Now remembering that, do you recall Jesus' last words as a man to mankind before being carried away in the clouds?
I'll be honest. I hadn't really thought much about it until this last weekend at the Deeper Conference in Atlanta. Some of you may have known there was a Twitter club set up to share tidbits from this very conference (http://twubs.com/deeper09) and an associated hash tag (#deeper09). This was a great way to share the words of wisdom from the conference with those that were unable to personally attend...but it has also proven to be a great reference for me to revisit some of the information. It's my virtual notepad...and I not only get to see my notes..but I can read the notes of others! That's totally cool!
One way this has played out for me is this: I had to leave the conference early to catch a flight. The only thing I missed was the closing hour, but I hated to miss anything. Thankfully, some of my fellow conference attendees continued to tweet tidbits, and I could follow what I missed. There was one particular statement made by Kirk Cameron that I missed...but thanks to twitter, I was able to catch:
"If Jesus' last words were, 'Go unto all the world and preach the Gospel,' how important must that be? Do something." Kirk Cameron #deeper09 -- Tweeted by KimberleyLopez
I didn't get to hear that statement personally...yet it continued to weigh heavy on my heart. Really? Were those the last words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as a man on this earth? Wow.
I was thinking about this a lot since I read it. This morning, if I knew that I was never going to see my wife again when she departed to work, what would I say to her? Surely it would be more profound than the usual, "Love you!" as she walks out the door. Of course it would! If I knew I was talking to my wife for the very last time, I would tell her how much I love her, how much she means to me, and how I am a better man because of her. I would also give her instructions for only the most important things...and I would expect (and plead) for her to carry them out.
When Jesus departed from this earth for the last time as a human being, don't you think he did the same? Don't you think his instructions were of utmost importance? Final instructions are typically not casual, but hugely important! I think we really need to look hard at the departing instructions from our Savior, and carry through with the desires He thought so important to convey at a moment where He had little time left for anything else.
There are several accounts of Jesus' ascent into the Heavens, and the Gospels of Matthew and Mark capture what is known as the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:16-20 (English Standard Version)
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Mark 16:15-16 (English Standard Version)
15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Did Jesus say, "Go and try and avoid offending people with your beliefs" ? Nope.
Did He say, "Lay low and try and go to church...at least for Christmas and Easter"? Nope.
What about, "Be a good person, be nice to people, and try and stay out of trouble"? Nope.
He DID SAY..."Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
Jesus' most important parting instructions regarded His concern for the lost and His desire to see them come to Him and be saved. I don't know about you, but I feel very convicted that I have not done enough to fulfill His request.
As Kirk Cameron would say, "Do Something."