Together, the four gospels record seven statements of Jesus on the cross. It’s important we understand what they mean. (And so you don’t miss it, read #4 twice!).
1. “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing”.
Isaiah 53:12 says about the coming Messiah, Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus, while bearing the sin of the world, was praying for the very sinners who were causing him pain.
Jesus was physically broken and in agony, yet he was thinking of others.
The soldiers were healthy, yet they were casting lots for clothing and thinking themselves.
2. “Today, you will be with me in Paradise”.
The Greek word Paradise actually is from a Persian word meaning “a garden enclosed for a king”. This conversation shows we can’t earn our salvation by anything we do, but it is a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-10, click to read!).
3. “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
Joseph had probably passed away. Jesus, as Mary’s oldest child, would have been charged with taking care of his mother.
Again, on the cross while Jesus was covered in sin that was not his own, he was thinking of others.
4. “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”
This is the most misunderstood statement Jesus said on the cross. And what it means will
We know 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 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 a common concept 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. Click this link to read Psalm 22.
5. “I Thirst.”
Jesus ate the Passover Seder the night he was betrayed. (Read more HERE.)
Jewish days work differently than our standard calendar. They begin and end at sunset. Passover lasted from when they ate the meal at sunset until the sunset of the day Jesus was on the cross.
After eating the Passover meal and sleeping for the night, each family would go to the temple and sacrifice not a lamb as you would think, but a goat! Have you heard of the term “scape goat”? This is the second Jewish sacrifice where a goat represents taking the consequences of sin for the people.
This sacrifice of one goat per family redeemed them from sin and made them right with God.
The goat 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 goats an hour.
Jesus, the ultimate scape goat, took our sins and sacrificed himself and died on the cross that very same time period for us.
This is no coincidence.
Around 3pm, the High Priest would kill the temple goat for all the people as the final sacrifice. After the last goat 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…
6. “It is Finished.”
Not only did Jesus say this before he gave up his spirit, but the high priest said this after the final sacrifice.
It signified God had accepted the scape goat dying in place of the people.
The people had been redeemed from sin.
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Psalm 31:5 says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.”
Psalm 31 is another Psalm of encouragement. It talks about God as our refuge. (To read the whole thing, click here). It ends with, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
All seven statements Jesus said on the cross were to encourage others.
Why did you forsake me…
It is Finished.
Into your hands I commit my spirit…
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins. And the whole time he was on the cross, when he spoke, it was as an example for us.
To encourage us.
To teach us.
So I hope you will be encouraged this Easter by what God has done through His Son. Jesus wasn’t killed – he chose to die. Everything he says shows he was thinking of us while he did it.
Praise God people.
Because Jesus isn’t dead.
He is alive.