Published May 9, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Last Words"

For some reason, humans are intrigued by "famous last words" – the final words of people (especially well-known people) before they die.

There are the famous patriotic "last words" of American revolutionary Nathan Hale: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country..."

There are some practical last words, such as those of the late Conrad Hilton, the famous hotel magnate: "Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub." Amen.

And there are famous last words that could only be described as "obvious," such as these from horticulturist Luther Burbank: "I don't feel good."

History is full of "farewell addresses" and "famous last words," most of which are more profound than those above. Several such last words are found in Scripture, such as Joseph's last words to the children of Israel (Genesis 50).

If "last words" are so important (and surely they are), what were Jesus' last words? What instruction did He want to get across to his followers more than any other during the time following His resurrection and before His ascension?

Acts 1, beginning with verse three, tells us Christ spent much of the time during those forty days with His disciples, "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God...."

But there is one overriding theme to what He had to say. In fact, the three synoptic Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) tell us little else. Christ's primary instructions to His disciples were, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20.)

That is what's known as the "Great Commission," and it's a commission that has never been revoked. It's a commission that extends to each of us, individually, as believers.

What were Christ's very last words? In Acts 1:8, as He gathered the apostles on a hilltop, He told them, " shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." And in the very next verse, He was taken up into heaven.

Talk about "famous last words!"

The apostles, of course, had first-hand knowledge of the Lord. They had lived with Him, traveled with Him, listened to His teachings for the past three years. We haven't had that benefit. Does that disqualify us from being witnesses? No, because each of us as Christians have first-hand knowledge of what Christ has done for us – personally, individually.

What kind of witness have you been about what the Lord has done for you and what He can do for anyone else you meet? What kind of witness do you want to be? Have you been faithfully doing what the Lord commanded each of us to do — to be a witness for Him? Have you been living the Great Commission?

- Paul

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