I am not sure the reason, but it seems that most of us remember the last words spoken to us by those who are deceased. Those words sometimes reflect the last thoughts of those who are dying and the final message they give to us. Consider these last words of the saints of God.
The last words of Jacob were, “Bury me with my fathers in the cave…which Abraham bought” (Gen. 49:29, 30). Joseph’s final words? “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here” (Gen. 50:25). At the end of the life of Joshua, he urged Israel to choose what he had chosen for himself and his household. The people then said, “We will serve the Lord.” Joshua took a large stone, placing it under an oak tree and said, “The stone…has heard all the words…it shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God” (Josh. 24:15-27). Those were the last words Israel heard from him.
The last words of Jesus before He died are well known. “Father into your hands, I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). These words, first spoken by David (Psa. 31:5) in the midst of his trials, were so much in the heart of Jesus that they comforted Him as He died.
Stephen was the first Christian martyr, and he fully understood the principle of what would Jesus do. As he was being stoned, he visually knew Jesus awaited him in heaven. He said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then as he died, he said, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:59-60).
What final message would you like to give to your family? Because they may not be able to hear you speak these words, I have known many Christians who have written a final message to be read by their loved ones after they die. Some have even left video messages for those who remain.
Those Old Testament saints spoke words to remind those still on the earth that God still reigned. Jacob and Joseph gave instructions that were tied to the fact that God was in their lives. Joshua left a large stone as a visual reminder that would be there many years to remind the Jews of the vows they had made to God.
Those who heard the final words of Jesus and Stephen could never forget those words about what death really was like. Death is that time when our souls depart from this body and are received into the hands of God. What a blessing death is when viewed in this way. What a blessing it is to think that Jesus showed Stephen this truth. Of greater significance, what a blessing that He has showed us.
Your final words? They may not be nearly as important as the final message you leave by the way you lived.