I get a lot of inspiration from various daily devotionals. It helps me to see other people’s perspectives on an array of issues. One this week was entitled, “Last Words,” by Greg Laurie. He said, “If someone on their deathbed has one last statement, we want to know what it is.” So true … our final words as we face eternity reveal much about the state of the heart as well as a person’s character. For each person who has ever lived, living now, or living in the future, they will have a last meal, a last breath, and of course a last statement, so what is said in the end can be an insight into who we were in life, stood for, lived for.
I believe some people don’t know that they are uttering their last words (i.e., Michael Jackson, “This is it … This really is it!” and P.T. Barnum, “What were today’s receipts?”, both of whom died shortly after speaking those words). Some last words are careless or tragic, while others are filled with courage (i.e., Nathan Hale and Todd Beamer). Others are filled with faith. John Wesley said, “The best of all is: God is with us!” D. L. Moody declared, “I see earth receding, and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”
I believe in the Bible and believe what it says about Jesus uttering seven last statements from the cross:
1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34), praying for those who were crucifying Him.
2. “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43), pardoning the thief who was being being crucified next to Him.
3. “Woman, behold your son.” (To Mary, about John) and “Behold your mother!” (And to John, about Mary) (John 19:26¬–27), passing responsibility to His friend to take care of His mother.
4. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46), a plea to the Father. Theologians believe it was at this point that Jesus most likely bore all the sin of the world. By doing so, God treated Jesus as if He had lived our life, so He could treat you as if you had lived Jesus’ life—without sin.
5. “I thirst!” (John 19:28-29).
6. “It is finished!” (John 19:30), showing completion of the job Jesus had been given. Scripture tells us He shouted this with a loud voice, and heard by those who stood close at Calvary: the soldiers, the brave women, and the apostle John. But I just bet those words rang out throughout Heaven!
7. “Into Your hands I commit My spirit,” this final statement from Calvary shows Jesus had completed His work, He was able to depart.
From the cross, Jesus cared for others (His persecutors, a fellow prisoner, and His mother). Three of them were addressed directly to Father God (first, fourth, and seventh). When the day comes we take our last breath, we should be doing the same … calling on the Father. Jesus’ last words tell us a lot about the Son of God (and God Himself).
The dying words of Anton LeVey, author of the Satanic Bible and high priest of the religion dedicated to the worship of Satan, were, “Oh my, oh my, what have I done, there is something very wrong…there is something very wrong….” There’s no telling what Anton LeVey saw on his deathbud, but I doubt you will find a true Believer in Jesus Christ who has struggled with doubt on their deathbed, or lost their faith, or felt despair. My hope and assurance rests in what I know lies ahead!
Acts 7:55-60 “But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.”