By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church
Los Angeles, CA
April 18, 2014 (Good Friday, 6th of the 7 Last Words)
TEXT: (Luke 23:46, ISV) Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After he said this, he breathed his last.
After a long struggle in life, and after his long agony on the cross, Jesus gave up his spirit to his Father. What’s observable here is that Jesus used the words of King David in Psalm 31:5.
“Into your hands I commit my spirit; for you have redeemed me, LORD God of truth” (ISV).
I deduce that he used David’s words to show that it was Christ’s Spirit that testified in the Old Testament prophets, and that he came to fulfill the Scripture. Jesus Christ died with Scripture in his mind and his mouth.
I observe three things in the 6th last saying of Jesus Christ:
Jesus used “Father.” In Greek it is pater (pater) from the word pa (pa) which means “nourisher” (one who sustains), “protector,” or “upholder” (supporter).
The father in the Hebrew family, as in the Roman, had supreme rights over his children.
He could arrange his son’s marriage (Gen 24). He could dispose of his daughter in marriage (Gen 29). He could sell his children (Exo.21:7), he had power of life and death, as in the case of Isaac (Gen 22), in the case of Jephthah’s daughter (Jdg 11:34), the sacrificing of his children to Molech (Lev.18:21; Lev.20:3-5), etc.
Reverence, affection and respect, for fathers (equally for mothers) is most tenderly, explicitly and sternly prescribed from the earliest times (Exo.20:12; Lev.19:3; Deut.5:16; Mic.7:6; Ezek.22:7, etc. (ISBE).
For Jesus, his Father was not just a titular head, his Father has authority over him since he is the begotten Son. His Father is the nourisher (sustainer), his Father is the protector, and his Father is the supporter.
Jesus felt and experienced that when he was struggling for the salvation of mankind. Now once again his Father was there willing to protect him, to nourish his soul in times of death, and to support him.
II. “Into Your Hands.”
The Greek word, εις (eis) which is translated “into” indicates the point reached or entered. Greek χείρ (cheir), “hands,” literally or figuratively means “power.” This can be translated “into your power.” Here Jesus is committing his spirit to the One who is omnipotent, the God who is all-powerful. Jesus is committing his spirit to his Father who is powerful enough to love him.
III. “I entrust my spirit.”
Different Bible versions are using different words for παρατίθημι (paratithēmi). For example International Standard Version uses “entrust” (ISV), the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible and the Modern KJV use “commit.” “Commend” is used by Jubilee Bible, King James, Revised Version, and Webster Version.
They are all right, but let me use here the word “entrust” since it is more meaningful for me. “Trust” may mean or nearest to “faith,” thus, Jesus, with all his faith in God, yielded up his spirit. Two things I see here: (1) Jesus yields up his spirit to the One who is trustful, who is his Father, (2) Jesus yields up his spirit voluntarily. The Jews and Romans put him to death, but still he had his power to yield his spirit.
“No man takes it (life) from me; I am laying it down of my own will, for I am authorized to lay it down, and I am authorized to receive it again; this commandment I have received from my Father”(John 10:18).
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, “Jump! I’ll catch you.”
He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: “Jump! I will catch you.” But the boy protested, “Daddy, I can’t see you.” The father replied, “Don’t worry, I can see you, and that’s all that matters” and the boy jumped (sermonillustrations.com).
The Christian faith enables us to boldly face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen by God, our Father. Our Father who will protect us, who will support us, and who will sustain us. Let us imitate Jesus when he said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”