Good Friday – The Last Words of Jesus

A Harmony of the Gospel Accounts

Taken from the 4 eyewitness accounts found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John:

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. – Luke 23

36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 

41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. – Matthew 27

39 One of the criminals who hung there said: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 

46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). – Mathew 27

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 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. 

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” – John 19

46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. – Luke 23

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection andwent into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed,

“Surely he was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27

Thoughts on Jesus’ Last Words

Jesus gave everything for you and me.

Let the last words He said before He died on the cross resonate within.

To a criminal who believed in him just before his own death, Jesus said: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This is remarkable! Only God can forgive sins, and for Jesus to forgive someone who deserved to be on the cross gives us all hope.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus willingly went to Jerusalem knowing His destiny was death on the cross.

Yet that death did something spiritually.

You see, God is One and revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit – 3 in 1. Together since before time and history and creation, and now for the absolute first time, Jesus’ death meant taking upon Himself all of the wickedness and evil of humanity separating Him from the holy and perfect Father, but only for a short time. But that time was excruciating. – The loneliness, the isolation, the separation from communion with God.

The phrase “It is finished” also had significance in the Jewish ceremony on the Day of Atonement.  When the Priest declared these words, it signified that the sins of the people were forgiven for a season.  Jesus’ death, however, was the final eternal sacrifice to end all sacrifices.

Finally, Jesus said: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

When someone dies, we are powerless. All we can do is entrust them over to God.

Jesus, on the verge of death, surrenders Himself to God – even to the end. And He breathed His last.

The world was never the same.

In that exact moment, the curtain in the temple separating sinful humanity from a holy God was torn in two. Jesus had bridged the gap for you and me.

And now back to some of the first words of Jesus on that day we now call Good Friday: “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.

This gives hope to us all. Jesus offers you and I forgiveness.

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