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Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit

Matt Carter    /    Mar 02, 2014


Matt Carter speaks on Luke 23:44-46

Series: The 7 Sayings of Jesus


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Sermon Transcript

In our passage today, something happens that is incredibly significant and worthy of our attention. In the entire history of our planet, it had never happened before and will never happen again.


God died. Not just some guy, but God Himself; Jesus was God.


For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, Colossians 2:9 (ESV)


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (ESV)


Jesus is God. He is eternal. Paul described Him to his friend Timothy, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen,” (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV).


What’s so powerful about this moment is that we get to see the King Eternal, the King Immortal, die. His death, not just His work on the cross, but His actual death matters to us. A few reasons it matter is because…


1.     Unless Jesus died He couldn’t be resurrected.

2.     It gives us an example of how we are to die.


Jesus Had To Be Resurrected


Jesus died and was buried. Three days later He came back to life. God raised Him from the dead. The moment He was raised from the dead, He defeated death.


Jesus became victorious over death.


That’s a big deal! He defeated an enemy that has been whipping our tails since Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Because He was victorious over death, if you are in Christ Jesus, trusting in Him as your Lord and Savior, then you are going to be victorious over death also.


The death of Jesus is important because He beat it. Because He beat it, we will beat it.


His Death Is Our Example


Every one of us, at some point in the near future, is going to die.


The average age of the church attender here at the Austin Stone is twenty-seven years old. That means in sixty to seventy years, pretty much all of us in this room will be dead. Unless Jesus comes back, which He might and I hope He does, we will all die.


Death is an event you are going to experience.


Through His last words, Jesus offers us a precious gift; we get to see Him die. We get to watch Him go through something we will eventually go through ourselves.


He not only paid the price to bring us to glory, but He also gives us an example of what it looks like to go to glory.


The question is not if you’re going to die, but rather how are you going to die?


We’re not talking about the circumstances of your death, cancer, heart disease, car accident or old age. We’re talking about the condition of your heart at the moment of your death.


As a pastor I’ve seen a lot of people when they come to that point that are gripped and wrecked with fear, uncertainty and anger. They cry out for more time. They’re gripped with regret.


Not so with Jesus. He died incredibly well.


21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV)


Jesus gives us an example on how we are to suffer. You’ve been called to live out His example in your own suffering and dying.


10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:10 (ESV)


Paul wanted to become like Jesus in his death. Most of us don’t think about that. We usually want to become like Jesus in His life, but not also His death.


In light of the truth that we will all die and are called to follow Jesus’ example, let’s look at His death and see what we can learn from it.


44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46 (ESV)


Three things stood out to me about what we can learn from Jesus’ example.


1.     Jesus died with Scripture on His lips.

2.     Jesus died with confidence.

3.     Jesus died peacefully.


Jesus Died With Scripture On His Lips


In your bible, the words, “Father, I commit my spirit” is probably capitalized. The Bible wasn’t trying to make an emphasis; Jesus was actually quoting Scripture. With the very last sentence of His life, Jesus quoted Psalms 31:5.


You squeeze Jesus, He pours out Bible. You pierce Jesus and He bleeds Bible. You put Him in the desert, starve Him and put Satan right beside Him to tempt Him, and He speaks Scripture. Put Him on the cross and torture Him, and He speaks Scripture. He comes to the dying moments of His life and He’s speaking Scripture.


Stephen, the first martyr for Jesus had Scripture on his lips as well. He was preaching in the name of Jesus. People told him he needed to stop or they’d kill him. He said he couldn’t. He actually stood there and preached the entire Bible. The chief priests and Pharisees responded.


54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Acts 7:54-55 (ESV)


I love that Jesus was standing. All other times in Scripture it discusses Jesus being seated at the right hand of God, but when Stephen was giving his life for Him, Jesus stood up.


56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:56-60 (ESV)


The last two things Stephen said before he died were two of the seven statements of Jesus on the cross. He was so acquainted with the death of Jesus that when it came time for him to die, he said the exact same things Jesus did.


