For the joy set before him he endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)
Today is Good Friday. People often ask me, “Why do we call this day Good Friday when so much bad happened to Jesus—the beatings, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the nine-inch nails, and ultimately dying on a cross?” The reason Good Friday is wonderfully good is because when Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty for our sins and three days later rose from the dead, it paved the way for everything good that comes from God’s plan of redemption.
Today I want to share with you the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross. My prayer is that you will meditate on and marinate in these profound utterances, which represent the key that unlocks the door to eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. You can click here to join in on our Good Friday livestream service, which begins at 12:00 noon Eastern Time or you can view it at any later time.
1st Word – Forgiveness – Luke 23:33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.“ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
2nd Word – Pardon – Luke 23:39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him, “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
3rd Word – Love – John 19:26-27
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
4th Word – Dereliction – Mark 15:33-34
At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
5th Word – Passion – John 19:28-29
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
6th Word – Triumph – John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
7th Word – Reunion – Luke 23:44-47
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
Remember, without the death of Jesus, there could be no resurrection, and if Jesus is not raised from the dead, we are all dead in our trespasses and sins. Oh, Christian, go back to our opening verse and think about this: The “joy” that was set before Jesus when He died on the cross was YOU! Your name was on His cracked lips as He breathed His last and those same lips will speak these words to you on the day you breathe your last breath and enter into glory: “Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21 NKJV).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!