Summary: The last words of a dying man can tell us a great deal about his life; the last words of Jesus on the cross are a message to us of what his life was about and what our lives should be.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
A. The last words of a dying man.
1. What are the four last words of an aggie? “…Hey, ya’ll, watch ‘is!”
2. The last words of a dying man tell us a great deal about him.
B. Famous last words in history.
1. Entrepreneur, P. T. Barnum, d. 1891 “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?”
2. John Barrymore, actor, d. May 29, 1942 “Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”
3. Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957 “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
4. Before slipping into a coma and dying 9 days later; Sir Winston Churchill, the statesman who is famous for his commencement address of “Never give up!” died January 24, 1965 with this last words. “I’m bored with it all.” Sounds like he gave up to me!
5. To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity; the revolutionary communist, Karl Marx, died in 1883 with these last words… “Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
6. Writer Oscar Wilde, died November 30, 1900 saying, “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”
7. William Saroyan was a Pulitzer Prize winning writer of plays, short stories, and novels whose works were noted for their sentimental optimism. Before his death in 1981, Saroyan telephoned his final words to the Associated Press. “Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?”
8. Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, died in 1702; his last words… “I am about to -- or I am going to -- die: either expression is correct.”
9. Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170 “I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.”
C. But there is one man in history whose last words not only tell us a great deal about him, but also tell us a great deal about how we should live our lives.
1. 2000 years ago a man, Jesus of Nazareth hung dying on a cross for the sins of the whole world.
2. Seven phrases were recorded from his lips on that day.
3. Those famous last words are revelation to us about our savior and about our own lives as his believers.
I. A Man of Forgiveness -- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:33-38)
A. Jesus was the same in life and in death.
1. Luke 6:27-29 -- 27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.” NAS.
2. He lived in forgiveness and he died in forgiveness.
II. A Man of Mission -- "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
A. Even when it would have been very easy to focus on his own pain and heartache, Jesus remembered what he was about.
1. Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." NAS
2. With his last breath, Jesus was living out his purpose in life.
B. We can lose our perspective and forget what we are here for.
III. A Man of Compassion -- He said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" (John 19:25b-27)
A. He was always thinking about others.
1. This was for both his mother and for John.
2. His mother would have physical needs that must be addressed.
3. John would have emotional needs. (He was the tenderhearted one of the twelve.)
B. We can take a lesson from his last words of compassion.
IV. A Man of Communion -- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45-46)
A. Now the father has turned his face from the son.
1. The greatest pain of the death of Jesus was his separation from the Father.
2. At some point the son carried the wrath of God for the sin of the whole world.
3. The son was separated from the Father for our sakes.
B. The greatest pain of Christ on the cross was not physical but spiritual.
1. After a human life of absolute communion with the Father, the thought of separation was pain that seemed unbearable.
2. In all of eternity the Father and the Son had been one, in this moment, the Son understood separation from the Father.