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Words from a dying man can be fearful, resentful or senile, but rarely confident. These last words
from the lips of Jesus were confident.

These words reflect a true understanding of God and mankind. With such understanding Jesus
responded confidently on the cross.

Jesus said in Luke 23:24, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

We need to recognize that people don’t know altogether what they are doing. There is a spirit of
deception where sin is present. The husband who thought he won the argument lost intimacy with
his wife. The person who hurt you has hurt herself and her relationship with God. People badly need
forgiveness from God, but few people know this.
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

In Luke 23:43, Jesus said to the thief who was also crucified, "I tell you the truth, today you will be
with me in paradise."

A story is told of a thief who robbed John Wesley. While the thief walked away, Wesley shouted, "If
you should someday come to your senses and know what you have done is wrong, turn to God for
forgiveness through Jesus Christ." If we have the promise of Heaven, because we belong to Jesus,
then every situation in our lives is an opportunity to bring others into Heaven with us.
"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

John 19:26 records, "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."

Someone has said, "Family is the place where they won’t kick you out." But the families in America
are breaking apart due to divorce, abuse and absent fathers and mothers who chose selfish
ambitions over responsible integrity.

The church, the gathering of believers, is God redeeming family. When you’ve been caste out in life,
God’s church is "the place where you won’t be kicked out."
"Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ’Here is your mother."

Matthew 27:46 records Jesus’ loud cry on the cross, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

These words from Jesus tells us that whatever we’re going through, God is aware, and if He chose to,
He could have changed the outcome. Therefore, direct your questions to God, but know that you
can trust His goodness and righteousness. We see only a day at a time. God sees the whole picture.
He will do what is good and right.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

John 19:28 records, "Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be
fulfilled, Jesus said, ’I am thirsty.’"

To confess need, weakness or injury opens up our heart for God to heal. Resentment and anger says,
"I’ll get even," or "God doesn’t care." But a hopeful and trusting person confesses his need and
weakness to God.
"I am thirsty."

John 19:30 continues, "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished."

If you belong to Jesus, you will have the resources and resolve to deal with the trials in your life.
Tough times are temporary; God’s people are eternal. Most people give into circumstances or
temptations, not because they lack resources, but because they lack resolve; they gave up too soon.
We can finish and finish well.
"It is finished."

Finally, Luke 23:46 records, "Jesus called out with a loud voice, ’Father, into your hands I commit my
spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last."

We have not lost if we know in Whose hands we are held. Whether stripped of our possessions,
reputation, physical or mental health, we need not be anxious, because our lives are not like dry
leaves, blown and tossed by the wind. We are lovingly and eternally held in our Father’s hands.
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

These final words of Jesus offer eternal confidence and eternal relationship. There is the promise of
forgiveness, the promise of Heaven, the promise of family, the promise of God’s watchfulness, the
promise of resources and resolve, and the promise of God’s sovereign care.
The Fourth Word: Anguish


It is often profitable to study the last words of dying men. Many sermons
have been preached on the last words of Jesus. As he hung on the cross on
that first Good Friday he uttered seven short sentences or phrases. We
usually call these the “seven last words of Christ.”

For the past few Good Fridays we have been examining these so-called “last
words” of Christ.

The first word that Jesus uttered was a word of forgiveness addressed to the
Father on behalf of those who were crucifying him: “Father, forgive them, for
they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

The second word that Jesus uttered was a word of salvation spoken to the
thief on the cross: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”
(Luke 23:43).

The third word that Jesus uttered was a word of compassion addressed
primarily to his mother who he entrusted into the care of the apostle John:
“Dear woman, here is your son” (John 19:25-27).

The fourth word that Jesus uttered was a word of anguish addressed to the
Father. It is found in Matthew 27:46:

"About 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?’" (Matthew 27:46)


Max Lucado gives the following account in his book titled No Wonder They
Call Him Savior.

The summer of 1980 in Miami was nothing to smile about. The Florida heat
scorched the city during the day and baked it at night. Riots, lootings, and
racial tension threatened to snap the frayed emotions of the people.
Everything soared: unemployment, inflation, the crime rate, and especially
the thermometer. Somewhere in the midst of it all, a Miami Herald reporter
captured a story that left the entire Gold Coast breathless. It was the story of
Judith Bucknell. Attractive, young, successful, and dead.

Judith Bucknell was homicide number 106 that year. She was killed on a
steamy June 9th evening. Age: 38. Weight: 109 pounds. Stabbed seven
times. Strangled.

