The Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross
A Free Devotional E-Mail Bible Study

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

James J. Tissot, 'Jesus Alone on the Cross' detail
James J. Tissot, detail from "Jesus Alone on the Cross" (1886-1894), watercolor, Brooklyn Museum, New York. Full image.

By all accounts Jesus didn't do a lot of talking on the cross. It was as if he were alone in his pain -- silent for the many hours he hung there, except for a very few words. But these 7 Last Words of Christ from the Cross provide a window into Jesus' soul, a way to understand through his own last words what is ultimately important to this One who is dying on the cross.

Prepare Your Heart for Holy Week and Good Friday

These seven words are taken from different gospels, but assembled into what was probably their chronological order according to a simple harmony of the various gospel accounts of the crucifixion:

  1. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
  2. "This day you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43)
  3. "Woman, behold your son." (John 19:26-27)
  4. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)
  5. "I thirst." (John 19:28)
  6. "It is finished." (John 19:30)
  7. "Into your hands I commit my spirit." (Luke 23:46)

E-Mail Bible Study Meditation

Available as an e-book
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This Bible study is designed to help you meditate on each of these seven words, one per day, for a single week. Contained in each day's study will be a question that can help you think more deeply about the meaning of the saying. If you like, you can post your answers or thoughts in our online Forum or read others' thoughts about the saying.

Unlike some studies in the JesusWalk® Bible Study series, this study is delivered by e-mail once per day for one week only.

  • "Enriched Holy Week enormously." -- Margaret Armstrong
  • "Sweet to spend Holy Week really pondering Jesus' cross." -- anonymous
  • "There are many things about the Seven Last Words that I read for years, but that have really come to life for me." -- Deidre
  • "The relatively short length of this study was perfect for me." -- anonymous
  • "I wept while reading, imagining how it must have felt both for Jesus and for our Heavenly Father to choose to separate Himself from his Son because of how much he loves us. Incredible!" -- Elizabeth Dellenback
  • "A tremendous boost to my devotional life." -- Keith
  • "I used to rely on books alone for my personal spiritual nourishment, but find this teaching very accessible and helpful." -- Rev. Paul Nash, Anglican priest
  • "Really helped me to slow down and appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus anew, to let the reality of it sink in a little deeper." -- Teddi Deppner
  • "I did this study with four of my children ages 10, 14, 15, and 16. We were able to share so much as we went over the material... Explained fully and in a way that is easy to understand." -- Lynda Schafer

There is no cost for this Bible study -- it is delivered by e-mail absolutely free of charge. To receive this 7-day study, sign up below.

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The Seven Last Words are often given in Latin, since they have long been used as a meditation on Good Friday in Roman Catholic congregations:

  1. Pater, dimitte illis, quia nesciunt, quid faciunt
  2. Hodie mecum eris in Paradio
  3. Mulier, ecce filius tuus
  4. Deus meus, Deus meus, utquid dereliquisti me
  5. Sitio
  6. Consummatum est
  7. In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum

They are also the basis of a classical orchestral composition by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), "The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" (German: "Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze") commissioned in 1787 for the Good Friday service at the Grotto Santa Cueva near Cadiz, Spain.

Copyright © 2022, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.