THE SEVEN WORDS OF JESUS ON THE CROSS
THE FIRST WORD
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Jesus says this first word only in the Gospel of Luke, just after he was crucified by the soldiers on Golgotha, with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. The timing of this suggests that Jesus asks his Father to primarily forgive his enemies - Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin; Pontius Pilate and Herod; and the soldiers who have scourged him, mocked him, tortured him, and who have just nailed him to the cross. But could this not also apply to his Apostles and companions who have deserted him, to Peter who has denied him three times, to the fickle crowd, who only days before praised him on his entrance to Jerusalem, and then days later chose him over Barabbas to be crucified? Could this not also apply to us, who daily forget him in our lives?
Does he react angrily? No, he asks his Father to forgive them, because they are ignorant! At the height of his physical suffering, his Divine love prevails and He asks His Father to forgive his enemies.
Right up to his final hours on earth, Jesus preaches forgiveness. He teaches forgiveness in the Lord's prayer: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Matthew 6:12). At the Last Supper, Jesus explains his crucifixion to his Apostles when he tells them to drink of the cup: "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:27-28). And even following his Resurrection, his first act is to commission his disciples to forgive: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:22-23).
THE SECOND WORD
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Now it is not just the religious leaders or the soldiers that mock Jesus, but even one of the criminals, a downward progression of mockery. But the criminal on the right speaks up for Jesus, explaining the two criminals are receiving their just due, and then pointing to Jesus, says, "this man has done nothing wrong." Then, turning to Jesus, he asks, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). What wonderful faith this repentant sinner had in Jesus. Ignoring his own suffering, Jesus mercifully responds with His second word.
The second word again is about forgiveness, this time directed to a sinner. Just as the first word, this Biblical expression again is found only in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus shows his Divinity by opening heaven for a repentant sinner - such generosity to a man that only asked to be remembered!
THE THIRD WORD
"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son".
Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."
Jesus and Mary are together again, at the beginning of his ministry in Cana and now at the end of his public ministry at the foot of the Cross. What sorrow must fill her heart, to see her Son mocked, tortured, and now just crucified. There are four at the foot of the cross, Mary his Mother, John, the disciple whom he loved, Mary of Cleopas, his mother's sister, and Mary Magdalene. His third word is addressed to Mary and John, the only eye-witness of the Gospel writers.
But again Jesus rises above the occasion, and his concerns are for the ones that love him. The good son that He is, Jesus is concerned about taking care of his mother. In fact, this passage offers proof that Jesus was the only child of Mary, because if he did have brothers or sisters, they would have provided for her. But Jesus looks to John to care for her. His father and brothers are noticeably absent. The historic paintings by Michelangelo and Raphael, suggest Joseph was a considerably older man. Joseph had probably died by the time of the crucifixion, and his brothers were deserters, or else he would have been the one to take care of Mary.
THE FOURTH WORD
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
This is the only expression of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Both Gospels relate that it was in the ninth hour, after 3 hours of darkness that Jesus cried out this fourth word. The ninth hour was three o'clock in Palestine. Just after He speaks, Mark relates with a horrible sense of finality, "And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last" (Mark 15:37).
One is struck by the anguished tone of this expression compared to the first three words of Jesus. This cry is from the painful heart of the human Jesus who must feel deserted by His Father and the Holy Spirit, not to mention his earthly companions the Apostles. As if to emphasize his loneliness, Mark even has his loved ones "looking from afar," not close to him as in the Gospel of John. Jesus feels separated from his Father. He is now all alone, and he must face death by himself. But is not this exactly what happens to all of us when we die? We too will be all alone at the time of death! Jesus completely lives the human experience as we do, and by doing so, frees us from the clutches of sin.
His fourth Word is the opening line of Psalm 22, and thus his cry from the Cross recalls the cry of Israel, and of all innocent persons who suffer. Psalm 22 of David made a striking prophecy of the crucifixion of the Messiah, at a time when crucifixion did not exist: "They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones" (22:16-17). The Psalm continued: "they divide my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots" (22:18).
There cannot be a more dreadful moment in the history of man as this moment. Jesus who came to save us is crucified, and He realizes the horror of what is happening and what He now is enduring. But it is only for a moment. The burden of all the sins of humanity for a moment overwhelms the humanity of our Jesus.
