Bookends of Life :: By Grant Phillips

W. Bullinger in his book Number In Scripture, made an observation I found to be quite interesting. He pointed out that the first recorded words of Jesus were, “And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) Then he stated that Jesus’ last words were, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

I find it to be very interesting, that from the first recorded moment of His life He was about the Father’s business. During His ministry as a grown man, He said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4) Then, as he died on the cross He says, “It is finished.”

While thinking about this, I realize this is something most of us realized all along, but have we actually given it a lot of thought?

Jesus said another time. “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)

From beginning to end Jesus was about His Father’s business. We can tell while reading the Scriptures that there were times He was very tired and He would try to rest. However, His rests were often short-lived.

Jesus gave 100% of Himself to obtain and secure salvation for any who will come to Him by simple childlike faith to be saved. Even now, in Heaven, He holds us secure in one hand and holds out the other for those who will believe.

How many of us can say we have put forth a portion of that effort in following Him daily? Day after day, without fail, He worked the Father’s work for us. Our gratitude alone should inspire us to be more diligent in living for Him.

Even though no Christian will ever match the effort Jesus put forth for us, many have dedicated their lives to follow Jesus and it has shown in what they left behind. I am reminded of Paul for example. At the end of his life, just before he died and went on to be with the Lord, he wrote his protégé Timothy these words.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

How many of us will be able to say from our deathbed, to those we know and love, words similar to those spoken by Paul to Timothy? Many down through the ages have done so. Others today will do so. I guess we need to ask, “What about me?”

For those of us who are saved, our gratitude alone for what Jesus has provided should be the inspiration that invigorates us each day to serve Him. I know some say, “But I’m not a pastor or missionary. What can I do?” Please read the following passage; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Do what you are called to do. That is all He asks.

Jesus’ first recorded statement in the Scriptures and His last recorded statement in the Scriptures are like bookends that tell the story of His life. He began His life doing the Father’s will. He lived His life doing the Father’s will. He died doing the Father’s will. What will the bookends of our life tell about us?

Grant Phillips


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