Have you seen the movie, The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise? It’s been on TV a couple of times recently and as I watched it again, I was reminded why I like it so much. Honestly, I’m a “true story” buff and this one is no exception.
I’m not going to tell you what happened, but instead quote the famous last line of the movie. When the soldier was asked by the emperor to tell him how the “last Samurai” died, he replied:
“I will tell you how he lived.”
You might have to see the movie to really appreciate these words, but I want to use them in reference to our precious Savior, Jesus Christ. The foundation of Christianity is based on His death–how He died, why He died, and what He obtained for us. In fact, even when we partake of communion, the Bible says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). And I always say, we proclaim His death simply because HIS DEATH WAS OUR LIFE.
But if we only speak of His death, we might miss the LIFE part. And that’s why I love this quote: “I will tell you how He lived.”
After Jesus died, Philip was prompted by God to go to a certain road where a eunuch would be traveling to help explain the scriptures to him. A eunuch was someone who had separated themselves unto God, but in this case, the eunuch loved God but had no understanding of Jesus. So as he read from the Book of Isaiah, he asked Philip, “Of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this scripture, preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:34-35).
In other words, Philip told the eunuch how Jesus lived. And without a doubt, was able to tell him how He died, and what His death and resurrection mean to us now. The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). This eunuch became a Christian that day. As he listened to Philip tell of Jesus, his heart was transformed.
The Apostle Paul did the same thing. Everywhere he went, he preached Jesus. But unlike Philip, he didn’t have the personal testimony of walking with Jesus. He only had the scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and his faith to substantiate his preaching. But think about how many lives have been changed by this one man.
One of my favorite passages from Paul’s writings is from Colossians. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (1:27-29).
Toward the end of Paul’s life, he gathered the church elders together and reminded them that it hadn’t always been easy, but he kept nothing back that was helpful in proclaiming Jesus to every person. He determined that his life “was worth nothing unless (he) used it for doing the work assigned (to him) by the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:18-24).
That’s the testimony I want to have also. I want people to know Jesus died for them. But just as importantly, I want them to know He LIVED for them and therefore I LIVE FOR HIM TOO. So when you have opportunity to testify, be sure and tell them how He lived for us all. And watch God use it to transform yet another heart.
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