But does this not have to happen? Does this not have to occur if Jesus is to save us? It is in defeat of his humanity that the Divine plan of His Father and Himself will be completed. It is by His death that we are redeemed. "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all" (l Timothy 2:5-6).
THE FIFTH WORD
The fifth word of Jesus is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll, especially after losing blood on the three-hour walk through the city of Jerusalem to Golgotha on the Way of the Cross. Jesus did not utter these words to fulfill scripture, nor even to appeal for pity. Least of all was it a half-crazed cry that agony caused his lips to speak. Jesus was fully conscious of saying this word, as he gives us a reminder that, despite being God, he was indeed true man.
THE SIXTH WORD
When Jesus had received the wine, he said,
"It is finished"; and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
The sixth word is Jesus' recognition that his suffering is over and his task is completed. Jesus was obedient to the Father and gave his love for mankind by redeeming us with His death on the Cross.
What was the darkest day of mankind became the brightest day for mankind. No wonder we call it, “Good Friday.” Good for us, not for Jesus.
When Jesus died, He "handed over" the Spirit. Jesus remains in control to the end, and it is He who handed over his Spirit. One should not miss the double entendre here, for this may also be interpreted as His death brought forth the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of John gradually reveals the Holy Spirit. Jesus mentions living water in John 4:10-11 when he met the Samaritan woman at the well and during the Feast of Tabernacles refers to living water as the Holy Spirit in 7:37-39. At the Last Supper, Christ announced he would ask the Father to send "another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth" (14:16-17). The word Advocate is also translated as Comforter, Helper, Paraclete, or Counselor. "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you" (14:26). The symbolism of water and the Holy Spirit become more evident in John 19:34: "But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water." The piercing of his side fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah 12:10: "They will look on me whom they have pierced." The piercing of Jesus' side prefigures the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper (blood) and Baptism (water).
THE SEVENTH WORD
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit":
The seventh word of Jesus is from the Gospel of Luke, and is directed to the Father in heaven, just before He dies. Jesus recalls Psalm 31:5 - "Into thy hands I commend my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God." Luke repeatedly pleads Jesus' innocence: with Pilate (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22), the criminal (Luke 23:41), and immediately after His death with the centurion. "Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, "Certainly this man was innocent" (Luke 23:47).
John's Gospel relates that it was the Day of Preparation, the day before the actual Passover (Pesach in Hebrew, Pascha in Greek and Latin), that Jesus was sentenced to death (19:14) and sacrificed on the Cross (19:31). He died at the ninth hour (three o'clock in the afternoon); about the same time as the Passover lambs were slaughtered in the Temple. Christ became the Paschal or Passover Lamb, as noted by St. Paul: "For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7). The innocent Lamb was slain for our sins, so that we might be forgiven.
Jesus fulfilled His mission: "They are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (Romans 3:24-25). The relationship of Jesus to the Father is revealed in the Gospel of John, for He remarked, "The Father and I are one" (10:30), and again, at the Last Supper: "Do you not believe I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works" (14:10). And He can now return: "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father" (16:28). Jesus practiced what He preached: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Traditionally, these seven sayings are called words of 1. Forgiveness, 2. Salvation, 3. Relationship, 4. Abandonment, 5. Distress, 6. Triumph and 7. Reunion. What better reminder do we have of the stages of our Christian lives!
THE FACTS OF CRUCIFIXION
Crucifixion is said to be the cruelest, most painful, wretched, and inhumane form of punishment ever devised in the history of mankind. And Jesus willingly went to the cross for you—because of you.
Often crucifixion or artistic presentations of Jesus on the cross portray a clean white body, arms outstretched, hands and feet securely affixed with nails, the body displayed in a visually inoffensive pose. In reality, Jesus’ body would have been torn from the scourging, covered with blood, and twisted into a visually offensive posture by its attachment to the cross.
Why is Jesus on the cross pictured in an almost sterile manner? Perhaps it is because we do not want to face the reality that humanity rejected the Son of God and perpetrated such a cruel death.
