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Summary: Lessons we can learn from Jesus’ final words on Good Friday. Part one of two-part message.

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<>The final words of a person are very important.

--Our judicial system gives the final words of an individual extra weight, extra status in court trials, deeming death-bed testimonies to be of a special nature.

--The final conversations of a pilot and others in the cockpit of an airplane provide valuable information to investigators in the National Aviation Safety Administration.

---In fact, I’ve often wondered why we don’t just make the planes out of the same stuff the black boxes are made out of since the black boxes seem to always be intact after a crash.

<>The final words of a person who knows he/she is facing death at any moment reveal a lot about a person’s true values, true thoughts, true viewpoints.

---QUOTE>P. T. Barnum’s last words, spoken from his death bed on an evening where “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the Barnum circus, had performed at Madison Square Garden: “How were the receipts for today’s show?”

---QUOTE>Florence Ziegfield, likewise revealed his “bent” toward show business firmly ingrained in his thoughts. His final words: “Curtain! Fast music! Light! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good!”

---QUOTE>Louis B. Mayer, a man known for creating fantasy on the big screen, uttered these last words: “Nothing matters. Nothing matters.”

---QUOTE>Oscar Wilde: “Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.”

---QUOTE>Pancho Villa, famous outlaw, mindful of the significance of last words, uttered these: “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something important.”

---QUOTE>Louise, Queen of Prussia, was profound in her understanding of death: “I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms.”

-Death certainly brings with it the recognition of our own mortality and how our own power is limited, and how our life’s deeds are too late to change.

---QUOTE>Elizabeth 1, Queen of England, recognizing death was just moments away cried out, “All my possessions for a moment of time!”

---QUOTE>Voltaire, well-known atheist and antagonist to Christian thinking, a man who once predicted that in twenty years no one would even remember Jesus, at the point of his death revealed the despair that was really in his heart, saying, “I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months of life. Then I shall go to hell and you will go with me. Oh, Christ! Oh, Jesus Christ!”

-On the other hand, for those who are believers, followers of Jesus, death can bring a new sense of God’s goodness to us.

---QUOTE>D. L. Moody’s final words testify of the reality of God’s promise of eternal life with Him to believers, as He spoke aloud in the hearing of those in the room where he was prone upon his bed, “I see earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”

---QUOTE>Likewise, John Wesley’s final words were words of triumph: “The best of all is, God is with us!”

<>Today, in part one of a two-part message, we’ll be looking at Jesus’ final words and the practical truths we can glean from them.

--I invite you to open a Bible and turn once again to Luke, chapter 22.

---ILL>The great musical cantata written by Thomas DuBois, “The Seven Last Words of Christ,” focuses on the seven statements Jesus made from the cross.

-But today I want us to back even before He was on the cross...beginning just after the time of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane late Thursday night of the fateful Passover Week.

<>All in all, today I want us to look at six statements, divided into three categories...

1) WORDS OF EMPHASIS.

-Before Jesus’ sentence had been pronounced, before the Sanhedrin turned Him over to Pontius Pilate, before Pilate turned Him over to the soldiers to take Jesus to His crucifixion, notice Jesus’ final words...

-They began with words of emphasis.

--They were bold statements that could not be misunderstood of His meaning or of His intensity.

---ILL>In this year’s Presidential campaign, an emphatic phrase has entered the public arena, from Senator Obama: “Yes, we can!”

->Jesus spoke emphatically as His death was nearing, beginning with these words...

->a) ”YES, I AM THE SON OF GOD.”

--Lk.22:70 -- "And (the Sanhedrin) all said, ’Are You the Son of God, then?’ and He said to them, ’Yes, I am.’”

--There are some who would like you to believe that Jesus never claimed to be God, that He never claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah.

--But it’s simply not true when you examine His last words, because He emphatically declared that He is BOTH.

--When Jesus declared Himself to be the Son of God, it was not a statement about His physical birth (although even His virgin birth was clearly the result of God the Father’s handwork through the Holy Spirit).

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