The stage was set. The night was dark. The forces of evil, visible and invisible, viciously swarmed upon One Man. He is the only Man who with just one word could have instantly eradicated all His foes.
But He opened not his mouth. There was nothing but deafening silence from the One who only had to speak and the blind saw, the lame leapt, the leper was healed, and the dead were raised.
He quietly endured the shame of a jeering crowd, the interrogation, the trial, the questions, the scourging, the torture, the insults.
His silence remained unbroken all the way to the place of the Skull.
“And He, bearing His Cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17). And then, Jesus opened His mouth:
Seven Words of Life He cried,
Seven Words with His last breath.
Seven Words as Jesus died,
Seven Words of Life from the Tree of Death.
A close look at Christ's seven final sayings from the cross clearly explains why there’s so much “good” in “Good Friday.”
First “A Word of Prayer:” Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..." (Luke 23:34).
Remarkably, the Savior’s final seven sayings start with prayer. After all the torture, flogging, abuse and grueling ascent to Calvary—Christ prays. In history's darkest moment He finds himself in prayer’s familiar light—a prayer of forgiveness. Have you received Christ's gift of forgiveness? Have you forgiven those who have wounded you?
Secondly, “A Word of Pardon:” “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43).
Of all those present at the cross, to whom does the savior grant divine pardon—a despicable thief! While His broken body was suspended high, the thief's broken heart was bowed low before the Lord of Glory. His humble prayer, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” was divinely answered. Do you see your need of divine pardon?
Thirdly, “A Word of Paternity:” “...He saith unto his mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ Then saith he to the disciple, ‘Behold thy mother!’ ” (John 19:26, 27).
Imagine the pain Mary endured, watching her son die a most brutal death. We see in Mary and John a picture of Christ’s divine care for the widow and orphan. Social justice from the cross! Miraculously, while Jesus’ physical body was being torn, His spiritual body was being formed. Are you expressing Christ’s paternal care for those in need?
Fourthly, “A Word of Pain.” “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
This cry of dereliction is accompanied by three hours of inexplicable night, in the middle of the day. God's wrath upon ALL evil and sin—aimed like an arrow at the heart of sinners, is now fully absorbed by the Friend of Sinners. The “Light of the World” hangs abandoned—enveloped in a world of darkness. Have you looked to one who can truly “feel your pain,” in your darkest moment?
Fifthly, “A Word of Passion.” “After this, Jesus...saith, ‘I thirst’” (John 19:28). Here hanging on the brink of death we hear the source of ‘Living Water’ cry, ‘I thirst.’”
How remarkable that the briefest cross saying was the only word uttered about His own discomfort. In the “passion of His thirst,” the Man of Sorrows endured unspeakable agony on the Tree of Death. When's the last time you reflected on the extent of Christ's suffering for you?
Sixthly, “A Word of Perfection.” “It is finished..."(John 19:30). Victory over sin and death is triumphantly proclaimed! Are you on the exhausting hamster wheel of human performance, or have you found lasting completion in His finished work?
Lastly, “A Word of Peace.” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit..." (Luke 23:46). Jesus died as He lived, depending upon His Father. The Prince of Peace now rests in peace so that restless sinners can experience the supernatural peace of God. And though he rests, he will RISE ON THE THIRD DAY!
So dark and barbaric was His death, but so glorious His resurrection. Such was the profound lesson I learned one Easter morning in Old Salem Square as a young boy warmly bundled in my parents embrace. Suddenly, at the crack of dawn, we heard the sound of a lone voice high above the crowd, “The Lord is Risen!” To which everyone exclaimed more loudly, “THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!”
Good words on a Good Friday.