My church has been studying the gospel of Luke for well over a year and we are finally at the end of a very rewarding journey. The focus of a recent lesson on Luke 23:44-49 was the words Jesus spoke before he died on the cross. Luke recounted Christ’s words as a quote from Psalm 31:5: “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.” These words are quite different from the last words of Jesus found in the gospels of Matthew and Mark.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Psalm 22:1
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
Jesus felt both anguish and trust in his last moments. Anguish because he suffered on the cross for the sins of man; trust because he knew that God would deliver him.
My pastor told us that the words of Jesus on the cross were not a prayer of preparation for death but an expression of trust. Jesus trusted the Father with his life. These words – into your hands, I commit my spirit – are not famous last words but famous first words.
Jesus knew the scriptures and committed them to heart.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;Psalm 31:1-5
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
What if I were to pray these words daily? Father, into your hands, I commit my (living) spirit. Deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Deliver me from the challenges I face this day. Deliver me from temptation. Lead me and guide me. I take refuge in you, Father! You are my rock and fortress.
My pastor said, practice makes permanent. When we make reading and praying scripture a daily practice, we will remember it when we need it most. We will all be shaken by difficulties in life. When we are shaken, whatever we are filled with comes out. Fill your mind with the word of God.
Finally, let difficult times draw you near to God, not push you away. Don’t take things into your own hands. Put your life in God’s hands. You can trust him.