Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations. (Luke 24:47 NRSV)
There have been many collections made of the last words of well-known persons. I ran across a collection of last words from people who are not that well-known. Legendary swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks must have been confused before giving up the ghost in 1939 because his famous last words were: "Never felt better." William Palmer, who was hanged in 1856, was told to step on the scaffold's trap door. "Is it safe?" he asked. Now that's a great question. Finally, Phineas T. Barnum, an outrageous showman, asked a question with his last words: "How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?" he asked.

You would think that people confronted with their last few moments on earth would want to say something memorable something important something lasting. Consider Jesus' last words, as recorded in Luke's Gospel. Luke tells us Jesus opened his disciples' minds to understand the scriptures, and then said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high."

These were Jesus' last words. What will be yours?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your words of comfort and hope for all the nations. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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