Summary: A look at the last words of Christ from the cross
Lk. 23.46 From the Cross: Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit
1. I know it may seem a little strange to still be considering the cross on Easter Sunday. I mean, after all, today is the day we are to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not His death. But I think if we listen closely to what Jesus says today, it will help us, not only today, but every day. We need to consider this last statement of Christ. But let’s hear it first. [Play CD]
2. The last thing Jesus says, as He hangs on the cross for you and me is, "Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit." But let’s consider what Christ is really doing and saying here. From the very beginning, Christ had an understanding that His call was to do the will of the Father. When He was twelve and His parents found Him at the temple, teaching with the elders, He said to them, "Did you not know that I had to be about my Father’s business?" Over and over again, as He was teaching His disciples as well as the crowds, He would affirm that He was not teaching His thoughts, but that everything He said came from the Father. As He began the process of moving towards the cross, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and He said, "Please allow this cup to pass from me. Yet, not my will but your will be done." And even as He hung on the cross, His utmost concern was to fulfill the will of the Father. His utmost concern was obedience to the will of the Father, even over His own comfort and His own safety.
3. This statement, once again, affirms that Christ was not simply trying to do the things He wanted, but it was instead an indication of His willingness to submit Himself to the will of the Father. "Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit." Some might suggest that this is Christ affirming that He has done all He can do. And while there are certain aspects of this that make sense, it seems that Christ is saying something more than this. It is that Christ is making one final submission of Himself to the Father.
4. In submitting Himself to the Father, He is surrendering His eternal destiny on His ability to have accomplished the will of the Father. Christ is willing to place His Spirit in the hands of a righteous judge knowing that He has done all that He can do. He is ready to face the Father. "Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit." I wonder this morning, how many of us would be willing to do that? To submit ourselves to God and say, "Go ahead and judge me. Do with me whatever you want to do." You see, that’s what Christ was ready to do.
5. In the Old Testament story of Job, he has had everything taken away from him. His possessions are stolen, his family killed, his home destroyed, even his health is awful with boils from his head to his toes. His friends show up and they tell him that He must have done something wrong and that now he faces the wrath of God. But Job denies any wrong doing, and begins to request a hearing before God. He begins to suggest that God owes him some answers for the wrong that has happened to him. That God needs to give Job an apology and that Job is going directly to God so that God can do that. And Job expresses this desire and in Job 13.15 he says, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;". What Job is saying is that when I present my case before God, I will very likely die because I know that I am not worthy to stand in His presence.
6. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah stands in the presence of God. He says that in the year that King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord high and lifted up. And His response to seeing the Lord was to humble himself and to say, "Woe is me. For I am a man of unclean lips." And Moses, when He was tending the flocks of his father-in-law, came upon the bush that was on fire but was not consumed. And out of curiosity, he said, "I will go and see this bush which is burned but is not consumed." And when he got closer, he heard the Lord speak out of the bush and say, "Moses, take off your sandals for the place you are standing is holy ground." Moses was not allowed to look on God’s face or on His back, but rather on His glory, which would passed after God. And then, Moses, after meeting with the Lord and receiving the 10 commandments came down from the mountain and was so radically changed that the people, out of fear, requested he wear something over his face. And a quick reading throughout the scriptures tells us that every time an angel appears to speak on God’s behalf, the first words are, "Do not be afraid."