The Last Word From The Cross
The Last Word From The Cross:
“Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (Luke 23:46)
Two of the last seven “words” of Jesus were quotations from the Psalms. Earlier Jesus had Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” to express his anguish. Later he borrowed from Psalm 31, which comes to us from Luke as “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”
On an obvious level, Jesus was putting his post death future in the hands of his Heavenly Father. It was as if he was saying, “Whatever happens to me after I die is your responsibility, Father.”
Read Luke 23:44-49
We see again that Luke talks here about the sudden darkness that came over the land at the time of Jesus death. We can only see this as a miracle due to the fact that there is no naturalistic explanation for how this could occur in the middle of the day at the time of the year when a solar eclipse would have been impossible due to the positioning of the sun and the moon.
The next thing Luke tells us is that the curtain in the temple is torn.
What is the significance of the curtain? Hebrew 9:1-9 tells us that the temple veil separated the Holy of Holies which was the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence. This was to signify that man was separated from God by sin. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond the veil once a year to make atonement for Israel’s sin.
Would the veil have been difficult to tear?
Josephus, a first century Jewish historian that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high, four inches thick and that a horse tied to each side could not pull the veil apart.
Why would Luke mention this strange event?
Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.
Now Christ is our High Priest and we can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. (No comes to the Father except through me). He has removed the barrier between God and man for all who put their trust in Him.
First thing about these words are they are what type of word: they are a prayer, offered to God. Jesus ministry began with a prayer and it ends with a prayer. Jesus is about to breathe his last breathe and he uses it to pray to God. What would you do with your last breath?
Early African converts to Christianity were sincere and regular in private devotions. Each one had a separate spot in the bushes where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”
If you look at your path today, the path to where you spend the most time with God, is it a well-worn path or is the grass growing over it?
Next Jesus cries out with a loud voice. What is significant about this? Did he need to yell so God could hear Him? No! I think it was more for men to hear, so they would know that for all they had done to His body there was nothing they could do to His spirit
Next Jesus now addresses God as His Father, where before in Mark he cried out My God, My God….
In to your hands – This is a declaration of trust. Totally trusting the Father for the good care of His spirit. Total submission to God in His last breath. A lesson to us in trusting God with our very spirit. The depths of who we are.
Jesus lived fully trusting God and He died the same way.
Next – Jesus lays down His own life. He says I commit my spirit into your hands. Earlier in John 10:18: Jesus said I lay down my life of my own accord; no one takes it from me. This was a confirmation of Christ’s earlier declaration.
Finally he commits His spirit – from whence He came he was to return.
Jesus committing His spirit back to God teaches us the eternal fate of the soul. The soul exists apart from the body. The body may go to the grave, as Christ’s body did, but the spirit will go to God. To face a final judgement.
Jesus practiced what He preached: “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Questions for Reflection
Have you put your life and, indeed, your life beyond this life, in God’s hands? How do you experience God’s salvation through Christ in your life today?
All the things that happened, the earthquakes, the darkness, the way He suffered, lead this centurion to faith. His death accomplished what His life had not, it broken the hard hearts of men.
Notice the reaction of the others as well. Luke 23:48 says, “…all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.” After seeing Him die, many realized He was innocent. The smiting of their breasts was a sign of repentance.
- His first word, forgiveness
- His second word, salvation
- His third word, compassion
- His fourth word, anguish
- His fifth word, humanity
- His sixth word, victory
And now the seventh and final word, complete and utter submission and contentment into the hands of God. Trust