Summary: This sermon looks at Jesus' words, "Into Your Hands"
Into Your Hands
In our Scripture tonight, something happens that is incredibly significant and worthy of our attention. In the entire history of our planet, it had never happened before and will never happen again. God died. What’s so powerful about this moment is not just that he died but that we get to see the King Eternal die, not just His work on the cross, but His actual death and that makes all the difference for us. It was a time of ominous signs in the heavens and on the earth beneath as “darkness came over the whole land” and “the sun stopped shining.” And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:44-45) The curtain mentioned is the inner curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the Temple. This is the throne room of God and only the High Priest was allowed in. The curtain may have been 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, and 2-3 inches thick. So to tear this curtain would have taken an incredible force, God sized force. But what does tearing the curtain mean? The Gospel writers don't tell us. Some thought it was the Father leaving the Throne Room to be with His son on the cross. But most scholars believe this was God saying because of what Jesus has done on the cross, the way to God is open now to everyone. You no longer need a High Priest to offer sacrifice. You can go directly to God because Jesus is the High Priest and has reconciled you to the Father.
It’s these last words of Jesus that we see he gave himself completely to God. “Into Your Hands”. . .whose hands? “Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.” Matthew 17:22 and in Matthew 17:25 Jesus says, “Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” He had placed His life, His body into the hands of men. They didn’t take it, Jesus gave it! As a result, he was in the hands of man, for those last 18 hours of his life:
With their hands – they arrested illegally
With their hands—they stripped him naked
With their hands—they whipped him, until flesh fell from His bones.
With their hands – they beat Him
With their hands -- they plucked His beard
With their hands—they slapped Him
With their hands—they jammed a crown of thorns down on his head
With their hands – they placed a robe of mockery upon Him
With their hands—they nailed Him to a cross
But now Jesus gives His Spirit into the hands of His Father!! In those hands, Jesus found security, comfort and strength. It was those hands which could do what none other could: deliver him out of the hands of man. In his darkest hour, Jesus gives his life, his Spirit, his death and his future to the tender hands of His father.
It’s in these words we see that Jesus trusted God to the end. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46 (ESV) He didn’t say, “Into the grave,” or “into the dark unknown,” or even “into heaven” but “into the hands of God.” Jesus is praying Psalm 31:5. That verse was the prayer every Jewish mother taught her child to say before they went to sleep. Just as we were taught to say, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep....” So the Jewish mother taught her child to say, before they went to sleep, “Into thy hands, I commit my spirit.” But Jesus adds one word to this verse, “Father.” The word he adds is Abba which is more accurately translated daddy or papa. It’s a very intimate term and one filled with utter and complete trust and dependence of a child. Daddy is what your kids call you when they’re little. Boys will usually lose that level of intimacy with their daddies as they get older and stop using that term. But not Jesus. He maintains a childlike faith and trust in the Father. Jesus refers to the Father, Abba, 44 times in John 14-17. And even on the cross when it looked like evil had triumphed, Jesus trusted God.
Why? Because Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts I have for you, thoughts of good and not of evil to bring you to an expected end, thoughts to prosper you and not to harm you, thoughts to give you a hope and a future.” God wants the best for us and for Jesus. Jesus died trusting God, knowing that when His body died, His Spirit would live. This ought to profoundly change the way we look at death and our journey to death.