We place great significance on someone’s last words. We lean in and hang on every syllable. Given the opportunity, what would yours be?
It’s only been a week since we celebrated the glory of the empty tomb, but stand with me again at the foot of the cross. In those final agonizing hours as He bore the sins of the world – our sins, Jesus’ seven last words from the cross are worth drawing close to.
And not to minimize the other six phrases (Luke 23:34, Luke 23:43, John 19:26-27, Matthew 27:46, John 19:28, John 19:30), Jesus’ very last words were, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46 NASB). Sounds appropriate for anyone about to die, but did you realize He was quoting Scripture? Yep. Psalm 31:5. This short verse was something all Jewish parents taught their children to pray each night before falling asleep.
You know sometimes in a believer’s last days on earth as their earthly tent is wearing out, a person loses recall and precious memories slip away. Even the name of a loved one can drift sadly out of reach. But amazingly, if you start reading Scripture or singing a hymn (which is often full of Scripture), their lips will begin to move in sync with yours and words will flow. How can that be?
Above all else, why does Scripture find its way to the lips of Jesus as He breathes His final breath or of someone today suffering such great distress?
I believe it’s because the Word was treasured in their hearts during life. It happens when someone understands you don’t live by bread alone and only the Word of God is precious nourishment for the soul. It is the supernatural end result of a life that abided in the Word, meditated on the Word, memorized the Word, prayed the Word, experienced the Word, and shared the Word. It comes from drawing your very breath from the Living Word.
Jesus fell asleep in His Father’s arms with forgiveness in His heart (“Father, forgive them…”), love for His family (“Woman, behold, your son…”), with the assurance of a life well lived (“It is finished”), and Scripture on His lips, (“Father, into Your hands…”).
I realize none of us want to think about the end of our life with so much life still to live. But if you want Scripture to be present in your last breath, then, like Jesus, it must be present in your every breath.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…for it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life (Colossians 3:16; Deuteronomy 32:47 NASB).
© 2014 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries