The seven last words of Jesus Christ on the cross are a collection of seven short phrases Jesus uttered at his crucifixion immediately before he died, gathered from the four Gospels. The sayings were short and there is a reason behind that. Crucifixion causes asphyxia. This makes inhaling air to speak difficult and painful, especially as death approaches.
Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ
1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Almighty God, to whom your crucified Son prayed for the forgiveness of those who did not know what they were doing, grant that we, too, may be included in that prayer. Whether we sin out of ignorance or intention, be merciful to us and grant us your acceptance and peace: in the name of Jesus Christ, our suffering Savior. Amen.
2. “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
O Lord Jesus Christ, who promised to the repentant the joy of paradise, enable us by the Holy Spirit to repent and to receive your grace in this world and in the world to come. Amen.
3. “Woman, behold your son . . . Behold your mother.”
O Blessed Savior, who in your hour of greatest suffering expressed compassion for your mother and made arrangements for her care, grant that we who seek to follow your example may show our concern for the needs of others, reaching out to provide for those who suffer in our human family. Hear this our prayer for your mercy’s sake. Amen.
4. Eli Eli lama sabachthani? (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”)
O Lord, I call for help by day, and in the night I still must cry. Regard me, listen to my prayer.My soul is troubled, I am weak, cut off as one whom you forsake, forgotten near the pit of death.Your wrath weighs heavy on me here. Your angry waves upon me break. Friends watch in horror from afar.I am shut in without escape. My eyes are dim because I weep. My hands are lifted up to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead? Can graves tell out your mighty deeds? There, who can know that you can save?Lord, do not hide your face from me. You have afflicted me from youth. Your anger is destroying me.Your flood of anger closes in. The darkness is my closest friend—shunned and forsaken, all alone. (PsH 88:1-7)
5. “I thirst”
O blessed Savior, whose lips were dry and whose throat was parched, grant us the water of life that we who thirst after righteousness may find it quenched by your love and mercy, leading us to bring this same relief to others. Amen.
6. “It is finished”
O Lord Jesus Christ, who finished the work that you were sent to do, enable us by your Holy Spirit to be faithful to our call. Grant us strength to bear our crosses and endure our sufferings, even unto death. Enable us to live and love so faithfully that we also become good news to the world, joining your witness, O Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Father, into whose hands your Son Jesus Christ commended his spirit, grant that we, too, following his example, may in all of life and at the moment of our death entrust our lives into your faithful hands of love. In the name of Jesus who gave his life for us all. Amen.
These precious last seven words of Christ on the Cross must remain in our minds even after Good Friday. Amen.