I have been with many people right before they die. I was with my mom in the last moments of her life. She could not speak but she did open her eyes. I remember one dear friend who seemed to hang on until every one of his family members arrived at the hospital room where he lay dying. I don’t remember that he said anything. His son told me that in the exact moment when I finished praying, the hospital monitor his dad was tethered to, flat lined. It was quite an experience. Most often though, people are in too much pain to speak; others are under the effects of strong pain medication.
One close friend, who was in and out of the hospital because he only had one lung, asked me if I thought it was okay to pray to be able to die. He wanted to know if God would accept that kind of a prayer. He wanted to know if it was wrong to pray that way. I’ll talk more about that later in this BLOG.
If you could script what you would say, what would you say? What would you want to be remembered for? What would your final words be? Maybe it’s not a pleasant thought for you right now. Well, except maybe in the very sad case of suicide, it’s hard to plan.
LAST SAYINGS OF FAMOUS PEOPLE
Here are some last sayings of famous people:
- How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden? P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891
- I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis. Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957
- Damn it . . . Don’t you dare ask God to help me. To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud. Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977
- I am not the least afraid to die. Charles Darwin d. April 19, 1882
- All my possessions for a moment of time. Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603
- I see black light. Victor Hugo, writer d. May 22, 1885
- Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. Jesus Christ, d. 33AD from Luke 23:46
Probably the most well-known is from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar “Et tu, Brute?”
THE SEVEN SAYINGS OF CHRIST
Wow, these last sayings are very revealing to say the least! I want to focus on the last sayings of Jesus Christ while He was on the cross. These sayings are sometimes called the seven last words. Here they are:
- “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
- “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
- “Woman, behold your son. Son Behold your mother.” John 19:26–27
- “My God, My God, have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34
- “I thirst.” John 19:28
- “It is finished.” John 19:29-30
- “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
But why are they significant? What do they reveal? Do they make a difference for you in the 21st century, in 2018?
Read through those words again. Forgiveness, paradise, mother, forsaken, thirst, finished, my spirit. When we think of the horrific death by crucifixion, and the flogging that occurred the day before, how could Jesus even think of other people or be articulate at all? We get our word ‘excruciating’ from this experience. The word literally means ‘out of the cross’.
Back to that friend I mentioned earlier who wanted to know if it was wrong to pray to die. Here’s the rest of the story. His wife had come in to visit him at the hospital earlier and he encouraged her to take time go shopping. My conversation with him didn’t indicate that he was in the last moments of his life. He was worn out. He only had one lung and constantly had pneumonia in it.
So he asked me the question, “Is it wrong to pray to die?” This was the first time (but not the last) that that question was posed to me. I don’t remember all I said but I do remember saying, ‘no it’s not wrong’. So he asked me to pray. I basically told God in my prayer (I wish I would have written it all down afterward) what God already knew of our conversation, prayed for God’s will to be done, talked briefly with this man and left. He died 30 minutes later.
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
The most important question that needs to be answered this Easter season is “Why did Jesus Christ die on the cross?” What does that mean for you and me?
Jesus had told his disciples on more than one occasion that he would die. He also said that he would be raised from the dead. It’s hard to believe that they didn’t remember what he said. After he died they scattered in fear. They didn’t even believe that he was alive after he appeared to them after his resurrection. They thought he was a ghost!
Consider this statement as we enter the Easter season: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:12–13 (NIV). In other words if Jesus is not alive; if He didn’t leave that tomb after dying, then the Christian faith is a farce. Without the resurrection there’s no hope.
THE HOPE OF EASTER
The hope of Easter is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ’s last words on the Cross offers forgiveness of sin, salvation, love, atonement, suffering, victory and security. His resurrection secures the hope of the believer to live with Him eternally for all who would turn to Christ only.
Do You Know Christ?
The resurrection changed everything and gives us hope and peace even today. Celebrate with us on Easter Sunday at EASTWOOD TULSA at 10:45 am.