Last words are important! The supreme essence of a life may often be summed up in an individual’s last words. That is why I do not see, for the life of me, how anyone could go to the foot of the Cross, hear the seven last statements Jesus uttered during His crucifixion, and have any doubt at all about His divinity. I truly believe that anyone who spends any time lingering at the foot of the Cross will come away saying exactly what the centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion exclaimed:
“Truly, this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).
It is tough to stand by and witness someone in a time of crisis, a time of trouble, a time when everything that was nailed down is coming up and confusion reigns. But how much we appreciate those individuals who stand by at such times. We know that, in addition to the soldiers, there were several others who stood at the foot of the Cross as Jesus suffered and died on our behalf.
One of those individuals was Mary, the mother of Jesus. We do not have any recorded words by Mary as she stood there, but we can imagine her anguish and suspect that she was remembering how Simeon, as he held the infant Jesus in his arms, prophesied that a sword would one day pierce her heart.
How much we learn about our Savior’s love for His mother, that He, in one of His statements from the Cross, spoke directly to His mother. Between that dramatic second word to the dying thief and that fourth word, Jesus says a very plain domestic word to His mother and to John. “Woman, behold your son,” He said to Mary as He looked at her and at the disciple He loved. And to John, “Behold, your mother.” From that hour, we read, John took Mary into his own household. From the Cross, Jesus was fulfilling the commandment to honor our parents.
If you are familiar with the old Fanny Crosby hymn “Near the Cross,” you may recall the words of one of the stanzas:
Near the Cross, O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me,
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadows o’er me.
If you stay near the foot of the Cross for any length of time, you can be certain of one thing – it will forever change the way you walk.