Last Words

When Sir Isaac Newton died he said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Leonardo da Vinci was heard saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” Last words are often reflective and very important.

The Lord Jesus breathed, “It is finished!” as He died on the cross. What a statement! Those three words are the apex of human history! Jesus then rose again and ascended into Heaven. Again, His last words before He ascended are most profound. Let us look at these last words.

The disciples heard Jesus speak His last words on this earth in a mountain in Galilee. We find these words in all of their profundity in Matthew 28:18-20. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

All Power

First of all, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me.” The word translated power here is exousia. It means authority. Jesus declared that God the Father had given Him all authority. The type in the Old Testament representing this relationship with the Father is Joseph ruling under Pharaoh in Egypt. This statement that Jesus made emphasizes and enforces what He would say next. He had the authority to say it, and we have every right and obligation to obey.

All People

Next, upon the premise of His absolute authority, Jesus commands that all people must hear the Gospel. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” The word for nations is ethnos. Nations does not refer to political nations, but, rather, to people groups. What exactly is a people group? “For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance (language and culture).” [Joshua Project Definition]

There are currently 16,825 people groups. Out of these, 6,989 are unreached with the Gospel. This means that roughly 42% of the world’s people groups do not have enough of the Body of Christ represented among them to begin a church planting movement. Imagine 42% of the world with no Bible, no church, and no missionary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He had all authority, and with that authority He commanded His followers to take the Gospel to all peoples!

All Places

The last thing that Jesus did was give His disciples a promise. He promised to be with them even unto the end of the world—in all places! Often we interpet this promise to mean protection and peace. While God does protect His followers, many missionaries have been martyrs for the cause of Christ. A fuller understanding of this promise can be found in Mark 16:20, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” After Jesus ascended into Heaven He worked with them through His Spirit. He did the work! This is the only way for the Gospel to make it to all people—through His power and strength! The work must be done with Him.

We must take heed to the last words of our Lord Jesus. He declared His authority. He issued a command, and He gave us His promise. We must meditate on these last words and understand how we are to carry them out. Then, perhaps, our last words would be similar to that of George Whitfield’s: “Lord Jesus, I am weary in Thy work, but not of Thy work. If I have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for Thee once more in the fields, seal the truth, and come home to die.”

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