The Trusting Entrusting Christ :: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the seventh saying, Jesus addresses his Father God and commends his spirit into his hands. To commend is to commit or handover or entrust showing us that Jesus is the Trusting Entrusting Christ.

Centuries earlier, the Psalmist prophetically recorded this same phrase “Into thy hands, I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5) before expressing his trust in the LORD God of truth, who had redeemed him and Jesus’ final words from the Cross was a fulfillment of this prophecy.

Jesus had told his disciples, while they were in Galilee, that he would be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified and on the third day he would rise from the dead (Luke 24:6-7). He now diverts our attention to God the Father, into whose hands he commits his spirit, trusting that God would raise him from the dead (Acts 2:24). The hand of God is the most secure place one can be, for no one can pluck you out of the Jesus’ hand (John 10:28) or his Father’s hand (John 10:29).

Points to ponder:
Are you trusting in the LORD God of truth that he can resurrect the dead aspects of your life? Are you entrusting your life into the safe and secure hand of God?

Luke 23:45-47 (KJV)
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46 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.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Psalm 31:1-5 (KJV)
1 In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.
Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

John 10:27-30 (KJV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

The Ransoming Christ :: It is Finished

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the sixth saying, Jesus shows us that he is the Ransoming Christ. The sixth saying from the cross was “It is finished” which comes from the Greek word τετέλεσται (Tetelastai) meaning “Paid in full”.

All the prophecies of the Old Testament – The Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), The Passover Lamb of God (Exodus 12:3-14), The suffering Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 53), the Shepherd who would be stricken (Zechariah 3:17), and The Pierced Firstborn Son (Zechariah 12:10), the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) and many more were all fulfilled and finished in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The will of God the Father is to redeem mankind which Jesus came into their world to do (John 6:38) and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). This ransoming work was finished on the Cross (John 19:30). The world owed a debt to God because God’s just law required that the soul that sins should die (Ezekiel 18:20) and all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and death is the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14) which means the world just-fully deserved the death penalty. But Jesus, being sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:18-19), did not deserve to die, and so when he was crucified, the power of death that the devil had over sinful man was disempowered (Hebrews 2:14) and the debt of death that mankind owed was paid in full by the sinless ransoming Son of God. The power of the devil is finished because Jesus is the Ransoming Christ.

Points to ponder:
Imagine for a moment that someone whom you dearly love is kidnapped by a bad person and that evil doer sends you a ransom note, threatening to kill your loved one if you do not pay the ransom. We would do everything we can to pay the ransom in full so that we can rescue our loved one from that evil person. We would do that only for the person we love. If the person who is kidnapped is not someone we know or love, then we would not pay the ransom. In other words, we ransom only whom we love. What this means is that the ransoming act of Jesus Christ on the Cross is indicative of God’s everlasting great love toward mankind (Jeremiah 31:3). Had Jesus not cared for loved us, then the ransoming Christ would not have had to finish his work and declare his payment in full, on the Cross.

Jesus is the ransoming Christ. He ransomed our souls from death by his death, because he loved us. He died to pay our ransom so that we can be free (John 8:32, 36) and live with liberty (Galatians 5:1,13). As a free man or woman, are you willing to finish the work of reconciling others (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to the great and loving God by telling them of the ransoming Christ?

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Matthew 20:28 (KJV)
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NLT)
14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

The Yearning Christ :: I thirst

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the fifth saying, Jesus shows us that he is the Yearning Christ when he said, “I thirst”.

While this saying can be studied to understand and express the humanity of Jesus, which makes it possible for God to empathize with us (Hebrews 4:15), for Jesus, like each one of us, felt weary (John 4:6), sleepy (Mark 4:38), hungry (Matthew 4:2), and expressed human emotions such as grief by his weeping (John 11:35; Luke 19:41) and sorrow (Mark 14:34; Matthew 26:38), closer reading of this Bible scripture reveals to us that this saying was a fulfillment of prophecy. A prophecy that particularly references to messianic Psalms, which king David records in Psalm 22 and Psalm 69. Psalm 22:15 states that the Messiah’s strength would be dried up like sunbaked clay and his tongue would stick to the roof of his mouth, as one would experience in extreme dehydration and thirst. Psalm 69:3 records how the Messiah’s throat will be dried and Psalm 69:21 records how he will be offered gall and vinegar to drink, which was fulfilled on the Cross (Matthew 27:34), further establishing that Jesus is the Messiah who was prophesied in the scripture.

