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Summary: While “aspire to inspire before you expire” is a catchy, insightful one-liner, when it comes to the lives of numerous heroes’ of faith, it is how they expired with motivational words seemingly on their dying lips, which leaves an indelible impression in u

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Dying declarations

“Nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire”! Now is this Latin maxim, all “Greek and Latin” to my congregation? I can “justifiably” empathize with those not in touch with the “World of Justice” for it is the Latin maxim carrying a lot of relevance to only men donning black and white coats and honorable Judges carrying gavel. It simply means a man will not meet his Maker with a lie in his mouth, as such the final last words of any dying individual involved in a case carries lot of legal sanctity. That there are many instances’ of they (Dying declarations) totally tilting the legal proceedings one-way or the other is an indisputable fact! Section 32 (1) of Indian Evidence Act, deals with the significance of the Dying declarations.

Now let’s switch tracks and come to the spiritual realm. The famous last words of many a Biblical giant are of special significance to us, for they are not only truly authentic but also highly inspirational. While “aspire to inspire before you expire” is a catchy, insightful one-liner, when it comes to the lives of numerous heroes’ of faith, it is how they expired with motivational words seemingly on their dying lips, which leaves an indelible impression in us all. In this sermon, I intend to capture and encapsulate the final moments of some of Biblical stalwarts including the GREATEST OF EM’ ALL, drawing valuable lessons in the process…

1. Prophecy: Jacob, the Patriarch from who descended the twelve tribes of Israel was anything but truthful most of his life. His victims of deception included amongst others his own father, elder brother (Genesis 25:30-34/27) and father-in-law, who himself was no mean schemer (Genesis 29:16-25/30:25-43). Hence, it comes as no surprise that even after his life-transforming experience of “wrestling with the Celestial One” and “exchanging” his own limited strength for that of Divine (Genesis 32:22-32), Jacob himself falls prey to the deception of his own sons. If anything, in the incident described in Genesis 37:12-35, the truth emerges that “Sowing-reaping” principle catches up with everyone…even with a Chosen one like Jacob, making a wrongdoer invariably taste “the bitterness of his own medicine”.

Now, it is another matter that even the slips and falls of His chosen ones’ are woven skillfully into the tapestry of Eternity by the Master weaver all with a purpose of bringing out a greater beautiful design later. While we with the benefit of hindsight would know that what was heartbreak for Jacob, was actually breakthrough for Joseph, (Genesis 45:4-10), it is stirring prophecy of Jacob in his death bed (Genesis 48-49), which would capture the imagination of any Bible student. This deceiver had come a long, a long way growing strong in his relationship with His Creator post the Wrestling encounter. The personal tragedies like early demise of his beloved life Rachael and the painful separation from his favorite son Joseph only brought about a greater refining influence in him, which can be discerned from a marked change in his demeanor in his final years.


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