The seventh saying of Jesus as He hung on the Cross, living up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins was a word of total submission and finality. His saying was ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’. The scripture records “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” (Luke 23:46).
This is the LAST ACT of the Jesus before he died. In an attempt to understand the depth of this saying, let us break this into three parts
- INTO THY HANDS
- I COMMEND MY SPIRIT
The address of God as Father by Jesus is first a Testament of his SON-SHIP and secondly a Testament of his SEPARATION from God.
By addressing God as his Father, Jesus was establishing the fact that even though he was born of Mary and Joseph, He was the Son of God. The Magi did not ask “where is He who is born of Mary and Joseph, the carpenter?” Instead they asked of Herod, “where is HE who is born the King of the Jews?” Remember, in the 3rd saying on the cross, Jesus calls his earthly mother Woman reminding Mary of her PURPOSE. Epitaphs on tombstone often reflect the sonship of the deceased. The TITULUS (superscription) above the bruised and pierced of Jesus read not that he was Jesus, the carpenter’s son, the son of Mary but instead read IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM (Latin) which when translated is Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews (English). God Himself proclaimed that Jesus was his beloved son, in whom God was well pleased both at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17) as well as in Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:7) . Jesus is indeed the Son of God.
Note how Jesus addressed God as Father in the first saying (Father, forgive them for they know not what they do) and now in the seventh saying, he addresses God again as Father, but in the fourth saying, He addresses God as My God (Eloi). Prophet Isaiah says that our iniquities separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and when Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the tree/Cross (1 Peter 2:24), a Holy God had to hide his face from the sinless one who was made sin (Isaiah 59:2). Jesus was therefore separated from God his Father on account of our sins. But when his sacrifice was accepted by God as the perfect and final offering (Hebrews 10:1-18) for all, He could say, “It is finished” and his relationship with God the Father was restored, whereby, Jesus did not have to address God as My God (Eloi) but as Father. Jesus calling God as ABBA (Father) is indicative of the restoration of the communion they had, a testament of the separation from God as Jesus bore the sins of the world.
INTO THY HANDS
The phrase, ‘into thy hands’ is a Testament of SECURITY.
Submission into the hands is God is the basis of our assurance in the hope of a future with God. It is testament of extreme Security. In John 10:27-30, Jesus’ saying establishes the fact that those who are in His hands or in the hands of God, His Father, are secure. No one can pluck his sheep out of his hand or out of his Father’s hand. (John 10:27-30). Voluntarily Jesus was submitting Himself into the hands of God. Act 2:23 records wicked hands crucified and slew Jesus. Jesus’ crucifixion was not orchestrated by man, but was done as per the will of God. God put himself into the hands of men so that men could be put into the hands of God starting with the God-man Jesus, who before he gave up his ghost, did the same, and put himself into the hands of God, His Father.
I COMMEND MY SPIRIT
The phrase I commend my spirit is a Testament of STEWARDSHIP and a Testament of a SAVIOR.
This saying of Jesus on the cross is a model of faithfulness under extreme duress, a kind of faithfulness we would want to have when things go wrong for us, especially when death seems imminent. The Spirit of God descended from the heavens and alighted upon Jesus (Matthew 3:16) and it stayed with Him as we see that the Spirit of God is what leads Jesus into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1). The Holy Spirit of God that was came upon Christ is willingly submitted back to God the Father, so that the Holy Spirit can be given unto all those who believe in Jesus and in God the Father who sent Him (Acts 1:8) . In good stewardship, Jesus faithfully returned to God what was His in the first place. It is important for us to answer whether, we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God and secondly have we commended our Spirit to God as Jesus did?
By saying, I commend my spirit, Jesus was conducting his own funeral. During a regular funeral, at the time of what is called commendation, the officiant stands near the body of the deceased and commends the person, who has died to God by saying somthing like “Receive him/her into thy arms of mercy”. By commending His Spirit voluntarily, Jesus was saying, I lay down my life for you. As the Savior of the world, he LAID DOWN his life on his own; it was not taken from him. (John 10:17).
For man, it is death first, then judgment (Hebrews 9:27); but for Jesus, it was judgment first, then death. People killed Jesus, but not his Spirit and the power of God resurrected His body that was killed and his Spirit lives on in each of us who have accepted Him and believed in his Name, confessing our sinfulness.
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit is a testament of Son-Ship, Separation, Security, Stewardship and a Savior.