Last Words and the Beginning of Hope

Philippians 2:6-7 “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

A person’s last words carry a hefty punch. I cared for my dad the final week of his life, and whenever he called my name, I was on it. I didn’t want to miss a syllable. I experienced the same with my mother a few years later. I hung on every word she said, right up to her last breath.

That makes the last words of the most important person who ever lived incalculably significant.

Scripture tells us that although Jesus was fully God, he emptied himself of his divine nature to become man. His last words—those uttered on the cross—reveal the extent of his humanity and give us hope in our own humanity.

He experienced thirst, rejection, abandonment and excruciating pain. Every downside of the human condition fell on his head. Divine intervention was nowhere to be found….“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Yet Psalm 22 discloses how he refused to stay in that utter sense of abandonment. “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him” (v.24).

If you’ve been through any kind of suffering—physical or emotional— you know how it tends to distract and consume us. But rather than letting his anguish dull his sensitivity to others, Jesus never stopped showing compassion. He assured the thief  he would be with him in paradise that very day. He directed John to take care of his mother. He asked God to forgive those who tortured him.

This, my friend, should usher us into hope. Hope that we don’t have to remain stuck in our suffering. Jesus, as man, overcame, and because he did, so can we. He not only has shown us the way, but has promised to give us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do it.

And not only that, with his last declaration as he committed his spirit to God, he gave us hope we too can complete our assignment on the earth. Someday we can say with satisfaction, “It is finished.”

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