Back when I lived in Miami, our church presented the oratory, “The 7 Last Words of Christ”. They are not found all in one Gospel, but are scattered through all four of them.
The 7 Last Words of Christ
- Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). This is the ultimate forgiveness. Jesus is forgiving the people who betrayed Him, who called Him a liar, who mocked Him, who were killing Him.
- Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43). Here He is telling the two thieves who were being crucified with Him that their sins are forgiven and that they would be with Him in Heaven.
- Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26-27). He tells the disciple He trusted the most, John, to take care of His mother, Mary.
- Eli Eli lama sabachthani? (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”) Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) Jesus was human, in pain and here in a moment of extreme suffering, He pleads to His Father.
- I thirst (John 19:28). This again shows that He is human.
- It is finished (John 19:30). The prophecy is fulfilled, His job is done. Legalism is finished.
- Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46). He died and His spirit went to Heaven. Only His body hung on the cross.
If Jesus can forgive those who turned against Him, then He can forgive your sins no matter how bad they are.
If Jesus can guarantee that two thieves would be in Heaven with Him, then you, too, can have the same guarantee no matter what you’ve done.
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”Luke 23:39-43
You notice he didn’t say, “Today you will be with me in Purgatory.” Jesus had never sinned. He is the only person ever to live that deserves his place in Heaven. The criminal, however, had sin. Some of the Gospels call him a thief. That’s a sin. He didn’t deserve a ticket to Heaven. He had a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Hell.
Unlike the other criminal, he believed that Jesus was the King and that he would be going to His Kingdom. Thus, Jesus promised him that as soon as he died, he would be in Heaven — not Purgatory. Now, we don’t know if the first criminal was also forgiven or not. Jesus may have forgiven both of them. We won’t know until we get to Heaven and find out for ourselves.
If you want the assurance of a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven, this is what you have to do — it’s actually rather simple…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!