Romans put crucifixion first (worst) in their list of approved forms of the death penalty. Other acceptable and frequently practiced forms of capital punishment included burning, decapitation, and exposure to wild beasts. The Romans, though disgusted with the horrifying cruelty of crucifixion, took it for granted that criminals had to be executed in this manner. Crucifixion was widespread and frequent in the ancient world, but the cultured literary world wanted little or nothing to do with it and as a general rule kept quiet about it. This is one of the leading reasons so little is seen about crucifixion in ancient literature.
Roman-era crosses consisted of two pieces of rough unfinished wood. Because lumber most likely was of great value in the Near East, it can be assumed that each piece was used for numerous crucifixions. The two pieces of wood consisted of the upright post (stipes) and the horizontal crossbeam (patibulum). These were not finished pieces of wood and may have resembled railroad ties. The stipes of the “Latin cross” extended well beyond the victim’s head, while that of the “tau cross” extended only a short distance beyond the crossbeam. It is believed that the tau cross was the type used in Palestine during the period of Christ’s crucifixion.
A banner (titulus), carried by one of the Roman guards from the crucifixion detail, announced the offenses or crimes of the condemned man. The titulus was affixed to the extension of the stipes beyond the patibulum at the time of the crucifixion. In Jesus’ case, this titulus announced Jesus’ offenses in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek—at that time the three primary languages of the land.
The stipes most likely remained at the place of the crucifixion permanently. It had to be secured sufficiently so it remained upright while a man was hung on it, writhing in pain, struggling to free himself. It is believed that the patibulum, which weighed approximately one hundred pounds, was the only part of the cross to be transported by the condemned victim to the place of death. After being scourged or beaten, the patibulum would be placed across the top of the victim’s shoulders. His arms and hands, outstretched in a manner similar to being crucified, were tied to the crossbeam with ropes. Then the centurion and the Roman crucifixion detail would lead the victim through the streets (often up to 3 miles) for all to see. If the victim fell during this procession, he could not protect himself with his hands, so he would fall to the ground face first, the weight of the crossbeam pushing down on his head, neck, and upper back.
Death came slowly and with a great deal of pain and suffering. Roman executioners became experts in the process of scourging and honed the art of causing the most pain over the longest period of time. The norm for crucifixion, and most other capital punishments, included scourging (flogging or beating) beforehand. Then the victim was forced to carry the crossbeam, and sometimes the entire cross, to his place of crucifixion. The form of execution varied considerably, depending on the whim of the executioner. Crosses and victims could be positioned in many different ways: some victims were crucified upside-down with their heads toward the ground (Peter), while some were suspended in awkward forms. Often victims were tortured immediately before crucifixion and subjected to sadistic practices and verbal humiliation while hanging on the cross. Sometimes bodies were burned at sundown as human torches for all to see. At other times, bodies were left hanging for days. After death, the remains were thrown into open pits without burial.
The Process of Crucifixion
What actually happens to a person’s body in the process of dying on a cross? How did Jesus suffer? How cruel was the experience of crucifixion?
Prior to being led to crucifixion, a criminal is traditionally beaten or flogged naked facing a large pillar. A flagrum, a device with a short, wooden handle with leather thongs two to three feet long is used to then scourge the back, neck, buttocks, and legs. Sharp sheep bones and metal balls were attached to the ends of the leather thongs. The metal balls peppered the skin, while the bones would dig into welts and rip open skin. With each lash, skin would be shredded.
Following His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was taken before the Jewish Sanhedrin and accused of crimes against Jewish Law and treason against Rome. During his trials, Jesus was beaten on the head and lashed with reeds. He was blindfolded, given a purple robe and scepter, mocked, and spat upon. With Jesus, the Romans reveled in the chance to humiliate the Jews. The soldiers then placed a crown of thorns on Christ’s head.
Upon arriving at Golgotha (the site of the crucifixion), Jesus was thrown on top of his crossbeam (patibulum), which would have been placed on the ground after being carried to the site by Simon of Cyrene. This action would have forced acidic dirt into the wounds on Jesus’ back, head, and legs, causing his blood to coagulate, harden, and dry. The crown of thorns would have been forced deeper into His scalp, creating excruciating pain and further bleeding.
