Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46
Jesus was crucified and died. Matthew records that Jesus was beaten within an inch of His life, and carried His cross from the Roman Praetorium, through town and out to the crucifixion site.
Matthew further records, “and there they crucified him.” No fanfare nor explanation, merely that He was crucified. Matthew’s assumption was that the reader would understand the horrific process of crucifixion and no explanation was necessary.
The explanation, however, begins with Jesus on the cross and His lack of response to the sneers and jeers of the soldiers, the religious leaders and the bystanders. Through this time of confusion and pain, Jesus’ only words were of forgiveness to the soldiers and promise of salvation to the thief. In other gospels, He prepares for His Mother’s future.
How do we respond when confronted with sneers, jeers, confusion and pain? Do we “throw it back into their faces?” Do we “give it as good as we were given?” Or do we offer forgiveness, even without being asked to forgive? Do we share the salvation story with a needy individual even while the needy one is “cussing us out?” What is our response?
Jesus was able to do the impossible because ultimately, He “committed His spirit into The Father’s hands.” His spirit…His life’s force…yes, His very reason for being, had been committed into The Father’s hand, and in His very last words, He emphasized and finalized His life with, “I commit My Spirit.”
Our Lenten journey is almost over. We have traveled the long road of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, His betrayal, the Passover supper with His disciples, and finally His death on the cross. The question is before us and demands an answer. A hymns asks the question best:
“What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be.” Author: Albert B. Simpson (1905)
Will you say as Jesus said,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”