The traditional Seven Last Words of Jesus are taken from all four Gospels; no one gospel includes all seven. They obviously come from different oral traditions, since the Gospels were written 50 to 80 years after the events they describe. Metaphysically, the number seven is very significant, from the seven days of creation at the beginning of the Bible to the seven letters to seven churches in the final book, the Revelation to John. In fact, it’s a significant number in most spiritual disciplines, suggesting that there are seven stages in our spiritual process of creating the new consciousness that Jesus calls the kingdom of heaven. The Seven Last Words, in the order they are usually given, are as follows:

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Forgiveness—a releasing of judgment and resentment, letting go of “victim” consciousness—is the essential first step in the creative process of “Let there be Light” in Genesis: let me be open to the creative possibilities of any challenge.   “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

This is in response to one thief’s willingness to accept the consequences for his own choices (as opposed to the other thief, who demands that Jesus change the situation). Just as the second day of creation involves a firmament dividing one reality from another, so must we recognize that we have choices, and those choices have consequences.

[Jesus] said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)

This is the creative step of gathering like to like. Jesus brings the loving energy of his mother together with the same energy expressing through his beloved disciple, John, so that in supporting each other the energy can grow and flourish.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)

Jesus is quoting a psalm which triumphantly affirms that the Power of God does not, in fact, forsake us ever. In terms of Genesis, this is the creation of the sun and moon.  And the only way to fully appreciate the existence of the light is by experiencing the darkness. (George Lamsa, in his translation of the Gospels from Aramaic, suggests that this is a mistranslation; the same sounds in Aramaic could also mean “My God, my God, for this I was born.”)   “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

This fifth word relates to Jesus’ humanity, and the fifth step of creation relates to the Power of Life. Even in the midst of our most intense spiritual involvement, our human dimension must be honored and appreciated. 

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

In the creative process, we reach the point of realizing that we have done all that we can do. The process is not yet complete, but our work is complete.

“Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

The final step of creation is to surrender fully to the Power of God. Having done our part through the first six steps, we surrender to the Source, so that its infinite Power can carry our creative energies to a sense of completion.

I think it is useful to see the final words as an affirmation of what Jesus was creating by moving through this humanly painful, spiritually challenging process. He was creating an expression of eternal Life, an enduring example encouraging us to dissolve our fears and move forward as he moves forward, to create a new consciousness.   Blessings!

Rev. Ed



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