40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: The 7 Last Words of Christ Scripture Search

Today’s Lenten activity is a Scripture search on the Seven Last Words of Christ. More on that in a second.


The Seven Last Words of Christ – A Scripture Search

  • Explain that, before dying, many people speak final words that express their feelings and thoughts at that moment.
  • Invite the young people to identify the speakers of these famous last words (fictional and non-fictional):
    • “Et tu, Brute?”  (Julius Caesar)
    • “I have been and always will be your friend. Live long. And prosper.” (Mr. Spock, The Wrath of Khan)
    • “Rosebud” (Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane)
    • “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” (Obi-Wan-Kenobi, Star Wars)
    • “I’m melting!” (Wicked Witch of the West, Wizard of Oz)
    • “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” (Todd Beamer, passenger aboard United Flight 93, September 11, 2001)
    • “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” (Nathan Hale, 1776)
  • Explain that as Jesus was dying on the cross, he said some very important words.


  • Provide Bibles for each of the young people and tell them to search for the following passages and to write down the words that Jesus spoke:
    • Luke 23:34 (Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.)
    • Luke 23:43 (Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise)
    • John 19:26-27 (Woman [Mary], behold your son. [to the disciple] Behold your mother.)
    • Matthew 27:46 and/or Mark 15:34 (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
    • John 19:28 (I thirst)
    • John 19:30 (It is finished.)
    • Luke 23:46 (Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.)
  • When everyone is finished, ask, “If you had never heard of or met Jesus before, and just happened to be passing by as he was dying on the cross, what kind of a person would you think he was based on his last words? What was most important to him?”
  • Explain that the Seven Last Words of Christ serve as an excellent Lenten meditation, especially during Holy Week.
  • Point out that a famous piece of music written by Franz Josef Hayden is named after the Seven Last Words of Christ. If possible, play a selection on CD.
  • Invite the young people to memorize (take to heart) the seven last words of Christ. See if any volunteers can recall them without looking at their written work.

40 Ideas for 40 Days
Download the PDF version of this activity.

40 Ideas for 40 Days
Check out all of the activities for Lent.
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.


  1. I did this activity with my 7th graders last night and it was very effective…..effective because I think they paid more attention to the stations of the cross. We only meet every other week and we did the stations in the chapel at our church on the Sunday before Ash Wed. as well as again last night. I’m learning that my students learn so much from repetition…even in 7th grade…I also reminded them that if they are not in good shape, their sore thighs (which I still feel from Friday night when I went to the Stations at our parish) from all the genuflecting are a constant reminder of the Stations of the Cross!

    Happy Regards,

    • Greg, I’m glad that this went well with your group. You’re right about repetition…I think it’s underrated!

  2. Thank you, Joe for what you are doing to help DRE’s & Catechists….and anyone else who happens upon your website! This is a powerful Resource for Lent and by encouraging our Catechists to “borrow” these ideas, May God’s work of converting the young hearts around us be enhanced. Peace!

  3. Thank you Joe! I will be using this with my 7th graders tonight. We are almost finished with our book, and I needed some good fill in material during Lent. This will be perfect! We are doing the Stations of the Cross every week before class.

  4. Hi! I am not a Catholic, but I was so thrilled to find your website. My husband and I have been using many of your ideas in our family devotions this season. It is the first year we have ever celebrated Lent, and already we have found such joy from the purposeful meditations and activities you have provided.

    I was so pleased with your material that I mentioned your site on my (very small-friends and family only:) blog and shared some of your ideas (always with attribution), along with the ways we have used them in our family, but then thought I should have gotten your permission first.

    I am sorry to be asking after the fact! Do you mind if I share your ideas in this way (either with a link or quotations and attribution)? I will be happy to conform to your preferences!

    I think many people of other denominations are also looking for ways to make the Easter celebration more meaningful, and I thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us! Blessings to you–

    • Hi Sandra and thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you are finding my resources helpful. By all means, share away! That’s why it’s on the blog…it’s meant to be spread! Lenten blessings!

  5. Hi Joe,
    We did the Seven Last Words of Christ the other night and my 7/8th graders loved it! I did adjust two of the fictional quotes from the introduction, using “Precious! Oh my precious!” (Gollum, from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) and “Severus…Please.” (Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie). But otherwise, we followed the activity to a T and it was perfect. I’ll be interested to see how many of my students remember Jesus’ last words when we meet again. What a wonderful Lenten activity for middle schoolers. Thanks so much for posting it!!

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