“Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”

These are the final words spoken by Jesus.

The heartbreak of false accusations, betrayal, abandonment, and the crowds cheering for crucifixion have reached their cruel conclusion. The agony of abusive mocking, the crown of thorns, flesh-ripping flogging, hands and feet nailed, the struggle for every breath, and hanging naked have reached their intended outcome.

Death is seconds away.

There’s nothing peaceful or serene about this moment.

Luke is the only writer to record these words. Matthew and Mark simply say that Jesus “uttered a loud cry and breathed his last” (Matt. 27:50, Mark 15:37). These are the final words of the suffering savior reaching the finish line of his calling.

Only a few more breaths.

Here is the perfect Son of God experiencing the outrageous effects of a sin-cursed world. Here is the obedient savior embracing the horror of death to provide atonement. Here is the Lamb of God hanging between heaven and earth to take away the sin of the world.

His last breath.

Slumped silence.

Chin to chest.

It’s over.

Jesus died.

His mission on earth – completed.

His statement – “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” – like others on the cross is from the Psalms. His life and mind so saturated with the Scriptures that verses erupt in this painful moment. Once again, he quotes a lament psalm – Psalm 31. But he doesn’t quote a verse about hidden nets, worthless idols, the hand of the enemy, grief, or affliction.

Instead, he quotes a verse about trust. “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is not only the destination of a lament; it’s the destination of his ministry, his life, and his death.

Jesus suffers while trusting.

He dies while trusting.

In a Jewish home, Psalm 31 was often used in evening prayer as the final song before laying down to sleep. It was offered in hope that God would care for his people through the darkness of the night. It was sung in faith, believing that “God’s goodness is abundant and stored up for those who fear the Lord” (v. 19). Psalm 31 anticipates the steadfast love of Lord being shown to us when “we are in a besieged city” (v. 21). It confidently proclaims that God hears our pleas for mercy even when we feel “cut off from his sight” (v. 22).

So, these are not only the final words spoken by Jesus. They are also the last example of his life lived in loving trust with the Father.

His final words are not usual words. Throughout his ministry, Jesus often talked about his deep love and connection to the Father:

  • “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”” (Luke 22:42)
  • just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:15)
  • I and the Father are one.”” (John 10:30, ESV)

Final words are important. They represent our last will and testament. Last words are chosen carefully. “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” are no different.

They capture the irreducible minimum of the gospel message: trust.

Here is Jesus, our suffering savior completing his calling on earth by dying and trusting. Here is Jesus, our ultimate example, using his final breaths to live in obedient faith. Here is the Son of God staring death in the face and boldly declaring – even shouting – that he is still trusting.

We know that the crucifixion isn’t the end of the story. But what we witness here is incredibly important.

Jesus suffered and died. But that’s not all.

He died as he lived: trusting.

“Father into your hands I commit my spirit”

He died so that those who trust in him might live.

Mark Vroegop is the Lead Pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis. He’s the author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, the ECPA 2020 Christian Book of the Year, Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation, and the Dark Clouds Deep Mercy Devotional Journal.

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