The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross

The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross

 

Luke 23:33 (ESV) ~ “And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.”

 

These are the solemn word that Luke records concerning the crucifixion of our Lord. There is no great detail, just a simple statement, “…there they crucified him…”. This was the moment in time that forever changed humanity. It was there that the sin of mankind met redemption. It was upon the cross that the holy, sinless, eternal Son of God became our sacrifice, atoning for sin.

 

As Jesus hung upon the cross for six long hours, He uttered seven statements, In the final words of Christ, just prior to His death, we get a glimpse of His compassion, His obedience, and His commitment to fallen man.

 

Three of these sayings were address to God the Father and four of them were addressed to man. As we look toward Easter, I want to spend the next several weeks examining each of the seven sayings of Christ upon the Cross.
 
 

First ~ “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

 

Luke 23:34 (ESV) ~ “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.”

 

There was the prayer for His enemies – a picture of love and forgiveness to the end. We must keep in mind that Christ was fully God and yet He was fully man. He felt the same emotions that we feel. He felt the same pain that we feel. He dealt with the same temptations that we endure. This was an unnatural request for the humanity of Christ.

 

The picture we see here is one of Jesus the Mediator. He had come for this every purpose, to stand as the Mediator between God and sinful man. Therefore, upon the cross, He prayed for those who stood below crucifying Him. As we see this very unnatural request, notice:

  • It had been prophesied that Christ would pray for transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).
  • He prayed for God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. The very purpose for His coming was to make provision for forgiveness of sins. Because of His death, God would be able to forgive the sins of men, even those who were now crucifying Him.
  • The men crucifying Him did not know what they were doing. They did not know who He was (1 Corinthians 2:8).

 

At this moment in time Christ is now limited in His ministry. I say this with all due respect, but He is no longer walking among the multitudes. He is no longer healing the sick, raising the dead, calming the storms, or expounding the Word. He is now separated from that aspect of ministry, but doing the entire will of the Father.

 

He is hanging upon the cross, beaten and bloody, but He still has power with God. He has lived a perfect life, free of sin, and He still has the ability to talk with the Father. Even though He is bound to the cross, committed unto death, Jesus still exercises the power of prayer. What a challenge and encouragement to each of us …There is power in prayer!

 
The most wonderful truth in all the world is this: God will hold no sin against any man, if that man will personally trust His Son. If God forgives the men who killed His only Son, God will forgive any man for any sin – if that man will just ask.
 
 

Second ~ “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Luke 23:43 (ESV) ~ “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.””

 

There were two malefactors, criminals, hanging upon crosses on either side of Christ, but let’s just look at the one who asked for forgiveness, the repentant thief. Here we see a picture of true repentance. This thief demonstrated the steps to salvation and true repentance.

  • He feared God (Luke 23:40).
  • He declared that Jesus was righteous (Luke 23:41).
  • He asked for Jesus to remember him (Luke 23:42).

 

Once the above was spoken by the man, Jesus didn’t hesitate or tell the man that He would consider His request or that the man needed to take other steps. He replied, “Verily I say unto thee” (KJV) or “And He said to him” (ESV). In other words, same conversation, immediately Christ spoke to the man.

 

The world makes many promises that it doesn’t have the ability or the authority to keep. Many today are looking to the ways of the world for peace and security, but Jesus is the only real assurance that we have. We are not promised tomorrow, but the saved are promised an eternal future with the Lord. There is hope in Him that the world can’t offer or take away. The redeemed can rest in full assurance that all is well with their souls. Had He not loved us and desired to provide for us, He would not have submitted to the death of the cross!

 

Third ~ “Woman, Behold Thy Son”
 

John 19:26-27 (ESV) ~ “When Jesus 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!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

 

Jesus’ thoughts are still on others, not himself. We seen in the first two saying, Jesus was thinking of forgiveness and promised redemption. This saying we see a word of provision for His mother. Every fiber of His being existed for others, not for Himself. Even in death, His mind and being were set on taking care of others.

Why did Jesus chose John for a great obligation? Faithfulness. We don’t have a record of other disciples nor Jesus’ half-brothers being there at the foot of the cross. Being there would have been at great cost. Any supporter of Jesus who stood at the cross ran the risk of ridicule and arrest. Jesus is aware of our faithfulness and He will reward us accordingly. If you want to be entrusted with the obligations of serving the Lord, you must prove yourself faithful to Him!

The Lord will never ask us to perform a task that He doesn’t equip us with the ability to perform. It may not be exactly what we envisioned or desired, but through Him we can accomplish it. We just need to submit to Him and trust Him.

Serving the Lord will cost you something. It may not necessarily create a financial burden, but it does involve sacrifice. We must be willing to sacrifice our time for the Lord. We must reach the place that we put the needs of others above our own. This is hard to do, but it is what the Lord expects.
 
 
Forth ~ “My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”
 

Mark 15:33-34 (ESV) ~ “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?””

 

Up until this point we have witnessed the awesome grace and mercy of our Lord as He prayed for forgiveness, promised salvation, and made provision for His mother.

