Summary: Jesus concluded the profound statements from the cross with a final prayer to the Father. This was not a resignation of defeat, but the words of the sovereign Lord who remained in complete control, even in death.
Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit
This morning we come to the last of the seven sayings our blessed Lord spoke while hanging upon the cross. These were the last words Jesus would speak before He yielded up the ghost and died. As with the first and fourth saying, these last words were offered as a prayer to the heavenly Father.
The last words of many who were dying have been recorded throughout history. Often, they reveal much about the mindset and condition of those who were facing death. Some are at peace and others die struggling, in torment. These last words of Christ reveal much to us about His person, His position, His power, and His provision. As we close out this series, looking forward to Resurrection Sunday, I want to consider the last words Jesus spoke before He died: Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit.
I. The Position Mentioned – 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. For many who beheld the cross that day, it likely appeared that a tragic end had come to a mere man. Jesus had been tried and condemned to death upon the cross. Most of those who followed Him were not present that day. Few who cared for Him were near the cross.
Clearly Jesus had spoken words of compassion, seeking forgiveness for those who had wronged Him. He had promised the thief that he would enjoy paradise that very day. But there were words of anguish as well. Jesus had cried, My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me? For those who looked on mocking, it may have appeared that Jesus had been abandoned, forced to die alone upon the cross.
We have already discussed the anguish Jesus endured while the sins of the world were placed upon Him. There He suffered the wrath of God for humanity, and He bore that wrath alone. God had turned His back upon His Son as He bore our sin, but Jesus was not forsaken, hopeless of any future fellowship. Here we find that Jesus once again cried out unto His Father, revealing His position and the relationship they continued to share. John 17:4 – I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. Jesus was fully obedient to the will of God.
I find great encouragement in these words. We all deal with sin in our lives. We know sin causes separation. Apart from salvation that separation will endure for eternity. But for the believer there is comfort in these words. We may allow sin to enter our lives and it may hinder our fellowship with the Lord, but it does not hinder our relationship. The saved have been made heirs of the promise, adopted into the family of God, never to be forsaken. If you are a child of God, you will always be a child of God! John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
II. The Power Mentioned – Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Here we find a fundamental truth that cannot be overlooked or over-emphasized. Pilate and the Sanhedrin had cast their voice against Jesus. Sentence was declared and Jesus was crucified upon the cross. May I remind us that it was not Pilate or even the religious elite that forced Jesus to bear the cross! Jesus did not endure the suffering of the cross at the will of men. He suffered the torment and death of the cross because this was God’s plan of redemption. Jesus died to provide our salvation!
Jesus bore the cross by His own power and He died according to His own power. This may have been a crucifixion, but it was not an execution. Jesus was not a man who endured circumstances that were beyond His control. He was crucified upon the cross because He had no other choice. Things had not spiraled out of control resulting in His crucifixion and death. Jesus was not killed or murdered; He willingly gave His life. He chose the moment when He would yield up the ghost. Even in death, Jesus was in complete control. The cross stands as a testimony to His sovereignty!
Now, I am not outside the bounds of Scripture here. The word commend means “to place beside or near; to set before.” Jesus placed His Spirit in the hands of the Father before He died. John 10:17-18 – Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. Matt.27:50 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. Here the word yielded literally means “to send away; to yield up; to permit or allow.” Jesus was not at the mercy of the cross and the death it would bring. While He hung there, death was subject to His command and power!