Last Words from the Cross #7
Success includes finishing well; -completing a job with
all promises kept; -retiring with grace, clearly passing the torch; -and facing
death filled with hope and serenity. Jesus did all of these. But in this word,
Jesus was doing much more than finishing well. He was giving us a prayer for
all occasions. “.. Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit”
(Luke 23:46). Consider these applications of His final word from the cross.
IT IS A WORD OF SALVATION. Jesus took our sins upon Himself (though He had none of His own) and experienced our lostness by being separated from God the Father. His fourth word revealed this, “My God, ..why hast thou forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46). Having presented the perfect sacrifice of His blood for our sins, Jesus speaks from the darkness to renew His relationship with His father. “Into Thy hands” proclaims Jesus’ faith and wholehearted allegiance to His Father.
The word translated here “commend” is translated “committed” in 2 Timothy 1:12b. Paul says, “..I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” Have you committed your life to Jesus for salvation?
IT IS A WORD OF SERVICE. This prayer is also a dedication to God’s service. Someone has well said, “The greatest ability we can give God is our availability to Him.
Isaiah had said, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Paul later said, “..present your bodies a living sacrifice..” (Romans 12:1).
May I suggest you pray this kind of prayer of dedication:
“Father, into Thy hands I commit my body, my possessions, my time and my talents.”
Are you really available to serve God? There is no greater investment of your life. God pays rich dividends both now and throughout eternity.
IT IS A WORD OF SUFFERING. Jesus offered this prayer at the extremity of His suffering on the cross. He gave all His suffering to His Father without any anger or bitterness. In Gethsemane Jesus had prayed, “..Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).
Are you suffering? It may be a physical illness or handicap. It may be a difficult relationship or broken heart. Perhaps you have begged God to remove this burden, but He has not. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul tells of being caught up into Heaven. After his return, God sent him a “thorn in the flesh.” We are not told what it was. Paul begged God to remove it but God said, “..my grace is made perfect in weakness.” Paul said, “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”(vss. 8-9). Suffering can draw you nearer to God. When do you pray most, when you are suffering or when all is going well? Also, your faith, in the midst of suffering, may be your greatest witness to those who are lost. A diamond shines brightest against a dark background.
IT IS A WORD OF SECURITY. Jesus was clearly doing His Father’s will on the cross. Now it was completed. He prays with great assurance, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my Spirit.” He knows beyond any doubt that His Father is there to receive Him. Because of His payment for your sins on the cross, you also can have that kind of security. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,..” (John 10:27-28). Paul said, “I know.. He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him..”
Jesus was going home to Heaven. He invites you to join Him. Can you pray, “Jesus, into thy hands I commit my soul, my service, my suffering and my security?” Do you see how this is a prayer for all seasons and for eternity. Jesus led the way. Commit your life to Him and enjoy His fellowship now and forever! Amen.
© 2003 D. B. Martin
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