The seven last words of Jesus Christ from the cross on as recorded by the Four Gospels in English and Latin
The Seven Last “Words” of Jesus Christ from the cross are actually 7 short phrases that Jesus uttered on Calvary that serve as an excellent holy week meditation. To find all of the seven last words of Jesus Christ, one must read all the gospels since none of the evangelists records all 7 last words from the cross. The sayings would have been originally uttered by Jesus in the Aramaic language, but only one of the last seven words of Jesus is preserved for us in the original Aramaic, namely “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani” or “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” which is actually a direct quote of the opening verse of Psalm 22.
The rest of the seven last words of Jesus from the cross are found in the gospels after having been translated into Greek by the four Evangelists. We reproduce them here in Latin as well as English, since the Latin version of the Seven Last Words of Christ has been used so extensively in sacred music, notably by composers such as Franz Josef Hayden. For centuries these seven last words of Jesus have been also used as meditation points for spiritual conferences, retreats, and Lenten missions. They are particularly wonderful to use for prayer during Holy Week, especially on Good Friday.
1. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Lk. 23: 34 Pater, dimitte illis, quia nesciunt, quid faciunt.
2. “This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Hodie mecum eris in Paradiso. Lk. 23: 43
3. “Woman, behold thy son.” Mulier, ecce filius tuus. Jn. 19: 26-7
4. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Deus meus, Deus meus, utquid dereliquisti me? Mk. 15: 34 (Mt. 27: 46)
5. “I thirst.” Sitio. Jn. 19: 28.
6. “It is finished.” Consummatum est. Jn 19: 30
7. “Into thine hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. Lk. 23:46, which is a quote from Psalm 31:6.
This collection of the seven (7) last words of Jesus from the Cross is offered as a meditation on the Passion of Christ, especially appropriate during Lent, Holy Week, and Good Friday. For more food for meditation, see the Lenten Library and the Holy Week Library of the Crossroads Initiative Website.
For more on Palm Sunday and Holy Week, see the Holy Week section of the Crossroads Initiative Library.