Book Review: Seven Last Words by James Martin, SJ

  • 7LastWordsHardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062431382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062431387
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches

Many thanks to HarperOne for this review copy of Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus by James Martin, SJ.


Seven Last Words is based on a series of talks Rev. James Martin, SJ, gave at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Good Friday 2015.  James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest.

A chapter is devoted to each of the last words of Jesus from the cross: 1. Jesus Understands the Challenge of Forgiveness2. Jesus Understands Doubts About the Afterlife. 3. Jesus Understands A Parent’s Love4. Jesus Understands Feelings of Abandonment5. Jesus Understands Physical Pain 6. Jesus Understands Disappointment.  7. Jesus Understands Self-Offering.  Rev. Martin uses each of the last words of Jesus to reveal how deeply Jesus understands our predicaments (whether physical, spiritual, or emotional), what it means for him to be fully human, and why we can turn to him completely, in mind, heart, and soul.  Apart from his own insights, Rev. Martin finds himself drawing on theologians and NT scholars from the Roman Catholic tradition.


The work is well-written, with beautiful illustrations, and it flows well.  For an evangelical, it’s refreshing at times to read the works of others outside my tradition.  Apart from the traditions and practices that are unique to Roman Catholics, which are mentioned and alluded to, there many things I can get on board with in this work.  For one, I do appreciate how understanding the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth can help us turn to him more readily and completely in our times of need.

Along the way, Rev. Martin does engage in a lot of speculations (to his credit he does say where he is going).  It’s the writers way of exploring more and more the humanity of Jesus.  As a reader, you have to be prepared for where some of the speculations take you.  It can be daunting.


Evangelicals, if you want to challenge yourself in your Holy Week and Easter season reflections and meditations, James Martin, SJ, Seven Last Words, is not a bad read.  As I said above, it refreshing to read someone outside of my own tradition.  Seven Last Words is one such work.

This entry was posted in Easter, Holy Week, Humanity of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, Roman Catholic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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