In perhaps the most famous last words in history, Jesus cried out from the cross “It is finished!” It was a cry of triumph. He had fought the dragon and dealt the mortal blow. As he drew his last the anguish was over. Our victory was secured.
In complete contrast to Jesus’ last cry, Henry David Thoreau spoke these calm, confident words as he died: “Now comes good sailing”. Could there be a starker contrast? But Thoreau’s words are fitting for those who know Jesus. We shall have turbulent seas throughout the course of this life, but good sailing is coming. I couldn’t help but wonder if the serenity of Thoreau’s final words came from knowing Christ’s hard-fought, anguished yet victorious final words. I wonder.
John Piper was asked recently about the last words he would tweet. He wrote this:
Jesus, God’s Son died in the place of sinners and rose so that all who love him supremely might be forgiven all and have eternal joy in God.
The article is interesting because Piper explains why he chose those exact words instead of some others he contemplated.
Other men have finished their courses with inspiring words. Our 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower said “I’ve always loved my wife, my children, and my grandchildren, and I’ve always loved my country. I want to go. God, take me.” I love the priority he places on family and the confidence he places on God.
It’s an interesting and healthy question to contemplate: What do you want your last words to be?
The picture and quotations from Eisenhower and Thoreau came from an article called Manly Last Words at the Art of Manliness website.