The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Cross, Seven Sayings on the; Crucifixion; Easter

[Editor's Note: This study was offered to PastorLife by Joy George, who taught it at a Bible study in the Atlanta, Georgia area in 2019. The study contains interesting and helpful thoughts on the seven sayings of Christ while He was on the cross.]

The Seven Sayings of Christ on the Cross


The Last Words of Christ on the Cross summarizes the Person and Work of Christ. All the events in Christ’s life were either predicted or alluded to (types) in the Old Testament.

The first three statements

(1) “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” is referring to the High-Priestly ministry of Christ, doing intercession for the transgressors (Isa. 53:12), (2) the statement to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise” is a reference to His kingship and (3) the statement to Mary and John, “Behold your son: Behold your mother” is referring to his position as the Son of Man (his earthly responsibility as the first-born of Mary).

The Last four statements refers to His vicarious death.

(4) “ My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me” is a quotation from Psalm 22, referring to Father’s Will in delivering His son to die on the cross. God took his eye away from the son, so that He could go through the Gethsemane, the trials by Sanhedrin and the earthly rulers, and Calvary. (5) The statement, “I thirst” is uttered in fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 69:21. He knew what the soldiers would offer for him to drink. It was the final insult that He was willing to suffer. (6) The statement, “It is finished” is a quotation from Psalm 22:31, referring to the completion of the process of salvation including the salvation of the gentiles (the church), the salvation of Israel and the millennial reign of Christ. Everything needed for the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth was accomplished on the cross. (7) The last statement is referring to Christ’s voluntary death. He came as a willing lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Just as Isaac was willing to die, being obedient to His father Abraham, Jesus was the willing son, willing to obey God. Jesus also stated that no one can take His life, unless He is willing to give it voluntarily. Before the soldiers would come and break his legs to speed up the death, Christ had already died. This also was a fulfillment to the prophecy that His bones will not be broken and His body will not see corruption. He rose from the death, before the body started decaying.

1. The Hight Priest

Christ seeking forgiveness for the transgressors is the central point of His ministry. He must have been praying this prayer throughout His life as he was hated by His brethren and his enemies throughout His life.

Jesus being the High-Priest, after the order of Melchizedek, reveals His main ministry is intercession for the sinners. He became a man so that he can identify with our weaknesses and can be a merciful High-Priest.

2. The King

Jesus came to establish His kingdom here on the earth. After the paradise of Eden was lost due to the sin of man, the new paradise was regained through His death on the cross. The entry into this paradise is through faith.

Only the thief who professed faith in Christ and His kingdom would enter this paradise. The thief made the request on the basis of Jesus as the king and the coming kingdom will be exclusively through faith and by the grace of God.

3. The Perfect Man

Christ always kept the law and lived under the law of God. As the Son of Man, he had the obligation to take care of His mother. The other four brothers may have abandoned her because she decided to come to Jerusalem to be near Christ on the cross.

By comparing the four women at the cross (John 19:25-27 and Matthew 27:55,56), it is evident that John’s mother (wife of Zebedee) was the sister of Jesus’s mother, Mary. Therefore, John and Jesus were first cousins. It will be more reasonable to believe that Mary will be comfortable to stay with her sister when her own sons (James, Jose, Jude and Simon) may have abandoned her because of her decision to come to the crucifixion site of Jesus.

4. The Rejected One

When Jesus was crying “Eli, Eli lemma Sabachthanni”, in Aramaic, some of the bystanders thought He was calling Elijah the prophet. Assuming He was calling for Elijah to rescue him or offer him a drink, they gave him sour wine. Matthew says that they gave Him, sour wine mixed with gall as a fulfillment to the prophecy of Psalm 69:21. This was the pinnacle of insult on the dying man. In the first statement, Jesus addressed God as “Father”, but here the general term for God (Eli). God did not answer the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane and also this prayer at Calvary. This turning away of God from answering Christ’s prayer was for the sake of mankind. The death of Christ is in the plan of God. God did answer His prayer through resurrection three days after His death on the cross.

5. The Mocked Christ

The fifth statement, “I thirst” is in fulfillment of Psalm 69:21. Jesus’ own brothers must have played a practical joke on Christ during his life in Nazareth by giving him sour wine mixed with gall. David also may have received such insult from his brothers. But this was ultimately fulfilled on the cross when the soldiers teased him with an undrinkable mix of sour wine and gall.

6. The Perfect, Completed Act

The Greek word “tetellesthai” is a pluperfect and has the idea of “perfect completion” (more than completed). Everything that Christ came to do in His first coming was more than completed with the death of Christ. This is also a quotation from Psalm 22:31. This included, the church, the millennium and eternity.

7. A Willing Sacrifice

No one has the power or authority to take the life of Christ. At the time and the hour that God had decided in eternity past, he gave up His life as a voluntary sacrifice to God. Before the Roman soldiers could break his leg, he died. They pierced His side (lungs) and found water and blood coming out. This was a sure sign that Jesus died before they could kill Him.


The seven sayings of Christ on the cross was a perfect summary of the Person and Work of Christ. Even the words He would utter from the cross were predicted in the Old Testament. Satan, the Unbelieving Jews and the Romans were instruments in the hand of God to fulfill His plan.