Final Words is a fairly short book that breaks down the last seven sayings of Jesus into individual chapters that focuses on the meaning and application of each one. It's an easy read and you could feel the author's heart throughout each chapter. Here's the chapter breakdown with the corresponding saying:
- "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing."
- "Today you will be with me in paradise."
- "Woman, behold your son; behold your mother!"
- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
- "I thirst."
- "It is finished" and "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
- Jesus' actual final words (post-resurrection)
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Never have humans beings every done anything so dark as to condemn, torture, and then crucify the Son of God and yet Jesus prayed for them even as they were in the midst of their sin asking that they might receive mercy. If mercy was available to them, and it was, then I promise you it is available to you" (from Chapter 1).
"Do people who do not know Jesus Christ feel comfortable around you? Do they feel small or valued and accepted after they have had a conversation with you? Are you willing to associate with people others would consider riffraff, and would you show them kindness and compassion because that's what it means to be a follower of Jesus? Do they feel comfortable in your church?" (from Chapter 2).
He completed His task victoriously and submitted His life and will to the Father. As a result, the veil of the temple was torn in two - "from this time on, there no longer would be a need for the curtain. Through Jesus, human beings would come directly to God's mercy seat - to the cross to ask for mercy and to receive God's grace" (from Chapter 6).
Overall, this was a solid book to read once. However, I don't think there's enough density for it to be one that's essential for your bookshelf or even to be read annually. My favorite Easter season read would easily be The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy. I read it to my wife this year and found it deeply contemplative and emotionally powerful; this will definitely be our new tradition.