Seventh of the Seven Last Words

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.  Father, into
 Luke 23:46

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Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Luke 23:46

As I read this verse of scripture three words or couplets stand out to me: (1) Father (2) Your [God’s] hands (3) I [Jesus] commit. Today, I am going to give each of these words some more thought.

Father

The Seventh Word from the Cross is known as “The Word of Reunion.” The first thing I notice is that Jesus is once again referring to God as Father rather than as God as emphasized in the Fourth Word. (see post for March 26) While he is still hanging on the cross, Jesus is experiencing a spiritual reunion with God as Father. Also, Father and Son will soon be physically reunited when Jesus returns to his heavenly home after the resurrection.

Your (God’s) hands

The hands of Jesus are pierced with nails that hold him to the crossbeam of the cross. He places these hands into the hands of his Father rather than into the hands of mankind. It was the hands of men that pounded these nails through his hands in the first place so this is not what he wants. Jesus acknowledges a more secure feeling of comfort and care in the hands of God. Jesus no longer needs to know the whys of his situation; he simply trusts his Father by placing his hands into His hands.

I commit

Feeling the security of the promise of reunion with his Heavenly Father, Jesus verbally commits his spirit into the hands of God. These are the words of a dying man who is breathing his last breaths of earthly life. This is a statement of surrender to the Father’s plans and purposes, which at that moment did not look great from his human vantage point upon the cross of crucifixion. Jesus trusted even though he did not fully understand. It is interesting to me that another reunion is being made possible at this same time. Jesus’ commitment opens the door (or curtain) for the reunion between Father and Son and it opens the way for me as well. Mark 15:38 states, “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” when Jesus uttered these words. The fact that the curtain was torn from top to bottom is a powerful statement revealing that the curtain was torn by the hand of God rather than the hand of mankind. Not only are Father and Son being reunited but the torn curtain symbolizes that people now can have access to God at any time. That is why Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Father…your hands…I commit

Since “The Word of Reunion” can apply to me today, I want to consider how this affects my daily life. Just as Jesus never got his why question answered, neither should I expect full understanding in my journey with the Lord. God doesn’t ask me to understand but He does ask me to trust and obey. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:24,“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. “ Hmmm. What kind of cross am I to take up? I do not need to really die a physical death upon a cross like Jesus, but there is a dying to self that I must experience. I like the quote from Ann Voskamp  “I know — we need a place of execution in our lives if we’re ever to rightly execute a life of faith.” Just before Jesus began his final journey to the cross, he prayed in the Garden of Olives saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” according to Luke 22:42. So, if for me to take up my cross means to die to myself, what do I need to die to? This may include my will, my dreams, my desires, even my own rights. This gets very personal! I am not so sure I will always like this but I want to heed the words of Matthew 16: 25-26, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Maybe dying to myself will not be so bad after all when I consider the length of time of eternal life!

My Reader, in just a few days we will be celebrating Easter. However, before I can celebrate Resurrection Sunday, I feel the need to embrace the cross of crucifixion and the meaning of the seven sayings by Christ on the cross. Personally, as I try to wrap my mind around all of this today, I find myself singing the first verse of the hymn I Surrender All by Judson W. Van DeVenter. Then I will be ready to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today on Sunday. My Reader, will you join me in song?

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live. 
Refrain:
I surrender all,

I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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