Knowing that all things were now accomplished (John 19:28), it would have been apt for Jesus to have said “It is finished” (John 19:30), but instead, he did not want any scripture to go unfulfilled and so he aptly said “I thirst”.

When he was offered vinegar mixed with gall to quench his thirst, Jesus refused to take it (Matthew 27:34), which further establishes that it was not necessarily his physical thirst that he was interested in satisfying but his spiritual thirst. Hours ago, in deep anguish, alone in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had cried out, asking for the cup of God’s justice to be passed from him, but as the obedient Son of God and Savior of all man, he willingly accepted to drink the cup of God’s justice (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39) by submitting to the will of God (Isaiah 53:10). And now here on the Cross, he expresses that after knowing that he had accomplished all things, he was thirsty and yearning to drink from the cup of God, to the dregs.

Points to ponder:

Jesus yearns to fulfill the scripture and to fulfill the will of God.  Jesus is the yearning Christ.
The wearied Savior offers to all who come to him that they shall find rest; eternal rest (Matthew 11:28-29) and those who are hungry and thirsty shall hunger and thirst no more i.e., they will be eternally satisfied (John 6:35), for the water he gives will be in that person a well of water springing unto everlasting life (John 4:14).

Have you drunk of the water Jesus gives? Is your spiritual thirst quenched? In other words, have you come to Jesus and believed in him? And if you have been spiritually quenched, like Jesus, are you and I yearning for doing and finishing God’s will? Can you, like the Savior, Lord and Messiah, Jesus, say “I thirst”?

John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

The Relationship Building Christ :: Woman, behold thy Son! … Behold thy mother!

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the third saying, Jesus, looks at his earthly mother, Mary, standing at the foot of the Cross, and the other disciple whom he loved and tells them to look at one another, before telling Mary that the disciple is her son and telling the disciple that Mary is his mother. In doing so, we see Jesus Christ – the Relationship Builder.

While the nails had pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, as Jesus was crucified, the prophecy of Simeon to Mary that a sword would pierce her heart was being fulfilled (Luke 2:35).

And amidst this anguish, Jesus’ focus was on relationships – family relationships. Though he was the heavenly Son of God, the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), he fulfilled his earthly duties as a son who honors his mother and makes provision for her care, for his time had come to leave the world that he came to and return to God his Father (John 16:28). He chose his most loved disciple and delegates a relationship responsibility. The time had come for new relationships to be established and ratified.

Points to ponder:
What is interesting to note is that, this Saying “Woman, behold thy son!” and to the disciple “Behold thy mother!” could have been said anytime other than when Jesus was hanging on the Cross. He could have made this relationship arrangement during one of the times that his disciples met him when he was with his mother or at the wedding at Cana where he performed his first miracle of turning water to wine. Yet Jesus waited for the Cross – for his time to come. This teaches us that it is only by the Cross of Christ that new relationships are forged and formed.

Because Jesus, the son of God was lifted up on the Cross, he lifts many of us as sons (and daughters) into glory (John 3:14-15; John 12:32-33; Hebrews 2:10). The cross makes it possible for a new relationship (a new creation) because Jesus, the relationship building Christ and creator of the world took our place on it (Hebrews 2:9).

When you believes in Jesus, his death and his resurrection, you are made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and a new relationship with God as God’s children commences. Are your a child of God? Are you related to God?

And if we are related to God, let us not forget to do our earthly duties as Jesus did. The world is hurting with broken relationships. There is unrest within families, hatred amongst kin, violence, wars between countries, wickedness, and evil and the world is in a state of anguish so much so that creation itself is groaning (Romans 8:22). It is in this world that God wants us to be relationship builders like he was. We need to take up our Cross, follow Jesus and tell others to look at him (to behold him) and be reconciled with God first and to love other as themselves. Are we relationship builders as Jesus – the relationship builder is?

