Luke 23:46 Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit 12/28/2003 ßà
#1. Father (Luke 23:46-49, John 17:23, 1John 3:1)
#2. My Spirit(Rom 8:16, Rev 6:9, Heb 12:22-23, John 4:24, 1:14)
#3. Eternal Security (John 6:37, 10:29, 1Pet 1:5)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to Luke 23:44 (2X). Today we take a detour from the series on the Wisdom of God, because today we are again celebrating the Lord's Supper. On September 29th in the year 2002, during a Lord's Supper service, I made a beginning to preach on the last sayings of the Lord Jesus on the cross. There were 7 recorded utterances of the Lord Jesus just before He died. As you know, the number 7 is the number that indicates "perfection". But the number 7 is also the number of "Rest" in a finished work. God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, and He rested the 7th day. Today we will look at the 7th saying of the Lord Jesus indicating that He rested in His finished work on the cross. The task the Father had given Him was now complete, and now He rested and put His Spirit in the Father's hands. The title of the sermon today is: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit" (2X). Let us first read about the events accompanying this saying of the Lord Jesus. We read here in Luke 23:44-45 that
Lu 23:44-45 ¶ And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
What was the 6th hour? In the terminology of the Jews of those days the 6th hour was at noon. It was about 12 O'clock. And there was darkness over all the earth until 3 O'clock in the afternoon. This was not a sun-eclipse. The time of Passover always coincided with full moon. Therefore the moon did not position itself between the earth and the sun; the moon was on the other side of the earth, and the moon would become visible after sundown. This darkness over all the earth was a true miracle from God to indicate that God's face was hidden from the Sin-Bearer, the Lord Jesus Christ, because darkness was symbolic of Hell. In His parables the Lord Jesus compared Hell to a place of "outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth". And now He Himself was surrounded by that outer darkness, indicating that in His Spirit He was suffering the wrath of God, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for all those sins He was bearing. And during these three hours there was no communication with the Father in heaven. This darkness did not originate from Satan. God repeated this in verse 45, where He said, "And the sun was darkened", referring to the "SUN of righteousness", from Mal 4:2. This was a miraculous darkness, and God did it. God also said, "the veil of the temple was rent in the midst", or if we use the wording from Matt 27:51, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom", as if the finger of God tore that veil from the top to the bottom. The result was that the Holy of Holies in the temple was exposed. The most holy place, which was the place where in the OT God resided above the Ark of the Covenant, and where God spoke with Moses from between the Cherubim, that most holy place was closed off with a very heavy curtain from the rest of the temple. Only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, was the High priest allowed behind that veil with the blood of a bull for his own sins and with the blood of a goat for the people's sins. This was to indicate that the people had only access to God through a mediator, which was in the OT time the High Priest. But now the veil was rent, and the Holy of Holies was exposed, whereby God indicated that anyone could now have access to God directly, except he has to go through the torn veil, which represented the torn flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Heb 10:20. This is what God had in view when He recorded that incident of the torn veil. Let us continue with verse 46.
#1. Father (Luke 23:46-49, John 17:23, 1John 3:1)
Lu 23:46-47 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit": and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man".
Lu 23:48-49 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
The darkness had passed. It was beginning to get light again. Jesus indicated the end of His sufferings for our sins when He said with a loud voice, "It Is Finished". And now Jesus said with a loud voice, "Father". It means that the line of communication with the Father had been restored. Why did He say these things with a loud voice? For two reasons: First, Jesus spoke with a loud voice to let His enemies know that He obtained the victory. His prize was to have purchased grace and mercy for all His elect people. All the efforts of His enemies to destroy Him were turned upon their own heads. How so? At the cross all the elect of God had all the guilt of all their sins erased. This was the only day in history that the guilt of sins was blotted out, since the Lord Jesus Christ was the substitute for His elect people before the judgment throne of the Heavenly Father. And everyone else in the world was assigned to pay for their own sins in Hell. They desired to be the enemies of God, and God grants them their wish. Secondly, He spoke with a loud voice to let His disciples know, and to let us know, that Jesus laid down His life for His sheep; it was not taken from Him, but He laid it down of His own accord. He was not an exhausted victim on the cross. He was not dying because He was exhausted from so much suffering at the hands of men. No! He laid down His life because in His Spirit He had completed the torments of Hell. He had completed the atonement for our sins. And now He said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit". The sword of Divine justice had smitten the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, but now justice had been served. The cup of the wrath of God was drained. The storm of wrath was spent. The darkness was passed. The communion was restored. And now, by an act of faith, He confidently laid His Spirit in the hands of His Heavenly Father.