Large nails about five to seven inches long and an inch in diameter (similar to railroad spikes) would have been driven through the wrists (considered by the Romans to be part of the hand), between the bones of the wrist and the end of the forearm’s radial bone. The placement of these spikes was intended to pass through, or crush, the nerves without disrupting the blood vessels. Placing a nail at the hollow area in the wrist would not break any bones and would provide full weight-bearing ability. The nail would have crushed, or partially severed, the median nerve, causing intense and continuous pain. The nail used to affix the feet would have been the same length as those in the wrists and would have been placed as strategically as they were. The nail would have passed between the second and third tarsal bone and no damage to arterial blood flow would have occurred from spikes driven into the body in this area. Thus rapid blood loss was avoided, serving to prolong the agony of crucifixion. If nails were placed correctly, there would be no need for ropes tied around to support the arms, legs, and body. As with the arms, the damage to the nerves of the feet would have created lightning-bolt flashes of pain along the entire length of Jesus body. His weight and any movement around the square nails would intensify the pain.
The Romans used the act of crucifixion as a show of force and deterrent to crime and rebellion. The victim’s body would hang on the cross anywhere from three hours to three days, even after death occurred. The victims were suspended off the ground on a high point in the city or along a busy road so citizens and those passing by would witness this demonstration of force and intimidation. The Romans were already frustrated with the activity of the Jews, and when they had a chance to demonstrate power of a man called “the King of the Jews,” the Romans held back nothing. The Romans were experts at crucifixion and knew how to cause the most pain with the least amount of blood loss, making this the most painful and drawn-out process of humiliation, suffering, and death imaginable.
Breathing on the Cross
The greatest impact of crucifixion was on the victim’s breathing. What killed victims, was not the trauma of being scourged, or even nailed. It was the combination of dehydration and suffocation. When inhaling, a person normally activates the muscles of the chest and the diaphragm to bring air into the lungs. During exhalation, a person relaxes the chest muscles and diaphragm and air moves out. During crucifixion, this process is reversed. The position of the body on the cross creates an emphysematous or “barrel-chested” victim, preventing normal airflow.
As a result, the victim is forced to breathe at the upper limits of lung expansion by taking shallow, rapid breaths. For the victim to breathe out, he would have to push himself up into a more regular chest position, allowing air to move. This could only be accomplished by rotating his nailed wrists and pushing up on his nail-driven feet. As fatigue set in, breathing took longer and became increasingly difficult. With each breath, the open sores and the torn flesh and muscle on His back would have grated against the rough timber of the Cross. No wonder Christ uttered only seven, significant words!
With a buildup of carbon dioxide asphyxiation, heightened levels of body acids, oxygen loss, a contraction of pulmonary blood vessels, and buildup of fluid around vital organs, Jesus faced a life-threatening state of congestive heart failure. In addition to breathing difficulties, and heart failure, repetitive trauma to the back during scourging would have injured the lungs, as well as cause kidney failure. Anemia would have contributed to Jesus’ quick death. Prior to crucifixion, Jesus was repeatedly beaten and whipped across the face and head (up to 150 times), with reeds and bone-covered chains. His scalp was punctured by multiple thorns. The muscles and flesh on his back were shredded and left gaping and bleeding. The emotional suffering Jesus’ endured in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before led to extreme sweating (severe diaphoresis), and the severe stress that caused a rare form of hemohidrosis (sweating blood). The skin of an individual under the level of stress Jesus faced would be rendered extremely tender, and as blood vessels become ruptured they would mix with sweat glands under the skin. Jesus sweated profusely, both during His agony as He prayed to His Father and as He hung on the cross. While He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, under an extreme level of mental exhaustion brought on by lack of sleep, Jesus undoubtedly experienced a fear and apprehension so emotionally and physically unsettling that He suffered hemohidrosis and felt it necessary to ask His Father to take his suffering from Him.
The physiology of dysfunctional respiratory activity and congestive heart failure—compounded by extreme fatigue, hypovolemia (low body fluid), severe anemia, electrolyte abnormalities, and subsequent kidney failure—contributed to a cascade of life-ending changes in Christ’s normal body functions.
