What Are the Seven Sayings of Jesus from the Cross?

sayings of jesus on the cross

Christ’s passionate love for the world is evident in His statements from the Cross. Let's take a look at the meaning and importance of each saying of Jesus as he was crucified.

Statement One - “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

"The ESV translation of Luke 23:34 says, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” These were the first of our Lord’s final words upon the cross, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.  In light of what is known about the process of ancient Roman crucifixion, it’s incredible to think that the world’s Greatest Defender was not once found to be defending his own innocence or even returning an angry word upon His deserving accusers."

"By interceding for His transgressors through this prayer, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that was foretold by Isaiah, hundreds of years prior. This prayer, from upon the cross particularly, would have been a confirmation of His identity to those awaiting their beloved messiah, as described by the prophets of God." (excerpt from Why Did Jesus Say "Father Forgive Them", Amy Swanson)

Statement Two - “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

"We are not told what this criminal stole to be convicted guilty of, but whatever it was it was worthy of the most severe punishment. Even a crime so terrible that man would consider worthy of death could be forgiven by Jesus. How Christ responded to the criminal next to Him has takeaways for Christians today. No matter how severe the sin, there is opportunity for salvation and forgiveness from Christ—even in the final breaths of life.  

Jesus was blameless, without sin, and was not guilty of such a horrific death, but two men who were guilty of their crimes hung next to Him that fateful day. Both men spoke to Jesus, but only one would die to be greeted into the promise of Heaven. The response of Jesus in this instance was profound to the criminal, as He promised this sinner that he too would enter the gates of Heaven to live in Paradise, not later but that day!" (excerpt from What Did Jesus Mean When He Told the Thief "Today You Will Be with Me in Parradise"?, Cally Logan)

Statement Three - “Woman, behold your son.” John 19:26

Jesus was concerned about his family. He is concerned for us and provides for all of us.

"Jesus saw his mother, Mary, standing by and knew her cares and griefs, and He saw John standing not far off. So, He established a new relationship between His beloved mother and His beloved disciple. He said to her, "Woman, behold your son, for whom, from now on, you must have a motherly affection," and to John, "Behold you mother, to whom you must pay a sonly duty." And so from that hour, that hour never to be forgotten, that disciple took her to his own home." (excerpt from Why Did Jesus Say "Woman Behold Your Son"?)

Statement Four - “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

Jesus was forsaken so we don’t have to be.

"But listen, what does Jesus say? "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Ah, we think, a crisis of faith. No, a declaration of fact. Well, what are you saying, that God forsook him? In a sense, yes. Jesus was forsaken so I don't have to be. Jesus entered the darkness so I could walk in the light. Jesus was forsaken that I might be forgiven."

"Now when we say Jesus was forsaken, here's what we're saying. As the sin of the world was placed on Christ, the Father, who is holy and cannot look at sin, turned away as he became the recipient of the wrath of God. But because this happened, no one will ever have to think they'll be forsaken of God from this moment forward who calls out to him. Jesus was simply declaring what was taking place in the given moment. But I want you to notice this was not a crisis of faith on the part of our Lord, he was crying out to the father, also fulfilling scripture from Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Notice it's my God." (transcription provided by Greg Laurie)

Statement Five - “I thirst!” John 19:28

Jesus was fully God and fully human. Jesus can identify with our very real physical needs. 

"This may appear overly simplistic. The temptation is to take these words and interpret them in some overly spiritualized manner. We might equate “thirsting” with Christ’s call to “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). Another possible connection would be to link this statement with Christ’s invitation that all who are thirsty are invited to drink from the waters of life (Revelation 22:17). These interpretive links are not necessarily wrong."

"It is out of this place of physical exhaustion that Jesus declares his thirst. The hours spent in the sun, coupled with the physical pain he was feeling, would have created mild, if not severe, dehydration. Jesus speaks of his own thirst out a real human need for sustenance and relief. On the cross, Jesus is physically thirsty." (excerpt from What is the Meaning and Significance of Jesus Saying "I Thirst"?, Rev. Kyle Norman)

Statement Six - “It is finished!” John 19:30

Jesus paid for our sins once and for all. The power and control of sin in our lives is broken.

"Jesus is saying in “It is finished” that the debt owed by man to his Creator on account of Adam’s sin is finally and forever dealt with. Jesus, with “it is finished,” is saying not only does He take away man’s sin, but now He removes it as far as the east is to the west, for is finished, done, signed, and sealed because of the blood of Jesus. When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) He brought about the completion of all the Old Testament prophecies, symbols, and foreshadowing about Himself." (excerpt from The Meaning and Significance of "It is Finished", Dave Jenkins)

Statement Seven - “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46

You can entrust your life - both eternal salvation and daily provision today - to the hands of God.

"For some believers, whether or not the translation is more active, like “gave up the ghost” or “breathed his last,” in which Jesus appears to be making a decision is very important. Because He was fully God and fully man, Jesus could have taken himself off the cross, remained alive, and exerted His divine authority. He chose not to do so. His divine nature means He intentionally had to choose to no longer hold onto life."

"It is a direct quotation from that passage of Scripture. In context, it appears: “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God” (Psalm 31:3-5). " (excerpt from Beautiful Meaning Behind "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit", Bethany Verrett)

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Originally published April 01, 2021.