She kept a diary. Had she not kept this diary perhaps the memory of her
would have been buried with her body. But the diary exists; a painful epitaph
to a lonely life. The correspondent made this comment about her writings:

"In her diaries, Judy created a character and a voice. The character is herself,
wistful, struggling, weary; the voice is yearning. Judith Bucknell has failed to
connect; age 38, many lovers, much love offered, none returned."

Her struggles weren’t unusual. She worried about getting old, getting fat,
getting married, getting pregnant, and getting by. She lived in stylish
Coconut Grove (Coconut Grove is where you live if you are lonely but act

Judy was the paragon of the confused human being. Half of her life was
fantasy, half was nightmare. Successful as a secretary, but a loser at love.
Her diary was replete with entries such as the following:

"Where are the men with the flowers and champagne and music? Where are
the men who call and ask for a genuine, actual date? Where are the men
who would like to share more than my bed, my booze, my food. . . . I would
like to have in my life, once before I pass through my life, the kind of sexual
relationship which is part of a loving relationship."

She never did.

Judy was not a prostitute. She was not on drugs or on welfare. She never
went to jail. She was not a social outcast. She was respectable. She jogged.
She hosted parties. She wore designer clothes and had an apartment that
overlooked the bay. And she was very lonely. “I see people together and I’m
so jealous I want to throw up. What about me! What about me!”

Though surrounded by people, she was on an island. Though she had many
acquaintances, she had few friends. Though she had many lovers (fifty-nine
in fifty-six months), she had little love.
“Who is going to love Judy Bucknell?” the diary continues. “I feel so old.
Unloved. Unwanted. Abandoned. Used up. I want to cry and sleep forever.”

A clear message came from her aching words. Though her body died on June
9th from the wounds of a knife, her heart had died long before. . . from

“I’m alone,” she wrote, “and I want to share something with somebody.”


It’s a cry. A moan, a wail. It’s a gasp whose origin is in the recesses of our

Can you hear it? The abandoned child. The divorcee. The quiet home. The
empty mailbox. The long days. The longer nights. A one-night stand. A
forgotten birthday. A silent phone.

Cries of loneliness. Listen again. Tune out the traffic and turn down the TV.
The cry is there. Our cities are full of Judy Bucknells. You can hear their cries.
You can hear them in the convalescent home among the sighs and shuffling
feet. You can hear them in the prisons among the moans of shame and the
calls for mercy. You can hear them if you walk the manicured streets of
suburban America, among the aborted ambitions and aging homecoming
queens. Listen for it in the halls of our high schools where peer pressure
weeds out the “have-nots” from the “haves.”

This moan in a minor key knows all spectrums of society. From the top to the
bottom. From the failures to the famous. From the rich to the poor. From the
married to the single. Judy Bucknell was not alone.

Many of you have been spared this cruel cry. Oh, you have been homesick or
upset a time or two. But despair? Far from it. Suicide? Of course not. Be
thankful that it hasn’t knocked at your door. Pray that it never will. If you
have yet to fight this battle, you are welcome to listen if you wish, but I’m
really speaking to someone else.

I am speaking to those who know this cry firsthand. I’m speaking to those of
you whose days are book-ended with broken hearts and long evenings. I’m
speaking to those of you who can find a lonely person simply by looking in
the mirror.

For you, loneliness is a way of life. The sleepless nights. The lonely bed. The
distrust. The fear of tomorrow. The unending hurt.

When did it begin? In your childhood? At the divorce? At retirement? At the

cemetery? When the kids left home?

Maybe you, like Judy Bucknell, have fooled everyone. No one knows that you
are lonely. On the outside you are packaged perfectly. Your smile is quick.
Your job is stable. Your clothes are sharp. Your waist is thin. Your calendar is
full. Your walk brisk. Your talk impressive. But when you look in the mirror,
you fool no one. When you are alone, the duplicity ceases and the pain

Or maybe you don’t try to hide it. Maybe you have always been outside the
circle looking in, and everyone knows it. Your conversation is a bit awkward.
Your companionship is seldom requested. Your clothes are dull. Your looks
are common. Ziggy is your hero and Charlie Brown is your mentor.

Am I striking a chord? If I am, if you have nodded or sighed in understanding,

I have an important message for you.

The most gut-wrenching cry of loneliness in history came not from a

homicide victim or a prisoner or a widow or a patient. It came from a hill,
from a cross, from the Messiah.

“My God, my God!” he screamed, “Why have you forsaken me?”

Never have words carried so much hurt. Never has anyone been so lonely.

The crowd quietens as the priest receives the goat; the pure, unspotted goat.
In somber ceremony he places his hands on the young animal. As the people
witness, the priest makes his proclamation: “The sins of the people be upon
you.” The innocent animal receives the sins of the Israelites. All the lusting,
adultery, and cheating are transferred from the sinners to this goat, to this

He is then carried to the edge of the wilderness and released. Banished. Sin
must be purged, so the scapegoat is abandoned. “Run, goat! Run!”

