For over six agonizing hours Christ Jesus spoke seven times while He was nailed to and hung by those spikes on the cross. The following verses will establish the time of day on that Friday before the Passover Feast and will put His spoken words into chronological order:
Mark 15:25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
In relation to our time-keeping, the Jewish day began at 6:00 a.m. Therefore the third hour would have been 9:00 a.m. From that nine o’clock hour until noon Jesus made His first three declarations.
1) The first was when He asked the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him:
Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Not only did He desire to forgive those who were cruelly torturing and killing Him, but He knew that His work on the cross would make forgiveness possible for all who would have faith in Him, trust in Him, and believe that He is truly the Son of God.
2) His second statement gives us confidence that we will see our loved ones in heaven—those who, upon their death, were (and are) true believers in that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior:
Luke 23:39-43 39Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
3) The third time Jesus spoke, He made sure His mother would be well-cared-for:
John 19:25-27 25Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clōpas, and Mary Magdalēne. 26When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
Jesus was telling his mother, Mary, that John the apostle, who loved Him, would be the one He trusted to take care of her.
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
The last four statements were made during the three hours prior to His death—between noon and 3:00 p.m.
4) The fourth time He spoke was at about 3:00 p.m. when, although He was feeling the sheer, gruesome, horrific pain, it was probably the aloneness—as no one else could do what He was appointed to do—to take away the sin of the entire world. He quoted Psalm 22:1:
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Elī, Elī, lama sabachthanī?” That is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Elōī, Elōī, lama sabachthanī?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Psalm 22:1 MY God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?
5) His fifth cry began to express the physical agony of which He was experiencing:
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I Thirst!”
The prophecy that He was fulfilling was Psalm 22:15:
Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.
6) After the torturers filled a sponge on a long hyssop with sour wine and put up to His mouth, He made a shout of victory—not a cry of defeat. He was not finished, but He had completed the work of redemption for those of mankind who would believe in Him.
John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head He gave up His spirit.
7) Jesus possibly referred to Psalm 31:5 written by David as He knew His work was done, and that the Father would soon have the Holy Spirit raise Him back to life:
Luke 23:44-46 44Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two [in the middle]. 46And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Psalm 31:5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Matthew, in agreement with Luke, adds more to what went on when that temporary end of Jesus’ life on earth occurred:
Matthew 27:50-51 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split
Mark 15:39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite him saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.