]
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]
SEVENTH SAYING 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.
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 Fathers will, His suffering in no way threatened the
loving bond of trust that existed between them. [Victor Bible
Background Commentary re Mar.15:34]
CLOSING PRAISE AND WORSHIP SONG:
More Than Wonderful by Sandi Patti & Larnelle Harris:
FURTHER STUDY ON THIS SUBJECT:
The Last Words Of Christ On The Cross From Charles Spurgeon's