Jesus died with Bible on His lips. Because of this, Stephen died with Bible on his lips. Because of this, countless of other believers through out the years have died with Bible on their lips. When I come to die I want to do the same thing, die with Bible on my lips.


I don’t want to beg God for more time. I don’t want to be afraid. I want to breath out Scripture.


Jesus Died With Confidence


46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 (ESV)


Jesus died with confidence, knowing that when His bodied died, His Spirit would live.


16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)


This ought to profoundly change the way you look at death. For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, death is not the end. It’s merely a means to an end. The end is eternal life.


Death is not some cataclysmic event. It’s just a door we walk through. On the other side of it is life unimaginable.


One of the greatest tricks Satan will ever play on you is to get you to fear death. When you fear death, it robs you of thinking about the joy that death will bring to those in Christ Jesus. The fact there is joy and life unimaginable on the other side of death’s door should make you not fear death anymore. That’s what it did for the apostle Paul.


55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)


Paul was talking to death. He looked at death in the face and started talking smack to it! When we die, our spirit enters into real life. We can look death in the face and not be afraid. We can do this because Jesus beat it. We can approach death confidently, like Jesus did, because we know our spirit will live.


Jesus Died Peacefully


Jesus died peacefully, knowing that when He died, He would die in the arms of His Father.


46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 (ESV)


The word Father is the Hebrew word Abba. A more accurate translation is not the formal word Father, but rather an informal word like daddy or papa. It’s a very intimate term.


Daddy is what your kids call you when they’re little. Boys will usually lose that level of intimacy with their daddies as they get older and stop using that term. I remember when JD was little and he would scream, “Daddy!” when I walked in the door from work. Now he’s thirteen years old and I can barely get a head nod when I get home.


For a few hours on the cross, Jesus lost that level of intimacy with His Daddy. He was absorbing the full wrath of God and cried out, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?” But when the fullness of His suffering had come and He had paid the price, He said, “It is finished. It’s over and paid for,” then the veil of the temple was torn, which symbolized we now had access to the Father through Jesus’ blood, and the intimacy returned. Jesus finished the last statement of His life with the word Daddy.


46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Luke 23:46a (ESV)


He didn’t say, “Into the grave,” or “into the dark unknown,” or “into heaven, I commit my spirit.” He cried out with a loud voice, “Daddy! Into Your hands, I commit my spirit.” He was quoting Psalm 31:5.


Tradition has it that Psalm 31:5 was the prayer Jewish fathers taught their children to pray every night at bedtime. As darkness would fall over the house, a Jewish father would pray with his children, “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit.” It was kind of like our American bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” No doubt Joseph, Jesus’ father, prayed that same prayer with Him as a little boy.


44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Luke 23:44 (ESV)


Even on a Roman cross, Jesus died like a child falling asleep in the arms of His Father. What a gorgeous and beautiful picture that is!


When JD was little, I was trying to teach him how to swim. I would put him on the edge, trying to teach him how to jump in. I would get in the water and see if he would jump to me. He wouldn’t do it. I would tell him, “JD, I’m going to catch you, I promise you. It’s okay; you don’t have to be afraid. Just jump, I’m right here.” Finally, one day he got the courage to do it and he jumped. I caught him and held him. I said, “Buddy, I told you I would catch you.” From that moment forward he was never afraid to jump. He knew the moment he jumped, his daddy’s arms would catch him.


Jesus said, “Daddy, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” He was completely at peace at His death; He knew when He made that jump He was simply falling into His Daddy’s arms.


The same is true for you. For those of you who trust in Jesus and His work on the cross, when that day comes for you and you breath your last and close your eyes, you will be caught in the arms of your Heavenly Daddy and He will say, “I told you I’d catch you.”


We’re all going to die. So let’s follow the example of Jesus at His death. Let’s die with Bible on our lips, confidently knowing our spirit will live on and peacefully knowing we will be caught in the hands of our Father.