The hours that Jesus hung on the cross must have been excruciating, beyond our capacity to imagine. As He hung there, the life slowly oozing out of Him, Jesus spoke several times, seven to be exact. The various Gospels each record at least one of those phrases, yet none of them include all of them.
Scholars and theologians have taught, studied and debated these last words of Jesus for centuries. The consensus lists these words or phrases as follows
It’s fitting that the first two of these last words encapsulates what Jesus was accomplishing on the cross, forgiveness, as He asked the father to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross. The second, spoken to one of the thieves crucified alongside Jesus, promises salvation.
Jesus then turned his eyes to those who came to stand with Him, among them His mother Mary and the disciple “whom Jesus loved.” Jesus made sure that Mary would be cared for in His absence by instructing John to watch over her.
As the pain became nearly unbearable and creation itself shuddered and the sky turned black, Jesus felt His Father’s eyes turn away from Him and cried out in agony. Then, as if to one last time acknowledge His humanity and physical needs, Jesus admitted His thirst.
Finally, as His spirit was about to leave His body Jesus announced that this portion of His mission was over and that He would soon be in the presence of the Father.
During this Holy Week I’ll be sharing the scripture passages which contain these seven words in Middays Prayer Time, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM.
Mon 04/15 Luke 23:33 – 43
Tue 04/16 John 19:25b – 27
Wed 04/17 Matthew 27:45 – 47
Thu 04/18 John 19:28 – 30
Fri 04/19 Luke 23:44 – 47
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