Think of this now: His Father is also our Father. The Lord Jesus said in John 17:23, "That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me". This is incredible. Does the Father love us as much as He loves the Lord Jesus? This is what Jesus is saying here. Think of it now in human terms: If a Father chose the Bride for His Son, would He not love His Son's Bride as much as He loves His Son? In human terms, that is a distinct possibility. The Lord Jesus said that this applies to the relation between the Heavenly Father and the Bride of Christ. He is our Father, because God the Father is Christ's Father. What a love, and what a comfort, and what an assurance. He will supply all my needs. It means that I do not need to be afraid of people. The Father cares for me, and He will protect me that no harm will be done to me, so that all things work together for my good. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God", from 1John 3:1. Then Jesus said: "Father,
All along the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, "The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him". Now, the appointed hour had struck. He was delivered into the hands of sinners. The Lamb of God was led to the slaughter. How shamefully they treated Him. Here was their opportunity to vent their hatred of Jesus. And why did they hate Him so? It was out of envy. That is exactly right. This is what envy can do to you. And with wicked hands they caused Him to be crucified not knowing that it was all in "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God", according to Acts 2:23. God wanted Jesus crucified so that salvation can come to His elect, and God used the sin of the Scribes and Pharisees to accomplish His goals. Voluntarily He delivered Himself into the hands of sinners. And now, voluntarily He delivered Himself into the hands of His Father. "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit". Here again, the Lord Jesus said this so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. He quoted these words from Psalm 31:5, "Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth". Never again will He be in the hands of man. Never again will He be at the mercy of the wicked. Never again will He suffer the shame of the cross. He put His Spirit in the hands of the Father. That is the safest place to be. His Spirit went into heaven; His body went into the grave. Two days later the Father raised up His dead body from the grave, and 40 days later the Father exalted Him high above all principalities and powers, and above every name that is named in heaven and on earth, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavens. From there He shall come on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead, and He shall come with power and great glory. Then the tables shall be turned. Him, whom the world has cast out, shall rule and reign them with a Rod of Iron. When He was here on earth He was judged, but then He shall judge them. Once He was in their hands, or so they thought, but then shall they be in His hands. Once they cried, "Away with Him", but then shall He say, "Depart from Me, all ye that work iniquity". Now He is in the Father's hands waiting for the right time to avenge Himself on all His enemies. Please turn in your Bibles to the Second Epistle to the Thess 1:8 (2X). Does Christ have many enemies? Most certainly He does. All the people in the world that know not the God of the Bible are His enemies. God says in 2Thess 1:8-9, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power". All the people that know not God will God consider to be His enemies. Is that not harsh? No! Not at all! Because in the same chapter 2Thess 1 we read that they are the ones who trouble us here on earth. Some of them are envious of our material things, some are envious of the spiritual rest we have in Christ, some are envious of our knowledge of the Bible, and so on. Their envy turns them into action, and this is why they trouble us. God says in 2Thess 1:6, "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you". God is an avenger of those who hurt the Bride He has chosen. God says in Matt 18:7, "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
Jesus said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit". What did He mean by "My Spirit"?
#2. My Spirit(Rom 8:16, Rev 6:9, Heb 12:22-23, John 4:24, 1:14)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews 12:22 (2X). Some people think that man consists of three components: a body, a soul and a spirit. But that is needlessly complex. Man consists of two components: a body and a soul, or a body and a spirit. The words "soul" and "spirit" are used as synonyms. The non-material ego in man is called a "spirit" in contexts where the direct relationship to God is the point of emphasis, but where its bodily, emotional, or intellectual aspects are not prominent. For example, we read in Rom 8:16, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God". "Our spirit" refers to our souls. For example, they are called souls in Rev 6:9, "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held". Here they are called souls, since there is special reference to the brutal form of their death. But these same souls in heaven are called spirits in the exalted description of the heavenly goal which lies before the church. We see it here in:
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Here the blessed dead are referred to as "the spirits of just men made perfect", which are the same entities as "the souls under the altar" in Rev 6:9. Therefore, whether we call them spirits or souls depends on the context. The context must show whether the emphasis is on a direct relationship to God or on a relationship to the body, or whether the meaning is personal or impersonal. The Lord Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth". This was the Spirit that the Lord Jesus was speaking about when He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit". In the incarnation I spoke about two weeks ago the Spirit of God the Son, the second person of the triune Godhead, took on a human body in he womb of Mary. That was a mysterious union of God with human flesh. At that point in time God so unified with the flesh of mankind that God could say: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). God the Son is the Word, because "In the beginning was the Word". He was renamed Christ, meaning the anointed One, and He was renamed Jesus, meaning Savior, and He was renamed Lord, because He bought us on the cross, and He bought us body and soul and therefore He is our Lord. When Christ was born His Soul was the same as His Spirit, which came from heaven as God the Son. Mary supplied his body. When Christ died His Spirit, or His Soul, went back to heaven, and His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John 10:17 (2X). We read in Luke 23:46, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost". Can you see that the Lord Jesus left us here an example. Do we realize that He committed His Spirit to the Father, because it was in the Father's hands all His life? Can we claim that also of ourselves? If so, then it is in safekeeping. Can we with the Apostle Paul say, "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"? (2Tim 1:12). Are we living for His glory? You know that the Lord Jesus said, "for without me ye can do nothing", and so are we then walking daily as depending on Him? On the other hand, are we learning that we can do all things through Christ? The Apostle Paul wrote in Phil 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". You see, how we die depends on how we live. Are we living and dying in absolute dependency upon God? Will it be easy for us to say, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit"? If so, then it is well with our souls.