John 19:26-27 (KJV)
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Luke 2:34-35 (KJV)
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

John 3:14-16 (KJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 12:32-33 (KJV)
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

Hebrews 2:9-10 (KJV)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Assuring Christ :: Today shalt thou be with me in paradise

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the second saying, when Jesus, tells the malefactor (criminal) who had acknowledged and addressed Jesus as Lord and King (Luke 23:42), that he will be with Jesus in paradise that day, we see Jesus Christ – the Assurer of his presence in paradise.

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the assuring Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus would be numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, we see condemned like the other malefactors (Luke 23:39-40), this prophetic saying comes true.

Points to ponder:
Amidst this condemnation that Christ suffered, as a criminal, though he had committed no crime, Jesus speaks words of eternal life (John 6:68), words of assurance – a blessed assurance, that the one who is condemned in the eyes of man is not condemned in the eyes of God, because he who had recognized Jesus a good man, having done nothing wrong (Luke 23:41), realized and recognized that Jesus the good man was indeed God-man and that Jesus was Lord and King, who will come again in his kingdom (Luke 23:42). The criminal’s request was to be remembered for he said “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, but Christ Jesus responded in a manner of speaking, that there would be no need for remembrance, because that criminal was going to be with Christ that very day.

Notice how, Jesus did not condemn or remind him of the criminal’s sinful past, which by earthly standards deserved excruciating death. Instead, Jesus focused on the criminal’s saintly future – a future with Christ himself. This gives hope – hope to the vilest of sinners (of whom I am chief) and does not preclude anyone out of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The criminal died that day, yet he lived for whoever believes in Jesus, though he shall die, yet shall he live (John 11:25-26).

Also note, how the criminal’s request talks about “Jesus’ kingdom” not the kingdom of man. Jesus taught his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth. Yet many a times, we in our human fallibilities and carnal desires seek to establish our own kingdoms. Like the criminal, we must ask for God’s kingdom to come and not our own. His will, not our will be done.

And to all, who like the criminal, recognize Jesus, not solely as a good man, but as God-man, the only man in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:19), as the Lord and as a King whose kingdom will come, Jesus is the assuring Christ with whom we shall all be, in paradise.

Is Jesus The Assuring Christ to you? In other words, have you believed in him and accepted him as Lord and King of your life?

Luke 23:39-43 (KJV)
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

John 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

The Interceding Christ :: Father, Forgive them for they know not

Each of the seven sayings from the Cross gives us a glimpse into the nature of Jesus Christ. In the first saying, when Jesus, despite his anguish, prays for the forgiveness of those who had transgressed against him, by requesting his Father to forgive them for they did not know what they did, we see Jesus Christ – the Interceder – between God and man.

The prophet Isaiah had prophesied of the interceding Christ centuries earlier, when he recorded that Jesus’ soul would be poured out unto death and that he would be numbered with the transgressors, bearing the sin of many, and making intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). On the Cross, this prophetic saying comes true.

Points to ponder:
Not only is Jesus the interceding Christ on the Cross, but after the Cross, upon his death and victorious resurrection, he is still the interceding Christ in heaven, making intercession for man with God, as the One mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

And as followers of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1), we must also be intercessors – standing the gap (Ezekiel 22:30) – as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, beseeching man to be reconciled with God. (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus Christ, the interceder gave us the model of intercession. Are you and I an intercessor for God?

Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Jesus cashed us Out

Heard this morning on the radio, the story of a cashier (I believe at Walmart), whose gesture emulates the love of Christ Jesus. As a mom with 5 kids and a cart full of groceries was getting ready to checkout this cashier (whose name I did not catch) told the mom “Looks like you can have a blessing”. The cashier walked over to the other side and while the mom expected to get a hug or a coupon, the cashier took out her own debit card and paid for the groceries in full. She cashed this family out. However, for a moment, if you let me indulge you, should the mom, who received this unmerited favor, refuse to accept the kindness and generosity of this cashier, she would not have benefitted in the blessing.

On the Cross, the sixth saying of Jesus Christ was “Tetelastai”, meaning that it is finished; it is paid in full (John 19:30). The spiritual debt that leads to the death of man, due to man’s own sin, was paid in full by the remitting blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:25) on the cruel cross of Calvary. In other words, Jesus cashed us out for the wages of sin is death, bringing life, eternal life, to all who believe in him for the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).

