“Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I commit my spirit to you,” and with those words he died.”
Luke 23:46, LB
The cross had done its vicious work–it brutalized Jesus, and we see him broken and nailed to it. So much is happening, it’s quite hard to assimilate it all. It’s difficult to focus on just one thing. Several events seem to be happening all at once.
- An eclipse of the sun, darkness at 3 pm. It lasted three hours.
- An earthquake that shook the entire scene, it was strong enough to split rocks.
- The veil in the temple that separated the holy from the holiest, torn from top to bottom.
- Resurrections, with dead people wandering through the streets of Jerusalem, preaching.
- The mocking thief, and the salvation of the one who believed in Jesus.
- A centurion, most likely overseeing the soldiers, declaring that Jesus was “the son of God.”
- The women disciples who had followed Jesus, standing and witnessing all of this some distance away. Eleven of the twelve “disciples” were absent.
- John given the charge to watch over Jesus’ mother.
Each are significant in their own right.
These are all noteworthy, and this post could take up one of them and go in any direction. Besides these eight main observations, there many other details that could be mentioned. Needless to say, the crucifixion of Jesus profoundly effects every person who has ever lived.
They say the last words of a dying man are significant, and many books have been written about what people have said at the moment of death. We expect to hear some final wisdom (and often we’re disappointed.) We now hear the last words of Jesus, and they’re packed with meaning.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” This is the last thing Jesus spoke. We know that he had been separated from the Father because of our sin. Yet now we hear the faith of one who could hold on to his spirit while he died.
He had been beaten to an inch of his life.
He has been mocked and spit upon and made to wear a crown made of thorns. He stumbled through the streets of Jerusalem, carrying his cross–down what we now call the Via Dolorosa (lit. “the way of suffering.”)
“When he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.”
1 Peter 2:23
We see his faith in the Father’s mercy. At the very last moment he lays his spirit into the hands of God. We must remember, he is not the victim of a terrible tragedy, but he’s the second person of the Trinity, who has decided he must die, so we wouldn’t have to. He carried away the sin that wasn’t his, yours, and mine.
Jesus “put” his spirit into God’s hands. He believed that the Father would take it up, and hold it for him. As a man who was seconds away from dying, he trusts the Lord absolutely. There’s no fear, and there’s no doubt. In spite of everything, he places his soul into the One who promises to save him.
Never doubt that the crucifixion was brutal.
His suffering was intense, and it was very real. He did what he did to free us from our sin. Jesus transformed his death on “the place of the skull“ to the place where sinners find salvation that’s eternal. As we consider this, let’s not forget–it’s our sin that put him there.
“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”
The breath that caused Adam to live (Genesis 2:7,) is now exhaled into the lives of anyone who believes.