(By Ron Allen) As Jesus hung on the cross, struggling painfully for each breath, He uttered seven short, powerful statements showing who He was and what was happening, and encouraging those who would follow Him. It was His last sermon.

1. “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus is not only practicing the forgiveness He preached (Matt. 5:44), He is asserting His divinity as God who forgives sin (Ps. 103:3). Beyond that, however, He is announcing the beginning of the New Covenant under which our sins will be forgiven (Jer. 31:33, 34).

2. “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Jesus’ promise of life to the criminal on the cross tells us He has authority over heaven (Ps. 115:16), He will conquer death (Ps. 16:10) and through Him we also will live (John 14:19). He is the priest of the New Covenant because of His indestructible life (Heb. 7:16, 17). CONTINUE