Mark 15:34, Jesus’ Final Words

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

//The first three Gospels report Jesus crying loudly from the cross before he dies. In Mark, the first Gospel written, it’s a primal scream of loneliness and despair. Matthew, the second Gospel written, agrees with Mark about the words of this final death cry, but Luke—the third Gospel—cannot imagine a Christ this human, and changes the death cry thusly:

Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Much better. Jesus now dies heroically, his final act a humanitarian promise to a thief beside him, his final cry welcoming the warmth of his Father’s embrace. It is the exact opposite of Mark, but precisely the image Luke portrays of Jesus throughout his Gospel.

So what does the final Gospel say? John, remember, gives hints throughout his Gospel that Jesus will be lifted up in glory. This “lifting up,” he explains at one point, refers precisely to Jesus being lifted up on the cross. So, for John, the cross is the greatest victory of all. Listen to the final words of Jesus in this Gospel:

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John’s Jesus remains in perfect control of his surroundings, from beginning to end. John’s Jesus, you will recall, is a stranger to the earth, dispatched by his Father in heaven, with a job to do. His last act is to accept a drink of vinegar, so that every scripture will be fulfilled, and his last words indicate an earthly job completed.

Very different theologies. What do you think Jesus’ final words were?


  1. Jesus saying he was forsaken has always challenged me.

    In answer to your question, I think Mark is probably most likely to be correct.

    But how was God the Son forsaken by God the Father? Was this the one time the Three were not One? What was actually happening? Traditional theology seems to suggest that the whole worlds sin attributed to the Son was what separated the two, but I struggle to get my head around this.

    There is reference back to Psalm 22 in this and other aspects of the crucifixion. I looked at that just this morning and it got me thinking again about prophecy. How does that fit into free will? Was Jesus using a Psalm in which Davids experiences resonated with his one, to send a message to his disciples? Or was David prophesying?

    Thanks for being thought provoking!

  2. I personally do not think Mark had any concept of the Trinity. At least as we understand it today. His understanding of Jesus wasn’t God.

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