Jesus faced the cup of God’s wrath upon sin on that hideous cross. It is incredible to consider all that He endured in those 18 hours. The physical suffering was horrific but the spiritual war within the three hours of darkness is something we cannot comprehend. In those three hours, when utter darkness engulfed the cross, Jesus faced the sins of the world placed upon Him. Hell was unleashed to vent its furry against the Son of God.
The final words of a dying loved One are most precious. We recall them at our moments of trial, discouragement or challenge; seeking strength, encouragement and even direction from them. Jesus spoke seven times during the closing moments on the Cross. Before the darkness descended on the scene, Jesus spoke three times. During the darkness, He spoke once. And after the darkness had passed, He uttered three more sentences of love. The seven utterances of Jesus from the cross, the seven `Words' as they are known are of eternal significance to those who listen to them, a heroic confrontation of evil inspiring millions the world over. When we examine what our Savior exclaimed on the cross, we can learn about His true character and His integrity before the Father. We can see the love that pours out from His wounds, directed at us! Neither the heat, nor the sweat mixed with the blood, nor the agony and emotional distress distracted Him from having you and me on His mind that day. From these Seven Words of Jesus we can draw strength and courage for our own walk on this earth as we follow His call to be His disciples. He suffered the extreme penalty of death that we may live! The words which Jesus uttered on the Cross are worthy of special consideration because of who uttered them, where they were uttered, why they were spoken, and what they mean. They are precious because they are deep expressions of the Eternal son of God in His time of terrible agony in those moments when He actually paid the price for our redemption.
The gospel writers simply wrote "They crucified Jesus". Who crucified him? It would be truer to say "We crucified the Lord". Every one of us is equally guilty, "They do not know what they do" said Jesus. What a perceptive word this is. Mankind had become so blinded by evil, so corrupted by sin that it reacted violently to the purity and holiness of God as shown in the Lord Jesus Christ. The wonder of this Word from the Cross is that there is forgiveness for the disciples who forsook Jesus and fled in the night, Forgiveness for the evil ones who drove Him to the Cross, Forgiveness for the soldiers who nailed him to the tree, Forgiveness for the bitter hearts of his religious enemies, the priests and teachers, Forgiveness for every person who has ever sinned or made a mistake. Bible says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
No man is beyond hope of redemption in whose soul still lingers some fear of God. And as he spoke, faith rose in his soul and he blurted out his appeal, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." It was a plea that did not fall on deaf ears. The response was immediate, "Truly, I tell you, and today you will be with me in Paradise." The word "Paradise" is a Persian word meaning "a walled garden". When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a “companion of the garden” and he was chosen to walk in the royal garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven. "You will be with me" said Jesus. This word from the cross teaches some wonderful truths.
The Second Word from the Cross ministered salvation to the penitent sinner, but the Third Word introduces us to the wider implications of this great salvation. It illuminates relationships as seen through the cross of Jesus, especially that of love. A psychologist once said, "there are two things that men want: power and love." At the very heart of all our wanting is the love that Jesus gave us on the cross. The disciple that Jesus refers to in his word is John, and his gospel contains several of the most important statements that Jesus made on love. "Greater love has no one than this that one lays down his life for his friends" (15:13). "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (3:16).
This Third Word from the Cross also reveals the relationship of Jesus with his disciple John, the one who had been closest to him. It didn’t require a long explanation for John to know what was meant. We read that from that hour John took Mary into his own home. The question might be raised, "But why was not Mary committed into the care of one of her other children?" The answer is probably because they as yet hadn’t received him by a living faith. John was ready and acted without hesitation. It has been said that this Word from the Cross is the least theological, but practical application of the gospel must never be separated from its message. It is only as theory is translated into practice that relationship with Christ becomes a living reality. This Word tells us that there’s love for you in the cross, and it’s a love which having been received, is to be shared with others.
The hours of torture on the Cross took a tremendous toll on the body of Jesus. Execution by crucifixion was not a sudden death like being shot by a firing squad. It was a long drawn out, lingering death carried out under the Eastern sun. His wounded hands and feet would be quickly inflamed, resulting in a fever of thirst and His body would soon be dehydrated. The prophetic 22nd Psalm which anticipated our Lord’s passion speaks graphically of his condition, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth" (14,15). Yes, our Saviour’s sufferings were real. Although Jesus was divine he was also uniquely man and felt all the emotions and pain as we feel them. Jesus refused the initial drink of vinegar, gall and myrrh (Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23) offered to alleviate his suffering. But here, several hours later, we see Jesus fulfilling the messianic prophecy found in Psalm 69:21. As I reflect on Jesus’ statement, “I am thirsty,” I keep thinking of my own thirst. It’s nothing like that of Jesus. Rather, I am thirsty for him. My soul yearns for the living water that Jesus supplies (John 4:10; 7:38-39). I rejoice in the fact that he suffered physical thirst on the cross – and so much more – so that my thirst for the water of life might be quenched. This Fifth Word from the Cross serves to tell us that there is suffering in the Cross.
Jesus knew he was suffering the crucifixion for a purpose. Earlier he had said in John 10:18 of his life, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." These three words were packed with meaning, for what was finished here was not only Christ's earthly life, not only his suffering and dying, not only the payment for sin and the redemption of the world—but the very reason and purpose he came to earth was finished. His final act of obedience was complete. The Scriptures had been fulfilled.
For six hours Jesus had been hanging on the Cross, and now we get a last look at His suffering face. His whole body is drooping and shivering with the last chill. His breath is growing feebler and feebler – until He gives one long, deep, last sigh – “Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”Here Jesus closes with the words of Psalm 31:5, speaking to the Father. We see his complete trust in the Father. Jesus entered death in the same way he lived each day of his life, offering up his life as the perfect sacrifice and placing himself in God's hands. Jesus was always submitting Himself to God, and when He died, He died just as He had lived. Jesus commits his eternal souls to the Father, which meant submitting and humbling Himself unto death, even death on a cross. Jesus saw His physical life on earth as a clear mission directed from Heaven. He used His life on earth and did not allow Himself to be used or manipulated by anything, including the fleshly temptations He faced. This is why in His death He entrusted Himself to the Father. We too are told to “Commit our way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.” like Stephen in Acts 7 cry with his last breath, “Lord Jesus receives my spirit.”On the cross Jesus demonstrated loving discernment of human ignorance, selfless concern for a fellow sufferer, filial care, intimate relationship with God, acute deprivation, disciplined obedience to the will of God, and the unquestioning dedication of oneself to God.
The followers of Jesus believe that He rose from the dead on the third day. Instead of debating this it would be well to consider the magnificent role model on the cross who reaches out to every man and woman on this planet and teaches that the only way to peace despite our sufferings is virile obedience to the will of God.
The First Word from the Cross begins with Jesus addressing His Father - "Father forgive" and now it begins the last. God, the Father, had accepted the sin offering made by Jesus, as would soon be demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead. Jesus had come from his Father and to his Father he would return, but first he had to die physically. These words tell us that his life didn’t just ebb away - in fact Jesus had previously said that no one could take his life "but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father" (John 10:18). And so it was that Jesus consciously gave his life. He laid it upon the altar, just as the burnt offering of the Old Testament which had spoken
The single most valuable Prayer you can pray from the depth of your heart to God is: Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner I believe that Lord Jesus Died for my Sins, Thank you for taking all of my sin upon yourself on the cross. I want to receive your forgiveness and enter into a relationship with you. I ask you to come into my life as my Savior and Lord, to be my God from this day forward, and to make me into the person you've intended me to be.