Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit
The sixth saying of Jesus in our series “Seven sayings of the Cross” is the last words of Jesus recorded by Luke before Jesus died … “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. We will explore how Jesus words can bring us comfort and hope as well as the challenge to surrender the things that weigh on our hearts and minds to the hands of God.
While today is Palm Sunday and in a normal Palm Sunday service we would be talking about the Triumphant Entry and the events of Holy Week – this year as our Lenten journey we have been exploring the saying of Jesus from the cross and today we c have come to the last two of the seven sayings of Jesus as He was hanging on the cross. In John’s gospel, John records Jesus’ last words as “It is finished” … and I am going to explore this in our Good Friday service on Friday, but in Luke’s gospel – the gospel we had our Bible reading from – Luke records Jesus last words as, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
These last words that Jesus spoke before He died are powerful words – a prayer to His Father. I am going to break this prayer down in to three different parts and encourage us to consider how these words can speak into our own situation.
The first word of the prayer is “Father”. This was Jesus’ favourite title for God. It speaks of an intimate relationship or connection. It is interesting that the first word from the cross had been, “Father, forgive them.” His last word was, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Both starting with this word Father.
But in between he had cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In that moment of feeling alone and abandoned, Jesus called him, “God” and not “Father”. But now at the point of death … Jesus has come back to calling God “Father” again. There is something very encouraging in this idea that at the point of death, Jesus is leaning into the loving relationship with his father.
I have sat with many people who are dying and what I often notice is that at the point of death – people are not thinking about their achievements, or their wealth, or their failures … they are thinking about the people they love. At the end of life – it is all about relationships – and it was the same with Jesus. That is why he started this prayer with “Father”.
Father – into your hands. There is something wonderful about this expression. “Into your hands”. Hands are things that welcome people, that show love or affection … when we hold hands. It also is a place of safety and trust. “I feel safe in your hands”.
And these are not ordinary hands. These are the Father’s hands. These are the hands that created the universe and set everything in motion. These are the hands that reach out in love and the hands that hold us tight. These are our Father’s hands.
For 15 hours Jesus has been in the hands of wicked people. With their hands – they beat him. With their hands – they hurt him. With their hands – they crowned him with thorns. With their hands – whipped him and mocked him and nailed him to a cross. But no more. Wicked hands have done all they can do. Jesus is now placing his trust, his hope – his life – into his Father’s hands.
Father, into your hands … I commit my spirit. You would have heard the old joke that when it comes to bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed. Jesus was not just involved in his father’s will, his father’s mission to bring people back into God’s loving care … Jesus was committed to his plan … all the way to the cross.
Jesus had been committed to this plan throughout his life. He spoke about it when he taught … he even prayed about it in the garden of gethsemane. “Not my will be yours be done.” It is a prayer of commitment. And now at the point of death Jesus commits his spirit, his life to the hands of God.
It is important to remember that Jesus’ death was not forced on Jesus by the Jewish leaders or the Roman governor … as Jesus said in John 10:18, “No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do.” Jesus – out of his love for us and his desire that we could be forgiven and reconciled with God – at the point of death – committed his spirit to the hands of God.
We use the same line in a funeral service when someone dies. We commit their spirit to the hands of God.
The word that kept coming to me when I was reflecting on this passage was the word, surrender. Jesus surrendered. Not in the sense of Jesus giving up, or waving the white flag … but rather Jesus knew that this was necessary for salvation and therefore willingly surrendered to the process … trusting in his father. It was a statement of willingness, surrender and trust.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
What about us? Do we also need to pray a prayer of commitment or surrender or trust today? We might not be at the point of death, but maybe we are facing other issues in our lives, or maybe we are worried or concerned about things, or maybe we just find ourselves relying too much on our own strength and finding it hard to trust God. Do you need to pray this prayer today?
Let’s pray it together…
Father … our loving God who has been and always been there for us.
Father … into your hands … your safe hands, your protecting hands, your strong hands, your faithful hands…
Father … into your hands … I commit …
What do you need to place in God’s hands today?
We can trust God. Lets in a moment of silence commit to God these things to the hands of God.
Father … into your hands I commit …
Thankyou father that you have heard our prayers,
And that we can rest in your loving care,
Knowing that these things are safe in your hands.