But now look at the unique way the Lord Jesus gave up the Ghost. His life was not taken from Him, but He laid it down of His own accord. The Lord Jesus was very explicit about this. He said in:
Joh 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
Joh 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
With the sinner it is death first, and after that the judgment. With Christ the order is reversed. In laying down His life, His death was different from all others. He died by an act of His own volition. In mere man this would be called suicide, but in Him He died like He was the Prince of Life. How can we know that He indeed laid down His life? Well, look at the following 6 examples: #1. During His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked, "Whom seek ye"? They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus said, "I AM", and they fell to the ground. Jesus could have walked away from them, because they were powerless on the ground. But He did not do that. He delivered Himself up into their hands. #2. Christ spoke with a loud voice. He still had most of His strength. Most of His blood was still in His body. Only after a soldier pierced His side gushed there out blood and water. #3. When Jesus said, "I Thirst", He spoke these words that the Scripture (singular) [not the Scriptures] might be fulfilled. The Lord was referring to one specific Scripture, Psalm 69:21. In other words, His mind was unclouded. #4. When Jesus said, "It is finished" He bowed His head. This means that His head was erect all the time for 6 hours on the cross. He consciously, calmly, reverently bowed His head. #5. When Jesus said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit", he calmly gave up His Spirit; no one took it from Him. For example, when Stephen died he said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit". Jesus gave up His Spirit. Stephen asked Jesus to receive his spirit. #6. It was not natural for Jesus to be dead in 6 hours. The 2 thieves next to Him were still very much alive. People have survived crucifixion for 10 days. Therefore, when Jesus gave up the ghost, He laid down His life; it was not taken from Him.
But now, look at the blessed place of eternal security that followed after Jesus died.
#3. Eternal Security (John 6:37, 10:29, 1Pet 1:5)
His Spirit went into heaven. He knew that a people had been given to Him. The Lord Jesus said in
Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
He knew that He would come back at His resurrection from the grave to take His elect. If He would not have been raised from the dead, then our faith would be vain, and we would still be in our sins. But Christ's body was raised from the dead. This is the basis of our assurance, since we are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1Pet 1:5). Therefore, every soul that has been "Born Again" is eternally safe in the Father's hand, because Jesus promised it when He said in John 10:29,
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Just like Christ on the cross we can experience the blessedness of communion with God. We have the privilege to communicate with God at any time, any place, or under any circumstances, even near death. We can talk to God about our fear of death, and why it is that our faith is failing at that moment? Christ has extracted the sting out of death. We should no longer be afraid of death. Death is the door which admits us into the presence of Christ. We too can say, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit", because our earnest desire is to be with Him. Nothing but God can satisfy our desires and our heartfelt needs in this world.
The prayers of dying saints show what great value they place on their soul. At the time of our death we express our faith and trust in the Father's care for our soul. And when we say, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" we plead with God to keep us safe until the moment our life flees from us.
We live in a world full of trouble. We are unable to take care of ourselves in this life, much less are we able to do so at the time of death. The world, the flesh and the Devil are combined against us. They are too much for our strength. We need help from God, because in ourselves we are weak. Only by grace can we be strong. Only by grace can we have the faith that God provides to all who love Him, to all who are the called according to His purpose. Here is the harbor of shelter from all storms. Here is the blessed shield of faith, which protects us from all the fiery darts of the evil one. Thank God there is a refuge from the storms of life and from the terrors of death: It is the Father's hand. It is our faith that we are in the Father's hand. That is truly a refuge.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.