This has been an emotional week for me…but then again aren’t they all? For the first year your baby is born you measure their age by hours, then days, weeks and months and even after the 12-month mark you might say how old they are in months…at least it seems as if I did. I said that because that is the way I have measured time since my dad died. I may have been redundant in talking about it, but when the world you are comfortable in suddenly shifts because of a death it takes a little getting used to, and every holiday that is “the first since they left” is a milestone to get through and then the first birthday, which is what happened to us this past week, is just too sad. I thought of his last birthday cake, he requested a plain pound cake with NO icing and that is exactly what he got! I remembered his party, the gifts and how he reacted but most of all I remember the last words he spoke to us.
It seems that anytime someone has died, people want to know, “did they have any last words?” Think about it, if you were standing by the bedside of a loved one and they looked as if they were about to speak, I am sure you would get a little closer to see what important instruction they might have for you to carry out, or a last word of love. Five years ago when I heard that my Uncle Harding had died, I immediately tried to remember every word of our last conversation, the same with my Uncle Earl, who died two weeks to the day after Uncle Harding but my dad’s last words to me are priceless. While thinking of these things this past week I thought of some other famous “last words.”
Jesus shared a Passover Supper with his friends in an upper room. It was the last time he would break bread with them before He became the sacrificial Lamb, crucified for our sin and the sin of the whole world past, present and future. Then Jesus revealed to them that He was going to be betrayed. There were questions, “Who is it?” “Lord is it I?” Judas left the room and was on his way to betray the Lord. When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified…” (John 13:31) Jesus went on to tell them that there was a new commandment that they must love one another they way that He had loved them…enough to give His life for them. Verse 35 says “By this all will now that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Then he told them something that you and I should hold onto, chapter 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansion; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” These were the words He spoke the last time He would ever walk with these men, his friends, who would all scatter like scared sheep when the hour of His death would come. If people can make a “death bed confession” and it will stand in court as true, then I think we should listen to the “death bed” talk that Jesus gave to these men and use it for ourselves. Is it easy? No because if it were everyone would be an automatic Christian…it is in the trying to do right in the face of evil, or be sweet in the face of adversity that makes us real Christians, or Christ like. No, we can’t do it on our own, but we remember Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
In the next few weeks before the Holy Week and our celebration of His death, burial and glorious victory over the grave, read His words and take comfort in them. Let not YOUR heart be troubled, you believe in God? Believe also in Him, the Messiah, Christ our Lord, amen!