Death on the Cross
If the crucified criminal was still clinging to life, a centurion could choose between two methods to complete the process of dying. The first method was to break the legs of the individual, immediately causing shock and suffocation. The second method of assuring death was a “death thrust” of a spear into the chest cavity. This blow would have opened up the lung cavity causing a swoosh of air that followed with a flow of blood from the heart cavity, and lastly with a subsequent trickle of water that leaked from around the heart. Often both methods would be employed. Since Christ had already died, the second method was only necessary.
The actual cause of Jesus’ death was most likely a combination of physiologic conditions. The most probable was a combination of hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Amidst his stress, He had a low volume of body water and circulating blood combined with a concentration of carbon dioxide and a lack of oxygen in his body. He had not consumed water since the Last Supper, had suffered an excessive loss of water from perspiration, and lost a tremendous amount of blood in scourging. But what finally caused Christ to give up his Spirit, was the unkindest cut of them all: the taking up of our sin.
In this most hideous, and malicious death, we see most clearly our own sin and hatred. Yet in this cruel, grotesque death, we receive the kindness and beauty of Christ’s holy life and are restored to God’s favor. Christ’s resurrection certifies the Father’s acceptance.
He is risen indeed, Alleluia!!!
Holy Week, also known as Passion Week, was the last week of Jesus' earthly ministry. And a busy week it was for Him!
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while the crowd put down their cloaks and palm leaves for Him. They sang "Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 21:1-11) As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a new donkey that had never been ridden before, He wept over the devastation of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41).
Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem. This was when Jesus overturned the tables and said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you make it a den of robbers” (Matthew: 21:12-17).
Also, Jesus cursed a barren fig tree for having leaves but no figs. (Matthew 21:18-22)
The barren fig tree is a symbol of those who think only of outward goodness which does not come from the heart (Matthew 21:18-22). Jesus was hungry and he went to the fig tree to get something to eat, but when He approached it, He saw that it was barren. It was not the time for figs, but it was understood that once a fig tree had leaves, it should also have figs.
Tuesday (A busy day for Jesus!)
On Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus preached and taught in Jerusalem from early morning till late at night. When the sun went down on Tuesday, His earthly teaching was done.
As dusk approached, Jesus taught the parable of the talents. And in those final moments before His teaching ministry came to an end, He told His listeners, in essence, "You have one life.” That's it. Some of you have all kinds of gifts and abilities; some of you have less. But don't squander the one and only "life" God has given you. Do something noble and great with it. Jesus knew His physical life on earth was almost over, and He was leaving final words for us.
He told the Parable of the Talents to remind to keep watch. Jesus told the Parable of the Ten Virgins to foretell His return. Jesus prophesied about His Second Coming and the Last Judgment. He talked about the Greatest Commandment and the signs of the times. He gave warnings and he gave woes (Matthew 21:28-25:46).
On Tuesday Jesus’ authority was questioned. According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus again returns to Jerusalem where he is confronted by the Temple leadership for what he did the day before. He replied to the wily questions of the Pharisees and scribes who tried to trap Him. Jesus rebuked them for their envy and deceit.
Wednesday (SPY WEDNESDAY)
The tempo of Holy Week increased on Wednesday. The Bible records two important things that happened on Wednesday.
This is the day widely known as "Spy Wednesday.” It is the day when Judas Iscariot, a disciple turned betrayer agreed to show the chief priests where they could easily capture Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver which was the going rate for a slave at that time.
Jesus relaxed that evening in Bethany where a woman anointed Him with expensive perfume from her alabaster box. This was a foreshadow of Jesus’ burial (Matthew 26:6-13).
Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus, Satan enters Judas, who seeks out to betray Jesus. ...
Not even Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem as King of Israel could dissuade Judas from his course. Judas had convinced himself that Jesus was a false Messiah and that He had to pay for His deception.
Scholars infer that Judas may have been the only Judean among the twelve disciples of Jesus. This alone could have caused him to feel somewhat superior. When Jesus gave him charge of the money box, it may have additionally boosted his ego. Judas is often identified as a Zealot. We know that Judas was probably a Zealot by his surname, Iscariot. Researchers believe this is a form of the title sicarii, meaning "dagger-men," a group of ultra-Zealots who carried a knife with them at all times to be prepared to assassinate traitors and capitulators. Though motivated primarily by socio-economic and political factors, the Zealots also had prophetic ideas driving them. They believed that if they turned Israel back to God and incited war against the Romans, the Messiah would arise to lead them and establish His Kingdom. This "understanding" resulted from misinterpreting many prophecies concerning Christ's teachings. In short, the Zealots ignored many of the prophecies regarding His first coming and completely mis-timed those about the second.
