On the night of April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King gave his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” In it, he hints that he believed he might not live long. He said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. . . . [But] I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” The next day, he was assassinated.
The apostle Paul, shortly before his death, wrote to his protégé Timothy: “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. . . . Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:6, 8). Paul knew his time on earth was drawing to a close, as did Dr. King. Both men realized lives of incredible significance, yet never lost sight of the true life ahead. Both men welcomed what came next.
Like them, may we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Read Life to Come: The Hope of the Christian Faith at discoveryseries.org/q1205.
Second Timothy is Paul’s final letter, written from a Roman prison where he was awaiting execution (see 4:6). Taking the total sweep of this chapter, we find three distinct sections in what is regarded as Paul’s last words. In verses 1–5, the apostle challenges and urges his young protégé Timothy to be faithful in carrying out the calling he has received—particularly the ministry of preaching the Scriptures. In verses 6–8, Paul gives his own testimony of service to Jesus and his readiness to see the Savior. The bulk of the remaining verses (vv. 9–18) deals with people who disappointed Paul and how he responded to that disappointment.