During Good Friday, The Christian community reflects on the last words of Jesus Christ on the cross. These words or statements known as the Seven Last Words is integral in the contemplation of his Passion and Death. Finding out the meaning behind these words ultimately leads us to the challenge of forgiveness.
The pains that Jesus Christ went through have been recounted over and over again. Our own pains, though very real, may never get close to what he endured. The Seven Last Words show Jesus Christ’s humanity and divinity as he suffered through the pain and yet managed to accept God’s will in fulfilling His mission in saving mankind and in forgiving.
1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23: 34]
Even while going through the severe pain inflicted on him, He asked for the forgiveness of His tormentors from His Father. This shows his unlimited compassion for mankind even to the soldiers who directly mocked and tortured Him, and eventually nailing Him to the cross. This act is a very good example of his teaching for us to forgive our enemies and to reach out even to the sinful.
2. “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” [Luke 23: 43]
Christ uttered these words to the man being crucified next to him. It is also about forgiving specifically those who repent for their sins. He assures that the doors of heaven is always open even to the sinful who seeks His mercy and forgiveness.
3. “Woman, behold thy son … Behold thy mother.” [John 19: 26, 27]
Ever compassionate for the people around Him, Jesus Christ asked His disciple John to look after His mother Mary who was believed to be already a widow at the time. In turn, He gave His mother to John. This encourages the faithful to bring Mary to our own homes and hearts.
4. “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” [Matthew 27: 46]
These words expressed a feeling of abandonment and showed Jesus Christ’s human side. He had the whole weight of the task of saving mankind who had abandoned Him. It is through this experience that He understands man’s cry of despair while reminding us that He will never abandon us.
5. “I thirst.” [John 19: 28]
These words are seen as the only reference to the physical suffering He was going through. But more than the actual physical thirst, it was thirst for souls to be brought nearer to God. Jesus Christ refused to take the anesthetic drink provided to those who are to be crucified but asked for His final drink for relief of His thirst upon the moment that He knew that everything was accomplished.
6. “It is finished.” [John 19: 30]
This was Jesus Christ’s acknowledgment that His mission on earth was accomplished. With His surrender to the will of the Father, He has saved mankind from sin. It is up to us now not to waste this sacrifice by shunning sin.
7. “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” [Luke 23:46]
With these words, Jesus Christ showed His perfect surrender to His Father’s will. He committed Himself to the loving care of His Father on His dying hour, just like what we must do. Death holds the promise of eternal life in His love.