There is something almost magical about the last words of a person. We even imagine what our last words may be before our passing, hoping to convey some sort of significance or final message to the world. Everybody falls into a hushed reverence at the mention of the last words of a person, eager to listen to any final pieces of wisdom they will speak before they depart the earth. It is almost as thought the last words of an individual can be used as a summary of their importance, of their life’s work and values.
There are people who dedicate their lives to the study of famous peoples last words. Held to such a lofty standard through life, it seems logical to most that their last words would be just as impressive as their status, they are mostly not. Even if they sound impressive the last words are likely to have been misreported or constructed entirely differently. Here are some of the most intriguing last words from notable individuals spoken throughout history.
Marie Antoinette, on her way to the guillotine stepped on her executioners’ foot and said “pardon me”.
Leonardo da Vinci exclaimed “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not meet the quality it should have.”
“I’m bored with it all” were famously the last words of Sir Winston Churchill.
Emily Dickinson’s last words were shockingly philosophical, saying “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”
When Groucho Marx was dying he humorously said, “this is no way to live!”
Bob Marley reportedly said “money can’t buy life.”
And my personal favourite, “applaud my friends, the comedy is over”, from Ludwig Beethoven.
Despite the appearance of this list, unfortunately, the last words of a person often end up been anticlimactic. Often, there are no insightful last words at all, none of us know when our last moment may be. Most of the last words I have combed through are in fact, complete inaccuracies.
Although reading about last words brings amusement, only one instance of last words in history has made a real change to history.
Nearly two thousand years ago, a man was dying. He was a young man, still of youthful appearance but even still he was dying. Not of any natural cause but he was dying hung up to a wooden cross. Crucifixion, the worst and most pathetic way to die in the Roman Empire. He was dying even though he did not deserve it. His breathing slowed as the man’s chest continued to rise and fall, straining more with each effort. He would not be able to last much longer. Above his head and the crown of thorns placed upon it was a wooden sign. The sign was a rushed job, but it was effective in getting its’ message across, it read “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” This man, beaten, mocked and scorned was Jesus Christ. As the hours moved forward, Jesus continued to struggle- two, three, six, he could not last much longer. Beaten, mocked and scorned, but not for anything of his own doing but rather for everyone else in the world. He despaired and cried out to God, “why have you forsaken me!”. Jesus then hung his head, tiring further, “it is finished!” he cried out and gave up his spirit.
It is finished.
Sin is finished.
The battle is finished.
Arguably these are the three most important words in the Bible. With these words Jesus proclaimed that the plan had been successful, the son of God had suffered for the sins of all. Despite this suffering, this was a triumphant day! Jesus served as a ransom for us all, the perfect, sinless man offered as a sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world. Even better, Jesus’ death also signaled an end to the Old Testament laws regarding sacrifice- Jesus paid it all for us.
Jesus’ last words bought life and hope to a world in need of healing.
Jesus’ last words are the most powerful and only last words any of us needs to hear.
It is because of Jesus we are not reduced to what we say on our deathbeds. When he said, “It is finished”, Jesus had the final say over the value over each of our lives. He completed the redemptive work in each of our lives and wrote the final page in earths story. We have to choose to accept Christ’s words as our own and truly know that is finished.
By Kira-leigh Josey
If you would like to read more famous last words use this link: http://mentalfloss.com/article/58534/64-people-and-their-famous-last-words
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