The four Gospels report seven judgments spoken by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion, popularly known as the seven words of Jesus on the cross. These seven sentences are not integrated in a single gospel, but dispersed among them. Specifically, three of them are recorded in the Gospel of Luke and three in the Gospel of John. The other phrase is recorded both in the Gospel of Mark and in the Gospel of Matthew. It is unknown if these judgments, the seven words of Jesus, are summaries of longer sentences or if Jesus said more things; however, given the agony that the crucifixion represents, it would not be surprising if it were all that he said.
The order of the seven words of Jesus
Since each evangelist has a different purpose, they contemplate the same events from different focus and sequence, emphasizing more what fits their particular purpose. For this reason, the precise order in which the seven words of Jesus have been said is unknown. However, as a matter of mere consistency to facilitate the study, they have been assigned in a logical but somewhat arbitrary way the following order:
1 "Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23: 34)
2 "Truly I say to you that today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23: 43)
3 "Woman, there's your son" ... "There's your mother" (Juan 19: 26-27)
4 ["My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"] (Matthew 27: 46; Mark 15: 34)
5 "I'm thirsty" (Juan 19: 28)
6 "It is finished" (John 19: 30)
7 "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23: 46)
Let's examine each of them separately.
The first word: "Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23: 34)
Before the incredulous and blasphemous attitude of those who passed before the cross expressing acerbic criticism and mocking words ("He saved others, he can not save himself"), Jesus responded with forgiveness in the heart instead of condemnation, setting the example for all his true disciples and reinforcing with facts, settled during an extreme situation, the previously expressed in the Sermon on the Mount and other occasions of his ministry.
While this sentence, the first of the seven words of Jesus, has been questioned by the followers of the stream of textual criticism (which, incidentally, criticize many things with the sole basis of the wording) , the phrase and its meaning are completely congruent with what Jesus said previously (Luke 6: 27-28, Lucas 19: 41, Lucas 22: 50-51, Lucas 23: 28) and with the behavior later followed by his disciples ( Facts 3: 17). The attitude of Jesus was, in fact, emulated by Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian era, at the moment of giving his life for the cause (Acts 7: 60).
The second word: "Truly I say to you that today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23: 43)
Being wronged also by one of the thieves crucified with him that same day but defended by the other, Jesus responded to the request of the latter: "Truly I tell you that today you will be with me in paradise." This answer has puzzled more than one scholar of Bible and many have supposed, by confusing paradise with eternal life, that Jesus was promising exaltation without specifying prior repentance, by a single act of contrition at the moment of death. But this is not the meaning or the meaning of the words. Paradise, as it is previously described in the same Gospel of Luke with the name of "the breast of Abraham"(Luke 16) is a temporary state between death and resurrection. Jesus, when he died, went directly to this place, where he organized the preaching to the spirits who were in the spiritual prison (1 Pedro 3: 18-20, 1 Pedro 4: 6, 1 Pedro 3: 21). The promise of Jesus to the thief on the cross is, therefore, the assurance that the gospel would be preached to him in the spiritual world to which they were going, the world of the spirits, and that he could be redeemed later through the ordinances arranged for the purpose.
The third word: "Woman, there's your son" ... "There's your mother" (Juan 19: 26-27)
While his mother was among a small group of women who, by their kinship had gained access to the foot of the cross and their disciple and relative Juan also being present, Jesus entrusted Juan with the care of his mother with these sensitive and moving words. In this, the greatest hour of sorrow for Mary in fulfillment of the promise made by Simeon three decades before (Luke 2: 35), Jesus gave John the care of his mother in the same way that he had previously entrusted Peter with the care of the Church (Matthew 16).
Jesus could have entrusted the care of Mary to his younger brothers (see Matthew 1: 25; Mark 3: 6), but it is understood that he wanted them to complete a conversion process whose starting point had been complete disbelief (John 7 : 5). Shortly after the resurrection, Jesus would meet with his brother James (also called James: see 1 Corinthians 15: 5-8, compare Galatians 1: 19), which would result in the conversion of him and the rest of his brothers ( Facts 1: 14). We can assume that the purpose of Christ, in entrusting John with the care of his mother, was extremely broad, since it was, as sacred history indicates, a great opportunity for leadership and expansion of Christianity.
