3 Things Jesus Said on the Cross (and What they Mean)

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 4.49.48 PM1. “I Thirst”

You need to know some background.

You are aware Jesus ate the Passover Seder the night before he was betrayed. (If you haven’t read my blog on that, read it HERE.)

Jewish days are different than our calendar today. They begin at sunset and last until the next sunset. Passover lasted from when they ate the meal until the sunset of the day Jesus died on the cross.

The Passover meal isn’t the only thing the Jewish people were required to do to commemorate the holiday. Every family went to the temple and sacrificed a lamb.

This sacrifice redeemed them from sin and made them right with God.

The lamb sacrifices started at 9:00 in the morning and lasted until around 3:00 in the afternoon.  It has been estimated there were as many as 40,000 lambs… an hour.

Jesus, The Lamb of God, sacrificed himself for us on the cross that very same time period.
This is no coincidence.

Around 3pm, the High Priest would sacrifice the temple lamb for all the people as the final lamb. After the last lamb was sacrificed, the high priest in front of the people would announce, “I thirst”.

This statement got people’s attention, and had them listening for his next proclamation. He would wet his lips with water, and then proclaim…

2. “It is Finished.”

Not only did Jesus say this before he gave up his spirit, but the high priest said this after the final lamb.

It signified God had accepted their sacrifice.
The people had been redeemed from sin.

3. My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

This is the most misunderstood statement Jesus said on the cross.
What it means will


Again, background first.

Jesus was a Rabbi. There was a common rabbinical teaching method where the Rabbi would state the first verse of a Psalm or chapter of the Bible. His disciples at that point were expected to catch on, and quote the rest of the verses in the chapter.

When Jesus said My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me, he wasn’t crying out because God had left him. God did not turn his back on His Son.

That would be horrible, and I’ll tell you why.

If God turned His back on His Son when he needed Him the most, he could turn His back on you when you needed him the most.

But He didn’t.
And He won’t.

He’s not that kind of God.

Our God promises to never leave or forsake us.
That promise is for us, and was for Jesus.

When Jesus cried these words, he was quoting scripture. This is unattested with Theologians all over the world. Please tell everyone you know about this, because it changes everything. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22, which is a Victory Psalm.

That’s right… a Victory Psalm.

We know he was quoting the whole Psalm because there are too many things that correspond with what Jesus had been/ was going through. And it is important to note that when David wrote this Psalm the idea of crucifixion wasn’t around yet.

Here is Psalm 22, a Psalm of David… (NIV)
(I have bolded parts that correspond with the cross, and italicized parts that proclaim victory. )

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

This Easter Season, make sure you understand what Jesus was saying to you on the cross.

I Thirst signifies the sacrifice is complete.
It is Finished means we are redeemed in and through Christ.
And My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

It is a proclamation of Victory.  HE HAS DONE IT.

9 thoughts on “3 Things Jesus Said on the Cross (and What they Mean)

    • Jessica, good eye! Actually there are seven statements recorded in the gospels that Jesus said on the cross. I just chose these three because of what they meant in parallel with the Passover. The Psalm 22 one is my favorite because it is so misunderstood. Here in Luke, Jesus is quoting Psalm 31 verse 5. The whole Psalm is a victory Psalm, and again can be related to the cross and what Jesus was going through. Thanks for pointing that out!

  1. You are right about the Ps.22. But the word forsaken in Hebrew is- permit, fortify, help #5800 and # 1219. Also in the Greek it is #1459 and # 1722 which reads
    forsake – for……sake of. during the Passover They recite Ps. 118: 7,13, 22 to mark a few.

  2. I have been studying my Jewish roots for 4 yrs now. I have been saved for 33 yrs. can’t how much I have learned in these 4 years that I didn’t know for 33yrs. I love what I learn now God’s word is so exciting. Some times I think the movies they make if they stuck to the Bible it would be great cause in most places “Truth is better than fiction”

    • I love Jewish roots stuff as well. It really does change everything! That is why I started this blog – I wanted to help make the jewish roots idea more mainstream with people. And really it is just taking history and applying it. If you haven’t already, check out my blog called “Be Cultured, Please!” It gives folks a perfect example of why its important to know context (as you well know already!).

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    • So glad you like it! Please share it with everyone – I’m writing it to share what I’ve learned! Thanks for commenting!

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