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As Christians, we often reflect on the final moments of Jesus’ life on earth. One particularly powerful aspect of this reflection centers around the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. These seven statements are often divided into four that were spoken to the world and three that were spoken to heaven. They provide a powerful insight into the heart of Jesus and the mercy and justice that he embodied.
The first saying of Jesus on the cross speaks to his mercy. As he is being crucified, he says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). This statement is a powerful example of Jesus’ compassion and forgiveness, even in the face of unimaginable suffering.
The second saying of Jesus is spoken to one of the criminals being crucified with him. This man had acknowledged his own guilt and asked Jesus to remember him when he entered into his kingdom. Jesus responds with the words, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This statement shows Jesus’ willingness to extend mercy to even the most undeserving of individuals.
The third saying of Jesus is also spoken to the world. As he hangs on the cross, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). This statement reflects Jesus’ sense of abandonment and his willingness to bear the full weight of humanity’s sin and suffering.
The fourth saying of Jesus is also spoken to the world. In John 19:26-27, Jesus addresses his mother and the disciple whom he loved, saying “Woman, behold your son!” and “Behold your mother!” This statement shows Jesus’ concern for the wellbeing of those he loves, even as he is dying.
The fifth saying of Jesus is spoken to heaven. In Luke 23:46, Jesus cries out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” This statement reflects Jesus’ trust in God, even in the face of death.
The sixth saying of Jesus is also spoken to heaven. In John 19:28, Jesus says, “I am thirsty.” This statement reflects Jesus’ humanity and his physical suffering.
The final saying of Jesus on the cross is another statement of trust. In John 19:30, Jesus says, “It is finished.” This statement reflects Jesus’ confidence that he had fulfilled his mission on earth and that his work was complete.
As we reflect on these seven sayings of Jesus on the cross, we are reminded of the mercy and justice that he embodied. We see his compassion for the undeserving, his willingness to bear the weight of sin and suffering, and his trust in God even in the face of death. These statements provide a powerful example for us as we seek to follow in his footsteps and embody his love in our own lives.