Rotarians hear ‘The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross’

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jesus Christ spoke seven times while dying on the Cross to redeem mankind.

His seven expressions are known as his Seven Words.

Rotarian Michael Lawler presented the program at the luncheon meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday. He chose the “The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross” for the Holy Week program.

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“These Seven Words Jesus spoke from the cross and they are reminders of His love and his sacrifice,” Lawler said. “Jesus said, in John 15:13, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for all mankind. It was our sins and our shortcomings that put Him on the cross.”

Lawler said crucifixion was the cruelest execution the Romans could think of.

“Jesus was placed on the Cross with his arms extended and his hands were nailed to the cross,” Lawler said.

“His feet were crossed and one spike was nailed through them. As Jesus was being nailed to the cross, He spoke his first word, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ In His greatest agony, Jesus asked for the forgiveness of those who tortured Him and He was asking God to forgive us for our sins that placed Him on the cross.”

One of the thieves there were nailed on crosses on either side of Jesus, mocked him but the thief on the right side spoke up for Jesus.

“He said of Jesus, ‘this man has done nothing wrong,’” Lawler said. “Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

Lawler said people often ask what heaven will be like.

“Jesus told us with his Second Word,” he said. “It will be Paradise.”

Jesus’ Third Word was spoken to Mary his mother and John his beloved disciple who were at the foot of the Cross.

“Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son’ and then he said to John, ‘This is your mother,’” Lawler said. “Jesus wanted to make sure there was someone to take care of His mother and it was John that He chose.”

In the ninth hour of his crucifixion, after three hours of darkness, Jesus cried out His Fourth Word, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

“The cry is from the painful heart of the human Jesus who must have felt deserted by his Father,” Lawler said. “The Fifth Word of Jesus, ‘I thirst,’ is His only him expression of His physical suffering.”

Lawler said, in response, Jesus was offered up a vinegar-filled sponge on a thorny pole.

“When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said His Sixth Word, ‘It is finished,’” Lawler said. “He bowed his head and handed over the spirit and gave His loved for mankind by redeeming us with His death on the Cross.

“Jesus’ Seventh Word was directed to His Father in Heaven, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ He took his final breath and died.

“Jesus was placed in a new tomb and on the third day, the stone was rolled away and Jesus was not there. He claimed the victory over sin and death for all mankind.”