The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

The event of Jesus crucifixion is the reason Jesus came into the world. Just a few days before His crucifixion Jesus exclaimed,
John 12:27 ¶Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” But for this cause came I unto this hour?

The death of Jesus had been planned since before the world began.
1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Jesus’ death was the reason for Him coming here.
His birth from a virgin gave Him a body free from God’s curse of death on Adam’s seed.
His body enabled Him to die.
His death paid the legal penalty for sin.
His death was adequate for all men, because He was the Creator of all men.
His paying the penalty for sin enabled God to be just and yet forgive men.
His birth of the seed of David through His mother Mary made Him fit to be heir to the throne of David.
His death fulfilled the purpose for this present age which was to make a place where He could die.
We men are support players in this greatest saga of the ages.
The death of Jesus justifies God in permitting the corrution of the present order.

The day of Jesus crucifixion, like Dickens proverbial statement, was the best of times and the worst of times. This day glorious salvation in actuality was worked on the world, but this day the most cruel and wicked of actions was worked among men. The day of the crucifixion justified this present age, and gave promise of glorious days ahead, but on this day sin was at its blackest and God turned His back and turned out His light on a world plunged into the depth of sin.

The First Three Sayings Were the Man-ward Sayings of Jesus

Forgiveness for Sins of Ignorance
Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

What were they doing? They were executing a condemned man, but who was He? He was the Son of God, the One that had created the universe. They were executing a sinless man. Did they know that? No. But God has mercy on ignorant men. Christ died in order that God could have mercy on men like the ones that killed Jesus. Without Christ’s death, even ignorance was not excusable. With the blood of Christ, even sinful men can now be punished with few stripes (Lk 12:48), and God can still be just. Since Jesus has planned this event from the foundation of the world and put those men into their situation where He might be expected to have mercy, it was still hard for Him to do what He did. The pain was real. The loss was great. Death was still to be shunned.

He Demonstrated Faithful Execution of ResponsibilityJ
ohn 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Jesus’ father Joseph appears to have died between Jesus’ 12th year and his 30th, for though Mary and Jesus’ fleshly brothers appear in the gospel narrative of Jesus’ ministry (Mk 3:32), Joseph never does. Since Joseph had adopted Jesus as his own son, when Jesus died, He was legal heir to the throne of David, which, in accordance with prophecy (Amos 9:11), had fallen into serious ruin and He was supposed to raise up, but at the time of this utterance, it appeared impossible that He would fulfill this prophecy. He was not only still without the throne of David, He was dying and taking His support away from His mother. Since Jesus was the oldest son, He was responsible for supporting the family. Fittingly enough, Jesus does not transfer that responsibility of caring for His mother onto His unbelieving brethren (For not even His brothers were believing in Him—Jn 7:5). He transfers the responsibility for His mother to a fellow believer, the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus protects those that believe in Him.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, unbelievers might point to His death as a failure to fulfill many prophecies. He was no warrior king as the prophets demand. He had not restored the house of Jesse. He had not introduced freedom, peace, and prosperity to Israel, but had instead brought a sword (Mt 10:34). The peaceful Jesus brought a sword and discord among the people. The warrior Jesus with His sword brings eternal peace.

He Justified Repentant Sinners
Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
At first both thieves reviled Him, but one, witnessing the behavior of Jesus and the world plunged into supernatural darkness thought better of his behavior as he drew closer to having to face God.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day [Now/As of this time] shalt thou be with me in paradise.

This thief was dying and Jesus was dying, but this dying thief has faith enough to say, “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” The thief said this in the face of the fact that all of Jesus disciples forsook Him and fled, and none of them was around the cross but Jesus’ mother and John. The thief made this statement in the face of the fact that both he and Jesus were dying, and the only way for Jesus to fulfull the thief’s request was for both of them to rise from the dead. The thief’s faith shows the truthfulness of Jesus’ statement, “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Mt 21:31).

While Jesus, an innocent man, was dying, He had room in His heart for the plight of others. He was not wrapped up in bitterness and self-pity like so many become when calamity comes their way. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and He had time for sinners as He died on the cross. Jesus died to save sinners (I Ti 1:15), the sinners of the whole world (II Co 5:14-15). That was the reason He came into the world. God prepared a body for Him (Heb 10:5) in the womb of Mary in order that Jesus, the creator of men, might die for His creation, but not all will be saved, for God also gave men free will, and some exercise that free will to disobey God.