Initially, Christ's message probably aroused great excitement among the Zealots and their sympathizers. Yet at some point, Jesus' message began to change. He frequently told His disciples that He would die—by crucifixion, of all things—and that this was a main reason for His coming. He began to find fault with the things Jesus said and did, and began to steal from the money box. Once, in Bethany, he even complained aloud of his displeasure to Jesus (John 12:3-6).
Thursday of Holy Week: In the evening Jesus washes the disciples' feet, eats the Passover meal with the Twelve, tells them of the coming betrayal, and institutes the Lord’s Supper. They then depart to Gethsemane, where he struggles in prayer and they struggle to stay awake late into the night. Jesus is then betrayed and arrested by dawn.
Maundy Thursday [pronounced môn'dE] is the traditional English name for Thursday of Holy Week, so named because of the institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus at the Last Supper (that is, the mandatum novum or “new commandment”).
“A new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another.” (John 13:34)
Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday is the day before Jesus’ crucifixion. On this day Jesus had His Last Supper with His disciples before His death. This day, Jesus took a normal "Passover meal" and changed it forever.
Jesus did several things on Maundy Thursday, according Matthew 26:17-75.
The arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus Christ all took place on Good Friday. Jesus was taken into Roman courts, before Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas, who sent him back to the Jewish court. Roman soldiers took him to Golgotha, the place of the skull, where he was crucified (Matthew 26:47 - Matthew 27:26).
It is interesting that Jesus was born at night and it became day. Jesus was crucified during the day and it became as dark as night.
The seven last words of Jesus on the cross are usually preached during Good Friday services to commemorate Jesus’ death at 3 p.m. We call this day “good” because of what God was able to do for us through the life and death of Jesus. He gave us new life with Him forever.
One traditional use of Scripture is to base the homily or devotional on the Seven Last Words of Jesus as recorded in the gospels.
The Seven Last Words of Jesus:
“Father, forgive them . . .” (Luke 23:34)
“This day you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
“Woman, behold your son . . .” (John 19:26-27)
“My God, my God why has thy forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
“I thirst.” (John 19:28)
“It is finished!” (John 19:30)
“Father into your hands . . . “ (Luke 23:46)
On Friday, Jesus voluntarily submitted to be nailed to a cross. "No one takes my life, I lay it down myself” (John 10:18).
The Bible says that at noon, the skies got dark. There was an earthquake. The temple veil was torn from top to bottom to show that man had absolutely "nothing" to do with it. People suddenly realized that when Jesus cried out, "It is finished," and then died, He was no ordinary man.
What happened on the cross was a divine exchange. Jesus was made sin so we could be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus was taken down from the cross, prepared for burial, and placed in a borrowed tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathaea (Luke 23:50-53).
Saturday (Black Sabbath)
Holy Saturday was the day between the promise and the fulfillment of the promise. Jesus had not only predicted He would be crucified, but also that He would rise from the dead. Our salvation is based on that promise.
On Saturday, the high priests and Pharisees gathered together before Pilate and asked him to have Jesus' tomb sealed until the third day because as those enemies of God said, "We suspect that His disciples will come and steal His buried body by night, and then proclaim to the people that His resurrection is true, as that deceiver Himself foretold while He was yet alive; and then the last deception shall be worse than the first. After they had said these things to Pilate and received his permission, they went and sealed the tomb, and assigned a watch for security, that is, guards from among the soldiers who were appointed to guard the city” (Matthew 27:62-66).
Jesus made His descent with His soul, whereby He destroyed the gates and bars of Hades. Death was put to death, Hades was stripped of all its captives, the forefathers and all the righteous who died from the beginning of time were set free (Ephesians 4:8).
Most Christians now call this "Resurrection Day" while it is commonly known as Easter Sunday. God raised Jesus from the dead early in the morning. That's why we can say, "He is risen!" (Matthew 28:11-15)