Sunday, March 25, 2012

Famous Last Words

One day someone said to me, 'Famous last words,' and kept going. I shrugged off the comment, but starting thinking about last words. Some people say, "Actions speak louder than words," but I think that someone's lasts words might be pretty poignant too. 

I looked up the, "famous last words" from some famous people. The following is a list of what they said with their dying breath:   

"Thomas Jefferson--still survives..."
~~ John Adams, US President, d. July 4, 1826
(Actually, Jefferson had died earlier that same day.)

"This is the last of earth! I am content."
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

"See in what peace a Christian can die."
~~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719

"How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?"
~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

"I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace."
~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170

"Friends applaud, the comedy is finished."
~~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827

"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

~~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, May 5, 1821

"I am not the least afraid to die."
~~ Charles Darwin, d. April 19, 1882

"I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven."
Giving his reasons for refusing to see a priest as he lay dying.
~~ Pietro Perugino, Italian painter, d. 1523

"Lord help my poor soul."
~~ Edgar Allan Poe, writer, d. October 7, 1849

"I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you."
Spoken to his wife.
~~ James K. Polk, US President, d. 1849

"I die hard but am not afraid to go."
~~ George Washington, US President, d. December 14, 1799

"I am ready."
~~ Woodrow Wilson, US President, d. 1924
~~William Wallace (1270-1305, Scottish Patriot) 
[Ascribed to him in the film "Braveheart"; his actual last words, before being hanged, disemboweled, drawn and quartered, are unknown.]

Some of the above "famous last words" were so sad to me, but f we really could choose our final words to those around us, what would it be? I think I would tell my husband that he is my truest love, my best friend-the first person who ever showed me the true love of Jesus. How his faith has been a steady and strong rock upon which I have needed to rest on many times. I would encourage him to keep, keeping his eyes on Jesus and to pass his faith onto our children.

I thought about what I might say to my children if I knew I was going to die. What words of wisdom would I leave with them? What would I say?  I think I would say, Follow after Jesus with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. I would tell them how much I love them. How proud I am of each one of them. How God has a plan for their life and although I may leave this earth, God is with you always.

But if I could only speak one sentence I hope it would be:
"Only, ever, just for my Jesus."

I know it may seem sad to even think about, but at around this same time I was working on my Bible study homework and as I read the story in the Gospels where Jesus and the apostles are in the upper room~ it hit me! Everything Jesus tells them in that room over dinner are His last words. His final words. His final teaching to them. Jesus' famous last words. I perked up my ears to hear what Jesus had to say to them.

While in the upper room with the apostles, during the Passover meal, Jesus says:

- "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28) (Mark 14:24) (Luke 22:20) Jesus tells the apostles that He will be the final blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins for all mankind!

In the book of Luke we find:
"Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials, and I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:25-32)

- "Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment." (Luke 22:37b)

In the Book of John we find:
- "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34:35)

- "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would not have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4)

- "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)

- "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so the at the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)

- "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth." (John  14-15) (The rest of chapter 14 Jesus teaches the apostles about the Holy Spirit).

- Chapter 15:5 is when Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

- "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." (John 15:9)

- "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13)

- "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear." (John 16:12) Chapters 14, 15, and 16 are filled with some of my favorite teachings and verses from the whole Bible. Chapter 17 Jesus prays for Himself and chapter 18 Jesus prays for us. (He's so amazing).

In the garden after the supper was finished we find Jesus saying:

- "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39) (Mark 14:34)  (Luke 22:42)

For me, reading over Jesus' last words, knowing that they were in fact His last words before His death, the words that hit my heart the strongest are,  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34:35)

Do you hear that? Love one another as I have loved you. How did Jesus love us? He lived a sacrificial life. He pursued no career so that He could spend His days teaching us -healing us. With no career- He had no job and slept outside. He had no house, no wife, no children, no bed, no pillow, no wardrobe- nothing to call His own. The only thing He called His own was us. We are all He wanted and still wants. He was bruised, beaten, crowned with thrones, crucified for us. His life was completely sacrificial. His love was completely sacrificial. and He says to us-go and do as I have done. Go and love as I have loved. Love one another with that same sacrificial love. No longer love one another as you love yourself. It's a higher calling. A much higher calling.

In Jesus' final hours He reminded them to serve, to listen for God's voice, accept Him as their Savior, work at remaining in His love, forgive others that betray you and pray for God's perfect will to be done in your life. Then He says, "Love one another as I have loved you." (That's so holy). Love as Jesus' has loved. Love one another to serve, to pray for another, to believe for healing for another, to die for another. To love others more than your very life. Jesus' famous last, last words were:

"It is finished."
-Jesus Christ.

If you have any doubt- Jesus tells us- HE has conquered death and sin!

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