What is “today”? And where is Paradise?
Jesus’ statement about Paradise has caused a great deal of confusion because people think Jesus meant He was going to heaven when He died. However, Peter says that Jesus went to Hades (Sheol) after His death (Acts 2:27). Is Paradise in Hades? Hades is the dark and gloomy (Micah 7:8, Isaiah 42:7) unseen place of the dead (1 Pe 3:19) located in the nether parts of the earth (definition of Sheol, H7587, Strong’s). Paradise is in the City of God, New Jerusalem. After Jesus arose from the dead, He said He had not yet ascended to His Father who is where Paradise is, so Jesus did not go to Paradise when He died. If Jesus did not go His Father, neither did the thief. What, then, did Jesus promise? Obviously, Jesus promised the thief that the thief would go to Paradise “today”, but what does “today” mean? To harmonize Jesus’ statement with what happened, “today” must mean “now”, “now you will be with me in Paradise”. Because of the thief’s belief, at that time salvation had come to the thief, and He would be with Jesus in Paradise at some future time.

Salvation by faith only? Many people teach this, but the thief died under the Law of Moses. Jesus did not give His law until the day of Pentecost when He told believers to “repent and be baptized for remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Salvation is not by anything “only” (James 2:24). Many things work together to accomplish salvation—faith, repentance, confession, the blood of Christ, the grace of God. The salvation of the thief was Jesus acting as the Son of God. As God in the flesh, Jesus forgave several people during His ministry ( to show that He was the Son of God. He did no more on this occasion than He had done on several others. When Jesus arose from the dead He ascended back to the Father. Then He was given all power in heaven and on earth (Dan 7:13-14). By that authority He now commands men to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 10:48). Baptism is Christ’s command to us that saves us (1 Pe 3:21), puts us into Christ (Rom 6:3), and makes us to walk in a newness of life (Rom 6:4).

As He tells us to do, Christ is looking beyond the present time to the glory that shall be revealed. This life is not all there is. All debts are not settled today.

The Last Four Sayings Were the God-ward sayings of Jesus on the Cross:

Jesus Offered An Eternal, Once-For-All Sacrifice for Sin
Matthew 27: 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This dark and evil day was the culmination of God’s purpose for this world to create a sacrifice and remedy for sin, this despairing cry of Christ was recognition of His payment for sin and His thereby suffering an eternal loss. At this hour Jesus gave up forever complete equality with God. Christ’s humiliation extends through eternity where He Himself is eternally subject to God (1 Cor 15:28). God accepted His sacrifice where Jesus was made to be sin for us (2 Co 5:21), and raised Him up from complete separation from God to be God’s Chief ruler (Php 2:9). Jesus took our stripes upon Himself (Isa 53:5). The alienation from God that was justly ours, He, as our creator bore for us.

Christ’s Ultimate Concern For God’s Word
Luke 23:44 ¶And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

The prophecy Jesus was concerned about was:
Psalms 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Notice it was not Jesus’ thirst that concerned Him, but God’s word. His own desires, yes, even His needs, were secondary to honoring God’s will even when death was imminent.

While He was dying, He was still concerned that God’s word be true. Mere moments before His death, He fulfilled a pending prophecy that God may be true.

This Life is Not All There Is
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Death is the separation of the body and the spirit. When Jesus died, His body was dead, because His spirit left it (Jas 2:26). His spirit, however, did not cease to exist. The spirit is eternal, because it is made in the image of God (Gen 9:6). At death, the spirit leaves the body, and thereafter continues to exist in a state of awareness (Lk 16:22-31). Annihilation of the spirit and soul sleep at death are both wrong (Rev 6:10, 1 Sam 28:14-19).

Peter says Jesus spirit then went to Hades (Acts 2:27). Jesus’ faith sustained Him in the hour of the valley of the shadow of death, He did not fear evil (Ps 23:4).

By His death, Jesus paid the price for sin, and satisfied God’s sense of justice. Because Christ died the death men could not die because their death is obligated, and because He was Creator of all men, and because He was sinless, His death was necessary and sufficient for all men of all ages. The continuity of Jesus with His creation is not only necessary for men who died before He was born, but it is necessary for all those who might sin in the world to come.

Jesus’ Death Created a Solution for Sin and Finished the Creation
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Many guesses have been made regarding what Jesus meant by this statement, because no one knows for sure what is the antecedent of “it”. That thought was locked inside Jesus’ head, and He did not tell us. In my opinion, He meant that by His death the creation was finished, for by His death He created an entirely new thing—an eternal solution for sin. The creation was finished when Jesus laid the capstone of Himself, the Creator, dying for His creation.

Jesus’ utterances as He hanged dying on the cross give great insight into the pure soul of the Lamb of God dying for the sins of the world. Thanks be to God that He willing to send His Son to die the death we could not die and thanks be to Jesus the Messiah for being willing to be the Lamb of God.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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