“Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit”
The final words uttered by the Lord Jesus, while on Calvary, carry their own unique insights and gems of truth. If we had eyes to see, we would find that every word the Savior spoke was like “apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Pro 25:11). In His words, there is the revelation of His
Control over Death
The Lord Jesus was never a “dying Lamb” as we sing. For Him, death was not a process but an act of His own timing. He yielded or sent away His spirit (Matt 27:50); He commended or placed in the care of His Father, His spirit (Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46); and He gave up or delivered up His spirit (John 19:30). The Lord Jesus displayed His power over death on five occasions: in the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son from Nain, and Lazarus. Here in Luke 23, He shows His power over death in giving up His spirit voluntarily. Finally, and most remarkably, while dead, in death’s domain, He had power over death and shook loose its claims and raised Himself from the dead (John 10:18). Little wonder that the Spirit of God points to His resurrection as the ultimate vindication of all He said and did!
Countless thousands of men had died upon crosses. All had struggled to maintain life until the pain had become so unbearable that death was preferable. Only One Man ever “gave up” or “commended His spirit in an act of willing and controlled sacrifice.
He dismissed His spirit before the two thieves by His side died. One reason is that no one could die in the presence of the Prince of Life. He brought life, and death had to flee from His presence.
The Consciousness of His Relationship
It is touching to hear Him address His Father in the first and last words from the cross. The middle cry was to the God Whose throne demanded the sufferings through which He was passing. But now, the work has been accomplished, the great issue of sin dealt with. Death still must occur as part of the total work of salvation, but there is the consciousness of a relationship which has never been broken; there is the resumption of the enjoyment of a fellowship which was dearer to His soul than can ever be measured. The joy which He had in that fellowship reflects something of the depth of His grief and pain when there was the interruption of the enjoyment of that same fellowship during those six hours on the cross.
His Confidence in Death
While both John 2:19 (I will raise it again), and John 10:18 (I have power to raise it again), reveal His power to raise Himself from the dead (in keeping with John’s theme of His deity), Luke is stressing the total dependence of this perfect Man, even in death. He was the “author” or perfect example of the life of faith. Entering into death, He commits all to His Father’s hand. He will leave the matter of resurrection to the power of God to affect. He is the dependent Man even in death; He is the Man of faith to the very last breath of His earthly life.
What glory it must have been to the Father, what joy to His heart, to see a Man on earth with total, unwavering confidence in Him amidst the hatred and machinations of men and demons. Every detail of His burial would be crucial to the proof of His resurrection. All that could be left to His Father to control. All the schemes of men to break His legs, to assign Him a burial spot with the poor in a mass grave, to desecrate His body – all that was left to His Father to overturn. In death, as well as in Life, He was perfectly at ease leaving all in His Father’s hands.
- Find other clear statements of faith expressed in His Father in Luke’s Gospel.
- Why were all the details of His burial so crucial to the proof of resurrection? What would have been different had He been buried in a mass grave with others?