“Father Into Your Hands, I Commit My Spirit” Luke 23:46 (Retaking the Village Green 2/13/19)

And so it ended.

It is hard to compress all the events, all the emotion, all the questions of these last 24 hours into a few minutes.

How do you move from intimacy of the table to the agony of the cross? Less than 24 hours previously, Jesus, sharing a meal with his friends again, tried to teach and explain:

“This is my body, broken for you”

“This is my blood spilled for you for the forgiveness of sins”

As they went out into the night to pray and watch with him, questions still remained. As the soldiers took Him away, as they ran from Him, as they watched Him beaten, as they heard the sentence- “Crucify Him” and the crowds reject Him, as they followed from a distance, as they watched the nails driven in and heard His cries of pain- they waited and questioned.

For Jesus, His waiting was almost over. Peering through pain-clouded eyes at the faces arrayed before Him, He waited for the final word to be said.

The stage was now set for the conclusion of His ministry by this day’s long events. After scanning the crowd one last time through eyes misted by blood and sweat, He raised his eyes to heavens and cried out in a loud voice.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

“It is finished.’

Finally- “Into your hands I commit my spirit”

The attending Roman centurion amazed by this praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Having seen the death of many before, he knew this man was different. This man was innocent.

Prior to Jesus’ call to God we are told “There was darkness over all the earth from noon to three in the afternoon.” (v44).

Centuries before, the prophet Joel said, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:31). Years after the crucifixion when the first disciples went to India and told of the good news of Jesus’ death for our sins, the people there told of a day when the land went dark and remained that way.

Revelation tells of the coming “wrath of the Lamb” when the sun turned black and those on earth would hide in caves for fear. Luke 23:45 says, “the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of temple was torn in two.” In his atoning death, as even in His life, the power of nature and people was challenged- and Jesus won.

Hear again Christ’s last recorded words from the cross, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Jesus loved his Father, and at the moment of death, rested in the arms of God. Carried safely into death and into heaven by the angels, Jesus could rest from His labor. Redemption was complete, the day of salvation for all people had come. As John wrote earlier in his gospel, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” However, at this moment, the light to come could not be seen.

After Jesus breathed His last breath, His friends, family walked away into the darkness with the greatest question still unanswered- “Why?”- “Why did he have to die?” They would have to wait three days in darkness to get the answer… we do not have to wait.

Centuries before the prophet Isaiah wrote- “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. Those living in the valley of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”

In our rejection, in our denial, in our sin, we continue to walk and live in the darkness- even though we have the light.

Jesus finished His mission and went home. In committing His life into the Father’s hands He insured that we would have to walk in darkness no more. Pain has an end. Grieving will cease. Death is defeated. Joy will come. Darkness will not win.

We are not done yet, but when we are, may we go home with the same words on our lips…

          “Father into Your hand I commit my Spirit…”

                   -and do with the confidence that we will be received into the light of Christ.


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