Hawkeye, Cora, Alice, Uncas, Heyward, and Chingachgook huddled inside a cave behind a waterfall trying to decide what to do next. They were wet, tired, and scared . . . for good reason. Quickly closing on them from behind was a band of Huron warriors led by the vengeful Magua who was dead set of killing them all. Thus, the scene is set for this memorable moment from the 1992 film version of James Fennimore Cooper’s novel, “The Last of the Mohicans.”
With Magua breathing down their neck, greatly outnumbered and with wet gunpowder, Hawkeye decides to take a chance. Knowing that if Magua caught him with this crowd, that a deadly battle would certainly ensue. Figuring that Magua would take the other captives back to his village before taking further action, Hawkeye decides to take a flying leap through the waterfall and run to safety. Before he jumps, however, he gives his beloved Cora a promise. “Stay alive,” he says. “I will find you!” And eventually he does . . . rescuing her from the clutches of the enemy.
I was thinking about Hawkeye’s famous “last words” today as I was reading Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Christian New Testament. The Old and the New Testaments were written over a period of 1,000 to 1,300 years, from the first strokes of the book of Genesis to the last period in the Revelation. At the conclusion of the Christian Bible, Jesus gives us some significant “last words.”
Three times in the last 14 verses of the Bible Jesus says, “I am coming soon!” (See Revelation 22:7, 12, and 20) These “last words” give us a clue as to the kind of encouragement Jesus felt His followers would need in the (now) 2,000 years since His departure physically from this planet. As I wonder what all Jesus hoped we would understand from these last words, it helps me to consider Hawkeye and Cora in the cave behind the waterfall.
With Magua close behind, Cora had to be scared. Magua was the man who had killed her father and betrayed her family. Hawkeye seemed to be the only one who could stand up to Magua’s brutality, and now he was leaving! However, in order for Hawkeye to have ultimate triumph, it was important for him to leave her for a while before returning in victory. Before he left her, however, he wanted to make sure she knew that he would not forget her and that he would come back and rescue her . . . therefore, she needed to persevere.
In this world, since the ascension of Christ back to heaven, Jesus’s followers have huddled in caves and congregations feeling pressed upon by evil forces which are fast approaching. Another friend dies. Another relationship suffers. Another sin struggle lingers on. Like Cora behind the waterfall, we find our comfort in the presence of One who has left the view of our physical sight. Before Jesus concludes the canon of Scripture, He wants to make sure that we know that He will not forget us and that He will come back and rescue us . . . therefore we need to persevere.
Men and Women of God, take courage! Though He has jumped through to eternity in His ascension, He has promised us that He will return and find us. He will take care of all the savage brutality of this life and usher us into the beauty of His Kingdom. In order for the full plan of God to unfold He chose to leave physically for a time before returning in ultimate triumph. Because of this, may we be comforted and say with the writer of the book of Revelation “Amen. Come Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).”