Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:
Because the timeline of the events on the cross is a compilation of the various accounts by the four Gospel writers, it is uncertain whether this one or “it is finished” was the last statement of Christ on the cross. Either way, Christ has now come to the point where He addresses God as Father once again, and not as a God who has forsaken Him.
The word commend is an entrusting or depositing of one’s resources into the care of another. It carries with it the idea of a voluntary surrender of something to someone else. In the Bible it is more often translated “set before” as in to place food in front of someone for their use. Jesus was handing over His spirit to the Father’s complete control.
As the Son of God, Jesus had complete confidence in what lay before Him. There was no fear of death. He had even said before that no one could take His life from Him; He freely laid it down (John 10:18). In that same verse He says that He has the power to take it up His life again. His assurance in death was that He and His Father were in complete control of the events.
It is finished.
Words with such finality, yet full of comfort.
Throughout the book of John Jesus says that His time is not complete yet (John 2:4; 7:6; etc.). He still has work to do. However, on the cross He says that His work is complete. He has finished what He came to do.
I also think back two chapters to the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Jesus said that the time had come for God to glorify the Son so that He could glorify the Father. Part of Jesus work was done. He said that He had completed the task that God had given Him. Obviously not everything was complete at that point because Jesus had not died. But each step of the way Jesus was completing the tasks God had given Him.
On the cross Jesus says that the work He was sent to do was complete. The sin debt had been paid. He had done His work of reconciling man to God. He fulfilled the law in His life and opened a way that we could have access to God through Him. What a glorious statement: It is finished!
While His work of redemption is complete, I am also thankful to know that He still has plans. We can read the Scriptures and see that He has a future planned for us and that because of His work on Calvary, we can have an eternal future with Him.
Two simple words that can mean so much. I have read how people want to spiritualize these words and what they mean. But, I think the simple answer is just as powerful.
The fact that Jesus was God in human flesh is fundamental to what Christians believe. This is yet another example of how Christ showed His humanity. He was hanging on a cross with real pain. As a man, Christ was thirsty.
These two words in John are preceded by the phrase, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith…” As the divine author of the Bible, Jesus knew the scriptures. He either said these words because He knew the scriptures. Or, as the inspiration behind the Bible, He had the Psalmist write his prophecy because He knew He would utter these words from the cross.
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
These words in Aramaic are a reference to Psalm 22. If you read the entire Psalm you will see the events in David’s life being played out in the life of the Savior. While David is writing about what has happened to him, it is prophetic of what would happen to the Lord on the cross.
His lips were parched. His garments were won by wager. People shook their heads and said that Christ should trust in God to deliver him. All these words (and more) are found both in the account of Christ on the cross as well as in Psalm 22.
Then we are told later in Matthew 27 that the people thought he was calling for Elijah (Elias). They said to leave Christ alone and let Elijah come to His aid.
Psalm 22 ends with a glorious proclamation by David. Sure many horrible things had happened to him, but he was confident in God that all would be made right. He knew that God was the Victor. God would overcome the enemy.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the LORD for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
[This is part of a series of posts during Easter week looking at the seven statements of Christ on the cross.]
…he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!
—John 19:26, 27
The scene at this point is shortly before Christ died. The Bible says that He saw His mother Mary standing near the cross. Besides just standing there, she must have been frantic. She knew what God had said about her son being the Messiah. Of all that she experienced during the life of Christ, she probably knew there was much more to what was going on than what she could see. This must have been the time she expected Jesus to leap off the cross and make His escape (if she indeed ever thought those things).
Her son did die. He was placed in a tomb. We know from the biblical account that three days later she was quite distraught. If Jesus was going to save himself, this was the time.
But now He hands over the care of His mother to John. In Christ’s final hours of suffering in human flesh He is concerned about others. He takes care of His mother.
It is great to know that we can trust Him who cares for us when our heart is hurting.