The Significance of Last Words

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Church, Discipleship, Pastoral Ministry, Uncategorized

In his book, Embraced by the Spirit, Chuck Swindoll recalls the impact of his father’s “last words.”

“One of my most unforgettable moments happened when I was about ten years old. My father served our country during World War II in a plant in our hometown, building all sorts of interesting equipment for the massive tanks, fighter planes, and bombers that defended us in lands far away. Dad worked too long and too hard. As a result he suffered a physical breakdown. And on its heels came an emotional trauma that puzzled everyone, including the doctors.

“I was convinced in my heart that my dad was going to die. He may have had such thoughts too, because one night he called me
into his room for a somber father-son talk …. I remember leaning hard against his bed, listening carefully to a voice that was hardly more than a whisper. I thought I was hearing him for the last time. He gave me counsel on life—how I should live, how I should conduct myself as his son. The counsel wasn’t long, and then I left and went across the hall to the room that I shared with my older brother. All alone, I lay across my bed and sobbed, convinced that I would never see my dad alive again.

“That scene still haunts me. Even though my dad recovered to live … I still remember the night he talked to me. Something very significant is wrapped up in our final words. Consider the night in Jerusalem when the Lord and his disciples gathered for … what we call ‘The Last Supper.’ Less than twelve hours after [that meal], Jesus was nailed to a cross; a few hours later, he was dead. Jesus understood the significance of those moments and the importance of his last counsel. And so he gave them exactly what they would need to carry them through the rest of their days.”

Whenever we observe this important ordinance, we should consider our Savior’s words that He spoke to His disciples. His death and resurrection would forever secure salvation for them and any disciples to come. Christ conquered sin and death when He rose
from the grave. His victory secured ours as we surrender our full allegiance to Him.

We should offer the Lord’s Supper only to Christ-followers – to those who have surrendered their lives to Christ. This means more than merely believing in Him or accepting His teachings or even accepting the truths about the gospel. To where the name “Christian” truly means that an individual has surrendered his life – literally died to the old life. The apostle Paul said it like this, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).

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