We see in verse 33 the symbolic representation of man’s separation from darkness. This was the middle of the day, noon-time, and there is complete, absolute darkness. Why was there darkness at this time during the crucifixion? Prophecy, Mercy, Fulfillment, and Sovereignty.

We will have to look at that some other time.

 

What did Jesus mean when He cried out that God had forsaken Him?

  • Jesus did not mean the suffering and ill treatment of the cross, the suffering at the hands of men which He was going through. All through His ministry He knew suffering and foretold of suffering for His followers, even martyrdom.
  • Scripture tells us what Jesus meant:
    • He was being made sin for us.
      • 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) ~ “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
    • He was bearing our sins as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
      • Hebrews 9:13-14, 28 (ESV) ~ “For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. … so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
    • He was suffering for sin, the just for the unjust.
      • 1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) ~ “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”
    • He was bearing the curse of the law.
      • Galatians 3:13 (ESV) ~ “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us …”
    • The only thing that could have caused God to separate Himself from Christ was sin. Sin is the only thing that causes God to withdraw from anyone. Since Christ was perfect and sinless, it was not His own sin that caused God to forsake Him – it was our sin.

Take just a moment to consider what Christ bore alone. Every vile sin that had been or ever would be committed was placed upon Him at Calvary!

 
Fifth ~ “I Thirst”
 

John 19:28 (ESV) ~ “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.””

 

Thirst: an uncomfortable feeling that is caused by the need for something to drink; a strong desire for something; a craving or longing.

In saying “I thirst” Jesus was bound to be thirsty. It had been hours since He had had a drink of water. But note: the stress of Jesus’ words was not that He was physically thirsty. He was not complaining of thirst, not even asking for a drink. The stress was upon His fulfilling Scripture (Psalm 69:21)…

  • to show that Jesus was truly the Promised Messiah, the One who fulfilled Scripture.
  • to show that Jesus’ mind was set on fulfilling the Scriptures of the promised Messiah.
  • to show that Jesus had come as the Promised Messiah to do the will of God, dying as the sacrifice for man. He refused to do God’s will unthoughtfully, with deadened senses and a semi-conscious mind.
Here we have the true Living Water of God, He who created water, who turned it into wine, who offered water as the source of life and a new Water of the Holy Spirit, now suffered thirst.
 

John 4:14 (ESV) ~ “… but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

John 6:35 (ESV) ~ “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

 

After He has thirsted for forgiveness for the straying; after He has thirsted for redemption for the broken; after He has thirsted for comfort for His companions; after He has thirsted for God Himself; now Jesus can thirst for His own need. Now He can take care of Himself.

 
 

Sixth ~ “It is Finished”

 

John 19:30 (ESV) ~ “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

 

This morning we come to the greatest of these sayings. Each saying is important, and they reveal much about out Lord and redemption’s plan, but of the seven, this one rises above the rest. Here we find just prior to His death, Jesus cries, “It is Finished”.

For many who looked on that day, Jesus was a failure. Many viewed Him as a blasphemer. Others were likely disappointed and doubtful concerning Jesus. For those who looked on that day, many may have taken these words as a submission to defeat. They may have thought that Jesus had finally given in, realizing that He had failed in what He set out to do.

  • The Greek word (tetelestai) is a shout of victorious purpose. Jesus had completed His work, His mission, and His task. He was not crying the cry of a defeated martyr. He was crying the cry of a victorious conqueror. This was a word that was used in a variety of ways in that day, each use provides a beautiful example of what Jesus accomplished at Calvary!
    • A Servant’s Word – Spoken when the task had been completed.
    • A Priest’s Word – Spoken when the sacrificial animal had been inspected and found worthy. The high priest declared this at the completion of the events on the Day of Atonement.
    • An Artist’s Word – Spoken when the final touches had been made and the masterpiece was ready to present.
    • A Merchant’s Word – Spoken when all the haggling was over, a deal had been reached, and both parties were satisfied.
  • “Gave up the ghost” means that He gave up His spirit. It must always be remembered that Jesus willingly died. He willingly came to this moment of yielding and giving up His spirit unto death. Both Paul and Peter cover the Lord’s work during the three days immediately following His death until the resurrection.
    • Paul says that on the cross: “He spoiled principalities and power, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)
    • Peter says that on the cross and after death: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
    • Paul says that after death: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

 

Seventh ~ “Father, into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit”

 

Luke 23:46 (ESV) ~ “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.”

 

These were the last words that Jesus spoke before He yielded up the ghost and died. As with the first and forth saying, these last words were offered as a prayer to the heavenly Father.

These last words of Christ reveal much to us about His person, His position, His power and His provision.

Jesus is offering up a prayer to God:

  • Jesus died praying to God
  • Jesus died trusting God
  • Jesus died submitted to God
  • Jesus died honoring God

 

Christian are you living right so that you may die right? Are you living a life that honors the Lord? Surely, He deserves our submission and commitment. If there is a need, why not come today and get it settled?

 
 
Pastor Andy Lambert
{pastorandy@cvcog.church}