“And having said this he breathed his last.”
(Luke 23:46 ESV)
A more graphic picture of trust in God has not been seen greater, or in more vivid detail, than in Jesus’ final words from the cross, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” This was the end of the road, the place where either faith pays off or comes face to face with a sign that reads, “Dead End”. Jesus chose faith, to hold tightly to an unseen hand and face the consequences of that decision.
Was there a real Devil – an evil spirit being, Satan, the archenemy of God that held mankind hostage, slaves to sin? Jesus knew there was, he had already dealt with him in a wilderness confrontation about three years earlier winning that match hands down; but this went beyond a test of debate skills, of the Lord’s ability to reject the enemies tempting offers – back then he would live to fight another day regardless. Not this time, however. This was a winner take all contest that would end in only one of two ways: either the end of Satan’s reign or, the absolute end of Jesus’ life.
Jesus chose to take his faith in God all the way to the grave, to pitch tent with guys like Abraham, taking the road unseen; to throw in with men like Joseph (Jacob’s son) trusting God in spite of adversities, ill-treatment and uphill climbs. Even though God had gone silent at that moment, he knew he was there and faithful to make good on all he had promised – the ultimate example of trust.
I commit my spirit to you father; it’s out of my hands now and in yours.
You know the rest of the story, I pray. His body went limp; his head slumped down, Jesus died. For my sins and yours, he took the mocking, the ridicule, the shame, the lashing, the nails. He chose to trust God, to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is God, that he is reliable, trustworthy and dependable, keeping his word (see Psalm 16:10) and prove it he did. For “God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip” (Acts 2:24 NLT).
“Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 2:15 NLT; Romans 5:21 NLT; Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV).
Jesus trust is so childlike, his last words reminiscent of the prayer we teach our children committing our safe keeping to him each night. In fact, it’s a prayer based upon a Jewish custom taught to the young at bedtime with its roots in Psalm 4:8 and 31:5. We say, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Jesus simply said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit”.
My prayer for you is that your trust in God will be as the trust Jesus modeled on the cross. In life and in death, may our eyes always look in childlike faith to God, trusting and confident in his care.