(He gave a loud cry).
Matthew says that Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last. Yesterday I talked about his somewhat unintelligible last words, the only words that he speaks from the cross in the Book of Matthew. Maybe a loud cry doesn’t actually qualify as “words” but I think it conveys meaning. What kind of cry was it? Agony? Ecstasy? Defeat? Victory? Frustration? Release?
We will never know. The Greek word is krazó which means “to scream, cry out, to shriek.” It was loud, and it was high pitched. It would probably have been pretty scary. His last utterance was most probably spine chilling.
When I think of “last words” what comes to mind for me are the last words of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computing, the company that developed the i-phone and the i-pad. Jobs was a demanding perfectionist. He was not the easiest man to work with. He a very, very smart man, but he was not a particularly religious. Here’s what he had to say about God in an interview on the TV show 60 Minutes:
“Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of – maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.’ Then he paused for a second and he said, ‘Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.’ He said and paused again, and he said, ‘And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices’.”
But in the final hours of his life he may have a change of heart. At his funeral, his sister shared Steve Jobs’ last words:
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were these: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”
What did he see that elicited this excitement? We will never know. But I bet it was really good. Steve Jobs was pretty hard to impress.
Sometimes long discourses aren’t enough. Sometimes only a primal scream like the birthing cry of an infant can express what we think and feel. At these times artistic expression is the best form of commentary, so I have expressed my thoughts on Jesus’ last, loud cry in a bit of poetry:
What does this scripture say to you?