Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit {The Last Words of Jesus}

The last words, the last actions, of Jesus are a demonstration of trust. We are called to live as Jesus died, committing our spirits into the hands of our Father.

Life easily lulls us into believing that if we are committed to the Lord, if we trust God, things will all work out for us (and in the end, I believe they will.) But in this moment, surely it looked to the disciples like Jesus was trusting His Father in darkness and failure, death.

Are you willing to meet Jesus here?

Don’t rush ahead to Resurrection celebration.

Take time this weekend for silence and stillness. Imagine what it felt like for the women and men who loved and followed Jesus as He walked the dusty streets of Israel, whose hopes were dashed.

 


Are there dreams you’ve had for your life that have died? What have you hoped for in your relationship with God, in being who He’s made you to be, that feels hopeless and buried?

What is the darkest area of your character, your circumstances, your hidden inner self?

What would it look like to commit your spirit into the hands of the Father? What can you release to Him today?

 


We are called to live as Jesus died, committing our spirits into the hands of our Father. Lord Jesus, we love you. And we are silent, with you.

 


I’ve compiled all of “The Words of Jesus” posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

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It is Finished {The Last Words of Jesus}

Jesus’ last words in the book of John are perhaps the most famous of the last words of Christ: “It is finished.” What was finished? What did Jesus come to earth to accomplish?

I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  (John 6:38—40)

And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”  (John 9:39)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  (John 12:27-28)

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,  even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 

 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:1-5)

 

Jesus entered fully into the human experience.

He demonstrated the Father’s heart to an oppressed people, subjugated to a foreign government, and dying at the hands of the religious elite and the empire itself.

He fully accomplished His Father’s will, drinking even the cup of suffering and death.

He proved Himself the prophesied Messiah king, establishing the Kingdom of God, crowned on the Cross: King of the Jews.

He died, bringing abundant and eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

He glorified His Father.

It is finished.

  


 

“It is finished” are perhaps the most familiar and frequently preached about of Christ’s last words. We know that the work of Jesus was fully completed on the cross. And yet we so often tend toward living a Jesus and… life. “Jesus gave me abundant and eternal life, and also I have to….” Are there things we need to do in addition to what Jesus did on the cross? Why or why not?

 

Lord Jesus, we hear your words, “It is finished.” We believe you entered fully and completely into our human experience—Emmanuel, God with us—and you fully and completely accomplished the Father’s will. Help me to sit in the silence of your “It is finished.”

 


Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? {The Last Words of Jesus}

When have you experienced darkness, a time where you felt that God was far from you? When have you felt the most abandoned?

 

After 3 hours of darkness, Jesus cries these words of despair, quoting Psalm 22. The Psalm continues,

Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy…”

Theologians debate the significance of this moment and argue about what Jesus intended to communicate by quoting this particular Psalm. But at its simplest, most basic level, we can see this moment as Jesus entering fully into our human condition.

Born into a broken, hurting world, sin eclipses the sun. We feel forsaken, alone, and hell comes in close.

Darkness falls, we feel we don’t deserve God’s love, we’ve turned away from His presence and goodness: Might we meet Jesus, even here?

 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (Psalm 139:11-12)

 

Picture yourself at your darkest hour: Your hardest trial, your greatest failure, your most alone. Now picture Jesus, meeting you there. Can you see the grace in His eyes?

 

 


Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

Woman, Behold Your Son {The Last Words of Jesus}

Sometimes it’s easier to serve the poor and be generous with strangers than it is to be kind to my own family.

Is God pleased when I stand up for the oppressed, then turn around and belittle or yell at my children? Does it honor God when I bring an audience of hundreds to praise and tears, but neglect my mother, lonely in her empty nest?

I can blame ignoring the needs of those closest to me on my devotion, my commitment to the gospel, my care for the world. But that attitude is revealed for the lie it is, here in the eyes of Christ. Even in pain, even in death, there is no conflict between His obligation to His family and His Father’s will and plan.

In Jesus’ care for His mother in these last minutes of His life, I see the heart of a son, a good and loving son. And I see the heart of God.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)

 

When have you been tempted to use religious obligation or the need to do “good things” as an excuse to neglect caring for those closest to you (things for which there is no applause or even thanks)?

 

Orphans and widows were the 2 of the most vulnerable populations in New Testament times, people for whom there was no societal safety net. Think about the vulnerable people in your own neighborhood or city, people for whom there is no safety net. What could you do to care for vulnerable people this week, in Jesus name?

 

 


Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise {The Last Words of Jesus}

Which is harder for you, forgiving others or being forgiven? Why?

 

As I read Jesus’ words of Grace to the criminal dying next to Him, I am reminded of His forgiveness of ME. Am I that different from a thief, really? I steal God’s glory, I trade my own value and worth for a bowl of soup, I ignore the face of God in my brother.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:6)

As I see and receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus with the thief on the cross, I’m reminded that our Lord died the way He lived: With arms opened wide to the downcast, the sinners, the breaking and broken in this world.

 

I let my to do list, my social media, my overstuffed schedule, distract me from hurting people, from the business of God’s Kingdom. And here is Jesus, even as He suffers and dies, seeing the hurting ones around Him, responding in grace.

