The Seven Sayings of Jesus from the Cross
Jesus was nailed to the cross at nine on the Friday morning. For the first three hours he endured people’s wrath – threats, spitting, insults, mocking, jeering, etc. Then at noon the sun was darkened. It remained dark, as in a total solar eclipse, till three in the afternoon. In these second dark three hours Jesus endured God’s wrath – drinking God’s cup of judgement to its dregs… on our behalf, in our place, for our sin and rebellion, sickness and death. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2Cor 5:21). The Gospels record that while hanging on the cross for six hours, till his death, Jesus spoke seven times. We do not know the exact order in which each of his ‘sayings’ took place. But reading the context of each of them, I have put them in a possible/probable order from nine till his death at three in the afternoon.
In your time of meditation, picture the entire scene. See yourself standing there before the cross with John the beloved disciple, and Mary, Jesus’ mother. Relive what happened during those six hours. Listen carefully… hear what Jesus says. Receive his words from the cross… what do they mean to you? What is he saying to you… personally? What is your response to him? Do you need to do anything? Use your imagination by the Spirit to be with Jesus, hanging on the cross… how you can be with him in his suffering.
(Whichever saying ‘speaks’ to you, or grabs your attention, etc, stay with it, meditate on it. Answer Jesus… dialogue with him… do what you must to do to respond to him. If you need to, read the particular text and its context in your Bible so as to personalize it more)
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”
“Dear woman, here is your son… and… here is your mother”
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46)
“I am thirsty”
“It is finished”
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”