Our Lenten small group study and sermon series will be focused on the last words of Jesus from the cross. We will hear and study the example that Jesus set as the ultimate servant-leader, showing strength in humbling himself in obedience to God to the point of death, even death on a cross. Join us starting March 1.
THE FIRST WORD
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Gospel of Luke 23:34
Jesus looked down from the cross at the people who had mocked, beaten, sentenced, deserted and denied Him. He displayed a forgiveness that is deep and wide for humanity.
THE SECOND WORD
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Gospel of Luke 23:43
One of the criminals mocked Jesus. But the criminal on the right spoke up for Jesus. All he asked was that Jesus “remember” him. And in response to his faith, Jesus opened heaven to this repentant sinner. Whereas the first word demonstrated his love and forgiveness that is wide, this second word reflects a love and forgiveness that is personal.
THE THIRD WORD
Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”
Gospel of John 19:26-27
Jesus’ servant-heart is revealed again, that even as He is dying on the cross, He makes practical provision to care for his own mother.
THE FOURTH WORD
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Gospel of Matthew 27:46 and Gospel of Mark 15:34
This is the cry from the human heart of Jesus, as He experiences the necessary and total separation from his Father and the Holy Spirit, not to mention his earthly companions. Jesus served us by willingly enduring this separation in order to be engulfed by sin and death for us.
THE FIFTH WORD
Gospel of John 19:28
The fifth word of Jesus is his only expression of the physical suffering He endured for our sake. We can also envision that He thirsted for the presence of his Father- gone for the first and only time in all eternity- as He faced his mission alone. And He thirsted for the salvation of his people.
THE SIXTH WORD
They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished;” and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
Gospel of John 19:29-30
John recalls the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 (hyssop- a small plant that was used to sprinkle the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts of the Hebrews). The innocent Lamb was slain for our sins, so that we might be forgiven. His suffering is over; his task is completed. Jesus gave his life for humanity and then handed over his spirit.
THE SEVENTH WORD
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Gospel of Luke 23:46
The seventh word of Jesus is directed to the Father in heaven, just before He dies. (see Psalm 31:5). Jesus was obedient to his Father to the end, and his final word before his death on the Cross was a prayer to his Father.