Summary: By placing His spirit into God's hands, Jesus demonstrated that we have promise of rest, peace, and comfort when our time on earth is done.
a. This morning we finish our series The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross by focusing on Christ’s seventh and final statement made from the cross.
2. A place of rest, peace, and comfort.
a. Read Luke 23:46—Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
b. This saying and the previous one, “It is finished,” were uttered in rapid succession.
c. The proclamation of victory is followed by a statement that contains an assurance of rest, peace, and comfort.
d. It was a demonstration of what physical death would not be for all believers.
(1) It was not a leap in the dark.
(2) It was not a plunge into an unknown void.
(3) It was, however, a going home.
e. The sting of death had been removed forever.
f. Without saying any additional words, He also gave an awesome promise—a promise of rest, peace, and comfort.
g. Illustration: A little girl came home from a neighbor's house where her little friend had died. "Why did you go?" questioned her father. "To comfort her mother," said the child. "What could you do to comfort her?" "I climbed into her lap and cried with her." (www.sermoncentral.com, contributed by Bruce Howell)
h. Christ could cry with us because He had suffered as we had and would. Christ could offer comfort because He had experienced all that we would experience.
i. It is because of this last statement from the cross that we, as believers, can, along with the Apostle Paul, say with certainty “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
3. What Kind of Spirit Was Jesus Delivering to the Father?
a. It was not His eternal spirit because His eternal spirit was always with the Father.
(1) Read John 1:18—No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
(a) Jesus always occupies a place of special nearness to His Father, God.
(b) Even when He was here on earth, Jesus was still in the bosom of the Father. He was one with God and equal with God.
(c) He fully revealed to men what God is like. When men saw Jesus, they saw God. When Jesus spoke, they heard God speak.
(d) They felt God's love and tenderness. God's thoughts and attitudes toward mankind have been fully declared by Christ.
(2) Read John 3:13—No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
(a) Jesus was the only person qualified to speak about heavenly things, since He was the only One who had been in heaven.
(b) He wasn’t just a human teacher sent from God, but He taught with authority because he had lived with God the Father from all eternity, and came down into the world.
(c) When He said that no one has ascended to heaven, He was not implying that Old Testament saints such as Enoch and Elijah had not gone to heaven, but rather that they had been taken up, whereas He ascended to heaven by His own power.
(d) A different way of explaining it would be that no human being had access to the presence of God continually in the way which He had. He could ascend to God's dwelling place in a unique way, because He had descended out of heaven to earth.
(e) Even as He stood on earth speaking with Nicodemus He said that He was in heaven. How could this be?
(f) This was just a statement of fact that, as God, He was in all places at one and the same time, what we refer to as omnipresent.
b. Jesus’ eternal spirit, by virtue of His eternity and infinity, could never be limited, but could take form in the person of the incarnate Christ so that it could be said that in Him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
(1) Read Colossians 2:9—For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…
(2) In this passage Paul gives one of the most inspiring and unmistakable verses in the Bible on the deity of Jesus.
(3) There is an intended accumulation of evidence attesting to the fact that Christ is God.
(4) First, there is His deity: “For in Him ... deity dwells bodily.”
(5) Secondly, there is what some have called the amplitude of deity: “For in him the whole FULLNESS of deity dwells bodily…”
(6) Finally, there is what has been called the absolute completeness of deity: “For in him the WHOLE fullness of deity dwells bodily…”
(7) This evidence is an effective answer to the various forms of modern-day Gnosticism that deny Jesus’ deity—Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unity, Theosophy, etc.).