The people are relieved.

Yahweh is appeased.

The First Word: Forgiveness

The Second Word: Salvation
The Third Word: Compassion
The Fourth Word: Anguish
The Fifth Word: Suffering
The Sixth Word: Victory
The Seventh Word: Contentment

There are seven words, the last seven expressions of Jesus Christ which he
uttered on the Cross at Calvary (Golgotha in Hebrew according to John 19:17,
meaning a place of a skull (Mark 15:22). The testimony of a dying man holds
more value in the court. So the words of Christ on Calvary carry legal weight.
In other words they are true. Supposedly crucifixion happened on a Friday,
we call it Good Friday.
There are seven expressions traditionally attributed to Jesus during his
crucifixion, gathered from the four Gospels. Three of the sayings appear
exclusively in the Gospel of Luke and three appear exclusively in the Gospel
of John. The other saying appears both in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel
of Mathew. In Mark and Matthew, Jesus cries out to God. In Luke, he forgives
his killers, reassures the good thief, and commends his spirit to the Father.
In John, he speaks to his mother, says he thirsts, and declares the end of his
earthly life.


"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Gospel of Luke 23:34
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, the soldiers, who have scourged him, mocked
him, tortured him, and who have just nailed him to the cross. Even though
He was dying on the Cross, His focus seems to be the other people. The
other people are the Jews, Gentiles (all of us, not just Romans who crucified
Him), His disciples who deserted Him. Forgiveness dominates his life style
and his preachings. We see it in the Lord’s Prayer (Mathew 6:12), he tells it
to Peter, his disciple (Mathew 18:21-22), at the last supper (Mathew 26:27-
28), he forgives the Paralytic at Capernaum (Mark 2:5), the adulteress
caught in act (John 8:1-11), after resurrection he commissions His disciples
to forgive (John 20:22-23). Forgiveness flows in His blood. So we also can
appreciate its importance on our lives as well.


"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Gospel of Luke 23:43
Luke 23:39-42 (New King James Version)
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If
You are the Christ,[a]save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear
God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly,
for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing
wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[b] remember me when You come
into Your kingdom.”
Here we see how one thief mocks Jesus, but the other one asks for
forgiveness and receives it. The second word is about salvation with
forgiveness underlying it. Here we see salvation through faith alone, not
works as the thief had no time for good works, not even for Baptism. He just
believed and was saved.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is

written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11,
Habakkuk 2:4, Hebrews 10:38).


"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son".

Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."
Gospel of John 19:26-27

Jesus was with his mother at the beginning of his ministry in Cana and also
now at the end of his public ministry at the Golgotha. There are four at the
foot of the cross according to the Bible. John 19:25

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw
His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His
mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold
your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home His
third word is addressed to Mary and John, the only eye-witness of the Gospel
writers. The third word is about affection or love he has for the mother who
gave birth to him on earth. He is doing his duty as her eldest son, making
sure her needs are met after he is dead and gone.


"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34

Matthew 27:46 (New King James Version)

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli,
lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[a]
Mark 15:34 (New King James Version)
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi,
lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You
forsaken Me?”[a]
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. Here we see as a completely human
with no God part in him as he feels loneliness deserted by His Father and the
Holy Spirit, not to mention his earthly companions the Apostles. As if to
emphasize his loneliness, Jesus feels separated from his Father. He is now all
alone, and he must face death by himself. His fourth word expresses his
loneliness and expresses pain of rejection by everybody including God, the

His fourth Word is the opening line of Psalm 22. 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). 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).


"I thirst"
Gospel of John 19:28
This is mentioned in the Gospel of John 19:28. 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.

"He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed" (l Peter 2:24).


When Jesus had received the wine, he said,

"It is finished";
and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
Gospel of John 19:30
As they say, he came to die. His mission is finished. He came from heaven
for this purpose only, to provide salvation for the perishing human race. His
birth and victory over the powers of darkness are clearly mentioned in the
Bible. God has made a promise to the Mankind when Adam and Eve failed
him at the Garden of Eden. God could not disown his own creation, so he
came with a redemptive plan. Jesus fulfilled that redemptive plan of God for
Genesis 3:15 (New King James Version)
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

When Jesus died, He "handed over" the Spirit. Jesus remains in control to the
end and it is He who handed over his Spirit.


Luke 23:46 (New King James Version)
46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into
Your hands I commit My spirit.’”[a] Having said this, He breathed His last.
Gospel of Luke 23:46
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 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 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).. 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).