The fourth word: ["My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"] (Matthew 27: 46; Mark 15: 34)
The expression described here is recorded in Aramaic, with slight variations between both gospels. Matthew writes the name of God as "Eli", in Hebrew, while Marco places "Eloi", in Aramaic, before which there is no problem, both words having the same root and being equivalent. Both are contractions of the name Elohim, addressed to God, our Heavenly Father.
The phrase itself, fourth of the seven words of Jesus, is taken from the Old Testament scriptures, which Jesus cited in a timely manner, which demonstrates the enormous love of Jesus Christ for the scriptures and sets us the example of its study and application . Jesus quoted from Psalm 22, referring to his first verse and bringing to mind the complete psalm, with its triumphal end. The two evangelists are careful to note that this word was said near the ninth hour, that is, almost at the end of his life on the cross, having already suffered six hours of torture (compare Mark 15: 25 with Mark 15: 34) . Elder Jeffrey R. Holland He has delivered a memorable speech about the meaning of these words and the way Jesus faced his loneliness on the cross by addressing the Heavenly Father in prayer.
The fifth word: "I am thirsty" (Juan 19: 28)
In Greek, this expression is summarized in a single word, and this contrasts with the fact that, at the beginning of the crucifixion, Jesus was offered a soporific drug that he rejected (Matthew 27: 34; Mark 15: 23 ). Six hours later, under the inclement heat, he was severely dehydrated and, at the expression, the soldiers approached the lips of Jesus vinegar again (Juan 19: 29). This is the moment in which we fully see the humanity of Jesus, conscious as ever of his corporeal needs, exacerbated by the torture of the crucifixion. The complete passage fulfills a messianic prophecy expressed in Psalms 69: 21. The effect of the vinegar must have released Jesus' throat enough so that he could express his last two words.
The sixth word: "It is finished" (John 19: 30)
As soon as he tasted the vinegar, Jesus completed his crucifixion with this expression, recorded by John with a single Greek word, as in the previous case. They are not words of mere relief, but have an even deeper meaning. The way John reports the crucifixion shows that Jesus was in control over her, that he would place his life voluntarily and at the right time and that his ministry would now be fulfilled. Again, Jesus seems to quote from the Psalm 22, which in his final verse expresses this consummation. It is not the culmination of his life, but of his sacrifice. The commentators interpret the Greek word used by John not as a sign of defeat, but as a victory hymn.
The seventh word: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23: 46)
Luke continues the description of the seven words of Jesus where John leaves that story interrupted, while Matthew and Mark only report that Jesus cried out with a loud voice. Matthew, however, describes the death of Jesus as the surrender of the spirit, which allows linking the various testimonies: Jesus cried out in a loud voice these words, giving the Heavenly Father the care of his spirit. And in doing so, in his precise last moment of life, Jesus again quoted the scriptures, this time the Psalm 31: 5. The 31 Psalm deals with the trust that is placed in God even in the most extreme circumstances. Stephen, disciple of Jesus, would also use similar words at the time of his death, under the acute pains of martyrdom (Acts 7: 59).
To invoke the Heavenly Father in prayer, Jesus used a profoundly intimate term, Abba, which was an expression of affection for his Father. This expression is characteristic of Jesus. His relationship with God remained narrow until the end of his life.
The seven words of Jesus have been placed by the commentators in the best order in which they have been placed. Great lessons can be learned from them, among which are the love for God and the maintenance of a relationship with Him, the power of prayer, love for the Scriptures and the importance of their study and application, forgiveness towards enemies, the value of the mother and the woman in general and the luminous doctrines of the Plan of Salvation. Jesus put in all his attitude an example of courage and loyalty that would be followed by his disciples, beginning with the case of Stephen, who bears close similarities. The words of Jesus, preparing with death the miracle of the resurrection, have resounded in every soul that has received them through the centuries, and its effect continues to illuminate the path of the followers and disciples of God in our day.
• Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible dictionary, 2001.
• Paul J. Achtemeier, Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper's Bible dictionary, 1985.
• Jeffrey E. Miller, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, 2016.
• Frederick Justus Knecht, A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture. (London, St. Louis, MO: B. Herder, 1910).