As a person comes to the end of their life their last words, often directed to the people who are closest to them hold a lot of weight. They are memorable and poignant. As we approach this Easter season I wanted to take a couple minutes to look at the last 7 statements of Jesus on the cross. While going through a greater agony than you or I could ever imagine Jesus utters 7 things that show us who Jesus really is and what he’s all about.

As the soldiers inhumanely nailed Jesus to the cross and raised it up to the mocking cheers of the onlookers, Jesus made the first of three statements that show Jesus’ heart of compassion and mercy. “Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do.” These soldiers knew their work. What they were ignorant of was WHO they were nailing to the cross. Jesus was not a common criminal. Jesus lives out what he had spoken in the sermon on the mount, “Love your Enemies, pray for those who persecute you.” Shockingly, Jesus pleads for forgiveness for the very ones who put him there. It was not just the soldiers who put Jesus on the Cross. It was also for our sins that he hung there, and forgiveness is extended to you and me as well.

On either side of Jesus, hung 2 criminals. One mocked Jesus, the other began to see Jesus and his own life more clearly than he ever had. He recognized that both he and the other criminal completely deserved their punishment, but Jesus was innocent! He said to Jesus, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus second statement addresses the guilt of this condemned criminal, giving him assurance of salvation, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” In one of Jesus first sermons he had said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives…” (Luke 4:18).

In Jesus’ third statement He fulfills the fifth commandment. “Honor your father and mother”. Even in the throws of his agony Jesus looks outward with a heart of compassion for his mother, entrusting her into the care of John. “Woman, behold your son…(and to John) Behold your mother.” Jesus’ mother would be looked after, cared for by those closest to him in the darkest hours ahead and the weeks and years to come. In these first 3 statements the bound and guilty find freedom and hope, and those he looks on with compassion find community and care.

Jesus’ next 2 statements show his humanity. “I Thirst”. The physical toll of the crucifixion is unimaginable but this simple statement harkens back to a promise to a woman who Jesus met at a well. He told her about water that would quench the thirst in her that seemed unquenchable. She could not find satisfaction in this life, and Jesus tells her, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again.” A simple drink on the cross would not fully

satisfy Jesus in his suffering. Likewise, for us, another drink, a new relationship, a new car or home or any other pursuit won’t ever satisfy us. Jesus came to provide an eternal satisfaction.

Jesus’ 5th statement shows a depth of emotion that we have really only felt in part. A feeling of aloneness that was so deep it caused him to cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” As Jesus hung on the cross, he bore the weight of the sins of the whole world. SIN separates us from God. A perfectly Holy God cannot and will not have sin in his presence and so the Father turns his face away from his own son. Jesus endured the wrath of God on the cross for you and me. This was the first time in eternity that the relationship between Jesus and the Father was broken. Jesus’ separation, make our eternal relationship with a Holy God possible. We are reconciled to him rather than separated.

Jesus last 2 statements give us a glimpse of a heavenly plan. Jesus makes a simple statement, “It is Finished”. Finished what? Jesus is completing a preplanned work, a solution for a problem that only heaven can fix. It was a plan to save people from sin. It was the Father’s plan to send the Son. It was the Sons willingness to do the Father’s will and “finish” the work that he had set out to do. To give his own life as a perfect sacrifice for sin, once for all.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” is Jesus’ last statement from the cross. Jesus makes it clear that he willingly lays down his own life. At a very young age Jesus told his mom and dad that “He must be about his Father’s business.” He was committed to do his Heavenly Father’s will not as a helpless victim, but as a willing participant. “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down freely” Jesus said. He fully committed himself to the Father as the satisfaction for all of those who would entrust their lives to Jesus.

On the cross we see and hear Jesus’ heart of compassion as a healing Savior who extends forgiveness, mercy, and compassion to those who seem most undeserving. We see him as a human Savior who is able to sympathize with our weakness and distress but who triumphs and overcomes our human frailty. We see a heavenly Savior, willing and able to give himself as the perfect solution to the problem of sin and all its consequences. God bless this Easter as you look up at the cross and hear the Words of Jesus from the cross for you and me.

-Pastor Sean Brandow