 

Lord Jesus, I see You. I see your arms open wide, and I hear your invitation to follow You in a life lived wide open, available to the hurt and hurting, even to death. Meet me here, Jesus, and change my heart to look more like yours.

 


 

Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing {The Last Words of Jesus}

Back raw with the wounds of scourging, face dripping blood from the crown of thorns, with spikes in His hands and feet, Jesus cries,

FATHER, FORGIVE THEM…

Jesus is living out God’s teaching: Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus is demonstrating God’s heart. It looks to me like His enemies know exactly what they’re doing: They set Him up, they trapped Him, they rejoice even as He suffers, mocking Him.

And He says, “They do not know what they are doing…”

Picture yourself, standing at the foot of the cross on that dark day, a friend of Jesus, grieving what has been done to Him. How do you feel, hearing Him cry forgiveness? Can you forgive those who put Him here, believing they don’t know what they’re doing?

Does it help you to forgive them, knowing Jesus’ forgiveness includes you, too? We lash out at goodness, hating ourselves, hurting others. Crucifying, over and over. We don’t know what we’re doing.


 

Can I extend this same grace to my enemies, or even to those who simply annoy  and inconvenience me? When wronged, can I pray, “Father, forgive them?” Even in the face of human calculating, deceit, harm, can I see a bigger picture, “They don’t understand what they’re doing”?

Take a moment and think of someone who has wronged you, maybe even someone you would consider an enemy. Ask Jesus to join you in your thoughts and memories of this person. Picture the look in His eyes. Are they included in His forgiveness? In yours?

 


 

Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

Holy Week: The Words of Jesus on the Cross

As we head into this week in the church calendar set aside to remember the death of Jesus, I want to SLOW DOWN. I don’t want to rush past Good Friday, anxious to move beyond the uncomfortable story of Jesus’ death in order to celebrate the Resurrection.

Why? Because Jesus came to this earth and called people just like me to follow Him. I follow a risen savior, conqueror of death and hell. But the road He’s called me to follow Him on is a road lined with pain, suffering, humiliation. His road is the road to the cross.

We walk the road of life, grieving the pain and suffering in this fallen world, seeing humiliation and oppression around the world and in our own neighborhoods, sure to experience death ourselves.

Perhaps we need the example, the encouragement, the words of Jesus? Perhaps we could meet Him here?

Join me this week and slow down with Jesus, looking each day at one of the things He said in His last hours from the cross at Golgotha, expecting Him to meet us here.

Set aside time over the next 6 days to meditate on each of the last words of Jesus on the cross. Every day between tomorrow (Palm Sunday) and Friday, I’ll share one of the last statements of Christ on the cross, along with reflection questions and brief devotional thoughts.

Tomorrow we we begin prayerfully considering each statement Jesus cried as He finished the work our Father sent Him to accomplish. Today we remember the path that led Jesus to the cross.

After sharing a Passover meal with His dearest friends, our Lord was betrayed into the hands of His enemies, arrested, and brought before the Roman Governor.

Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He *answered him, “It is as you say.” 3 The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly. 4 Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” 5 But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.

6 Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. 7 The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. 9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead.12 Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

16 The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they *called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they *led Him out to crucify Him.

21 They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.

22 Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. 24 And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. 25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

(Mark 15, NASB)

 


Why did Jesus’ life end in gruesome, painful death?

The Sunday School answer is “He died for my sins.” This is true, and beautiful, but paying a penalty for sins is not the only thing Jesus accomplished on the Cross.

What else do you think Jesus was doing for you and for the world on the cross?

 

If you had to explain what the death of Christ means to you to someone who didn’t know anything about it, what would you say?


 

Every day between now and Good Friday, come back here to find a devotional on one of the last statements of Jesus from the cross, as well as an invitation to slow down and meet Jesus at the foot of the cross.

I’ve compiled all of these posts into a PDF for my subscribers. If you’d like a copy of that, you can sign up here.

 

A Forgiveness Crossroads {Good Friday}

As I sat in the quiet at a Good Friday service today, I was distracted by hurt, a recent injury, an ongoing “discussion” (fight) I am having with someone in my head.

I worked hard to focus in on the story, the great drama of Good Friday. But my injured feelings kept intruding.

And then I read Jesus’ words,

Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.”

I guess I have always skipped over those words before, “Jesus forgives. Check.”

But today they are new. Today they are for me.

“They do not know what they are doing.” But those who betrayed, tortured, murder Jesus did know what they were doing, right? It seems pretty intentional.

And those who hurt me also knew what they were doing. It isn’t betrayal, torture or murder, but it is a deliberate choice. It seems pretty intentional.

But do they know? Perhaps those who betrayed, tortured, murdered Jesus lost sight of His humanity. And had they known they were turning over and slaughtering the Messiah, the Son of God, surely they would have made a different decision?

And perhaps the wrongs I struggle to forgive also come from those who “do not know what they are doing.”

One way or another, I am faced this Good Friday with a choice. A forgiveness crossroads. Can I read Jesus’ words and not apply them to my own situation?