Dying Words

There’s something moving and poignant about a person’s dying words.

A severely weakened George Washington, shivering from cold and suffering from significant blood drainage, reportedly uttered his final words to his secretary.

“Tis well,” the 67-year-old president said.

James Polk, the 11th President of the United States, perished after contracting cholera. The final words from his lips were directed toward his wife.

“I love you, Sarah,” the dying president reportedly said. “For all eternity, I love you.”

The final words of other presidents range from tragic to touching. They include “help,” “water,” and “God, take me.” The list goes on.

Death comes upon us differently. Some people leave this life in peaceful rest, others in terrible pain. For some, death is anticipated; for others, it comes as a great surprise. People’s last words sometimes reflect these discrepancies.

What about Jesus’ dying words? The four gospel accounts document His final words on the cross differently. When taken together, they paint a fuller picture of our Savior’s dying moments.

According to Matthew (27:46) and Mark (15:34), the final words of Jesus on the cross were, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—a quote from Psalm 22. However, we learn in Luke (23:46) that, just prior to His death, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

But perhaps the most compelling of them all is John’s account of Jesus’ final words (19:30). There, suspended on that cruel cross, suffering under the weight of all our sin, struggling mightily to draw in His final breaths, the Son of God uttered three dying words of unmatched significance and sublimity.

“It is finished.”

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