Last words. If you knew you were going to die in a month, a week or a day what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you spend all of your time with? What would you say to them? What would be your last words to the friends and family you love?

Since none of us know when we will die we are to steward our time until death meets us. Jesus knew when He would die. He knew the end of His earthly life was soon and He redeemed the time and His last words. In John 13-17 we are given a front row seat to reading the last words that Jesus spoke to His disciples. The Last Word: Jesus’ Teaching in the Upper Room by Wallace Benn explores these last words of Jesus in the Upper Room.

There are two main themes that Benn draws out of these five chapters. The first is love. Dripping from these final words of Jesus to His disciples is His unconditional love for them. Let’s be honest, these guys are not the easiest to love! But neither are we. Beginning with the washing of the disciples feet, Jesus not only speaks words of love to His disciples but shows them pictures of His love for them. These loving acts mean many things and one of them is to model for them how they are to love fellow Christians and the world. Throughout these five chapters Jesus loves them in their doubts, weaknesses and blindness to the truth He is giving them as His last words.

Closely tied to the theme of love is, believe it or not, death. Though Christ both spoke love and demonstrated love while He was in the presence of the disciples, His death was to be the ultimate act of love to them and the whole world. His death was loving. And lovingly, He did what He could to prepare them for it. He comforted them with the promise that, though they could not come with Him now, He would return for them. He encouraged them with the promise of sending the Holy Spirit as a comforter who would lead them into the truth and understanding of all He taught them.

In addition to much encouragement, Jesus also warned the disciples. He warned them that if they did not abide in Him they would be cut off like useless branches from a tree. Tied with this warning to produce fruit that accords with abiding with Christ, Jesus warns them about living in the world until He returns. The disciples saw the persecution Jesus faced and they faced it themselves. But they would continue to face it while He was gone.

Following these warnings, Jesus closes His words for the disciples with a prayer for them. These are perhaps some of the most powerful words of Christ for His children. In this prayer He looks to His impending death, acknowledges the Father in everything, asks for protection of His followers and prays that the world of believers would be unified together as with the unity that He shares with the Father. There could be no more fitting last words.

The Last Word is an easy and delightful book to read. Benn does a great job of drawing the reader into the story, helping us to see ourselves in the disciples and in turn, points us to the comforting last words of Jesus as the source of life. This book would be  a great devotional and with the study questions in the back it would make for a helpful Bible study guide for a small group. This is the kind of book every Christian can benefit from as they dive into the final words of Jesus.

NOTE: I received this book for free from Christian Focus Publications and was under no obligation to provide a favorable review. The views expressed in this review are my own.

Advertisements