Points to ponder:
You have been cashed out by Jesus Christ, for Jesus’ sacrifice is once and for all, accepted by God. Our spiritual debt has been paid, but if we willfully refuse to accept his offer of eternal life, we remain in the spiritual debt that can be satisfied only by death, second death, eternal death, forever separated from God.

Are you cashed out by Jesus Christ? In other words, have you willfully accepted Jesus and believed in his Salvation?

Romans 6:23 (KJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.


Rolling the Stone

You have probably heard about the English band Rolling Stones, but have you heard about rolling the stone. Genesis 29:1-11 gives the account of Jacob rolling the stone that covered the well, where he meets his future wife, Rachel. When Jacob arrives at the land where his mother Rebekah had asked him to go – her father’s place, he looked and saw a well in the field. It was the well that watered the flocks and there were three flocks of sheep lying by it. And a great stone covered the well. When the flocks gathered, it would take a few shepherds to roll the stone off the mouth of the well to water their sheep and after the flocks were quenched of their thirst, the shepherds would put the stone again upon the well’s mouth, possibly to keep the water from evaporation or the wells from being stopped (Genesis 26:18). When Jacob saw his mother’s brother, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, at a distance, he approached the shepherds that had gathered there and asked to water the sheep and feed them, though he knew that it was not yet the time to do so. They responded that they could not, because all the flocks had not yet gathered there at the well, and that the stone on the well had not yet been rolled. Then as Rachel came toward the well, Jacob went near it, and single-handedly rolled the stone that covered the well and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother, which Rachel kept as a shepherdess.

The Bible does not explicitly state Jacob’s intent in rolling the stone from the mouth of the well. We can only speculate as to whether it was a show of his strength to impress his future wife, or if it was a demonstration of his spirit of service. One thing we can extrapolate however from the sequences of events is that up to this time, we know of Jacob as the deceiver who did not really work hard to get what he wanted – usurping his brother’s birthright and blessings – but now after his encounter with the Lord God, enroute to his mother’s brother’s place, for the first time we see Jacob working hard, not to take but to give.

Points to ponder:
When we encounter the Lord God in our life’s journey, and we believe in Jesus Christ, we are changed from being deceivers (James 1:22) to becoming doers of his work and will – which is to muster his Holy Spirit (and not our own strength) to co-labor with the Lord and roll the stone covering the hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) of people, so that the God’s Holy Spirit – The Living Water – can quench their spiritual thirst. Are you and I a stone roller?

Genesis 29:1-11 (KJV)
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well’s mouth.
And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well’s mouth in his place.
And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we.
And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him.
And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.
And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well’s mouth; then we water the sheep.
And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she kept them.
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.

Total Surrender at the Cross :: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit

Jesus’ seventh and final saying on the Cross before he gave up the ghost was “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” which was addressed to God, his Holy Father. In this saying, we see Jesus’ total surrender to God, into God’s holy hands – from which no man can pluck (John 10:29).

Points to ponder:
Jesus totally surrendered  himself at the Cross. Today, he expects the same from you and me. Can we look at him today, and totally surrender over selves into his hands. Can we say, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

Luke 23:46 (KJV)
46 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.

Belonging On the Cross :: It is Finished

Jesus’ sixth saying on the Cross was “It is finished.” which is not particularly directed to anyone specifically, but was a profound declaration of the all of creation, the new state of affairs – the world forever changed – as the devil, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and his power over man, which is death (Hebrews 2:14), was finished. The words, “It is finished” comes from the Greek word “Tetelastai” which means paid in full.

When we owe a mortgage on a property, until that property is paid off in full, we cannot claim total ownership of that property. The moment we pay the loan in full, the rights of ownership is transferred along with the title of that paid property to us.

Points to ponder:
Jesus declared that it is finished. In other words, he was saying that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), but those wages have been paid in full – there is no more payment needed for those who have receive him and who believe in him. Jesus bought us with his own life and now he holds the title of ownership of our life in his hands. We belong on the cross, but because of Jesus taking our place, we now belong to him, if we believe in him. Where would you like to belong – on the Cross or in the hands of Christ? Considering the fact, that it (the work of Salvation) was finished, this should be a easy question to answer.

John 19:30 (KJV)
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.