According to Christians, Jesus was the most important person who ever lived. His death was the most monumental death ever to occur in human history. So what were Jesus’ dying words? If he said something, and if there were witnesses, surely these words would have been carefully and accurately recorded by the early Christians.
According to the Gospels, at the time of his death, Jesus was surrounded by numerous eyewitnesses: his mother, the Beloved Disciple, several female followers, the Roman centurion, other Roman soldiers, and if John is correct, even the chief priests, scribes, and elders.
Yet…no one today knows for sure the last words of this man!
Here are Jesus’ last words as recorded in the four Gospels, documents allegedly written by eyewitnesses to this event or by the close associates of eyewitnesses to this event:
Mark: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” …And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and gave up the ghost. (words not recorded)
Matthew: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” …Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” (words not recorded)
Luke: And when Jesus cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit“; and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
John: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished“; and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Gary: And fundamentalist Christians want us to believe that these four books were written by eyewitnesses or their close associates! Nonsense! What’s more, there is good evidence that some (maybe all?) of these sayings were invented! There are seven alleged sayings of Jesus if we add together all of the alleged statements in the four Gospels. However, there is one saying that is absent from many early manuscripts! Why?
Excerpt from The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry, p. 125, by Jewish author, Michael J. Alter:
The words recorded in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do”, are missing from some of the oldest manuscripts.
[Some scholars] speculate that this passage was added based on a numerical motivation to have seven sayings of Jesus and not six, which for early Christians, carried a negative connotation.
Gary: The four Gospels are theological documents written in an ancient literary style that allowed considerable embellishment. The evidence shows time and again that these books should not be viewed as historically accurate modern biographies.