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Jesus' Seven Last Words on the Cross

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Series 2 of 3

By Pastor Jarrel S. Sena

3. A Word of Compassion

When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother,“Woman, behold, your son!” Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

(John 19:26-27 NASB)

The disciple mentioned here is John the Apostle. Apparently, he was there when Jesus was dying. The third saying of our Lord is a word of compassion for Mary, His earthly mother. This begs the question, "Why did Jesus entrust Mary to His disciple knowing that He had siblings?" Based from Mark 6:3, Mary had other children aside from Jesus. These half-brothers and half-sisters were skeptic about Jesus' messianic claims (John 7:1-5). They even went on to believe that He had lost His mind (Mark 3:21). However, His brothers eventually followed Him after His resurrection (Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:7).

Nevertheless, Jesus did not entrust Mary to His siblings but to His dear apostle. It is probable, that Mary was already a believer to our Lord when the crucifixion occurred. The skeptical siblings of our Lord could have displayed indifference toward her. To address this issue, Jesus put Mary into the care of the Apostle John.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and as He is, our Lord will care for His own. Mary being His follower, aside from the fact that she is His earthly mother, needs care and attention since He will be leaving our world soon.

Jesus cares for His followers. In fact, for Him, those who hear and do God's word are His true relatives (Luke 8:19-21). The concern of our Lord for His flock is ultimately demonstrated by His dying on our behalf. At the cross, Jesus took the penalty for our sins securing our salvation and rescuing us from the divine wrath we deserve. Our Lord's eagerness to provide for Mary is also true for Christians today. Let this wonderful truth brings us comfort and peace amidst the crisis we are currently facing.

4. A Word of Abandonment

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?”

(Matthew 27:46 NASB)

Spoken in Aramaic, the fourh word of our crucified Savior speaks about the abandonment of God the Father at that point in time. This concept might be difficult for us to grasp because Matthew introduced Jesus as God's Son whom the Father is well-pleased (Matthew 3:17). He is innocent from any sin because He is the Holy One of God (Mark 1:23-24; John 6:68- 69). Whatever Jesus does pleases the Father because there is no sin it. But when Jesus was crucified, God has forsaken Him.

The prophet Isaiah described the Messiah in these words, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through forour transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." (Isaiah 53:4-6 NASB) Jesus took our sins on the cross. He became the sin-bearer of God's chosen people. He experienced God's divine wrath while He was hanging on a tree, virtually half-naked. The Father was not able to look at His Son because He bore the sins of the many as well as their punishment. In Galatians 3:13, Jesus became a curse for His sheep. 2 Corinthians 5:21, God imputed our sin to Jesus so that by believing in Him His righteousness would be imputed to us.

This doctrine of imputation (God imputing to the repentant sinner Jesus' righteousness by faith in Him) is the reason why those who believe in our Lord will never end up in Hell. Jesus took their sins when He died on the cross. On the other hand, people who remain unrepentant of their sins and withheld their faith to the Lord Jesus will experience God's full wrath in eternal flames.

5. A Word of Fulfillment

"I thirst." (John 19:28 NASB)

This fifth word of Christ on Calvary can be better understood if we read the entire passage: After this, Jesus,knowing that all things had already been accomplished,to fulfill the Scripture, *said,“I am thirsty.” Jesus is fulfilling messianic prophecies during His crucifixion. Psalm 69:21 may be in view here, “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” We know this because as according to John 19:29 the soldiers gave Jesus a sour wine.

In fact, the previous words of Jesus are also in fulfillment of OT prophecies:

The first saying is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12, "Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors..."

The fourth saying fulfills Psalm 22:1a, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

The fifth saying is the realization of Psalm 69:21.

Jesus' life and ministry were guided by OT prophecies of the coming Savior. From His birth to His resurrection, and even in-between these two, our Lord is consummating prophetic texts about the Messiah of Israel. Considering this truth we can declare that Jesus is never a victim when the death sentence was given that very day. The manner of death is also mentioned in OT messianic texts (Psalm 22:1, 16-18). Even at His most agonizing moment, Jesus is still in control.

Moreover, if Jesus was in control at the moment of His pain and suffering, He is much more in control today as He is seated at the right hand of the Father. No matter what is going on around us, the followers of our Lord can take comfort that He is in Heaven sustaining His church.

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