July 28, 2011
Jesus and the Psalms
The Spirit of Jesus and The Psalms
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Many people think about death, and have great fear. As Jesus hung on the cross, He quoted a Psalm regarding His spirit and the Father’s care for Him. Jesus did not fear death, but understood that He had the power to lay down His life and to take it up again (John 10:18). Today we will look at some of the last words Jesus said from the cross and draw encouragement from them.
The Loud Voice of Jesus. Luke tells us that Jesus used His loud voice (“φωνῇ μεγάλῃ“) before He died. Jesus obviously retained control of His faculties, and knew what He was saying. He was not in a delirious state, unable to form coherent words or sentences. We see here Jesus deliberately laying down His life, with the purpose of redemption in mind and love for mankind in His heart.
The Father’s Hands. Jesus let us know what He was thinking just before He expired. He was still keeping the Father’s plan for His life by committing His spirit into the hands of the Father (Luke 23:46). Jesus quoted Psalm 31:5: “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.” As we know, Jesus ransomed us from the penalty of sin by His death. He also let us know that when we die, our spirits go into the Father’s hands. For every believer, death does not mean separation from God, but to be at home with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6-7). You may recall that Jesus Himself said that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they were spiritually alive with Him, even before they received their resurrected bodies (Luke 20:34-38). Therefore, the Bible never teaches that when we die, we go to some place like purgatory to await resurrection. No, when we die as believers, we are immediately present with the Lord Jesus in Paradise (Luke 23:43). If you take some time and look through the Bible at the hands of God, you will see that God uses His hands to help men. I really love Psalm 145:15-16: “The eyes of all look to You, and you give them their food in due time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” I am often touched with the pictures of Jesus raising people in the New Testament, by lifting them up from death by taking their hands and raising them up (Mark 5:41; Luke 8:54). In this picture from the cross, Jesus figuratively places His spirit into the hands of His Father, and wants the whole world to see what He is doing in the spiritual realm, as an encouragement for all who would follow Him in death and resurrection.
Jesus Committed His Spirit. Jesus had never felt swept along by events beyond His control. He never felt overpowered by life, or helpless, or utterly despondent. He knew at all times that His Father had provided a mission of love for Him, and the Father controlled every aspect of life on earth, His planet in His universe. In Luke 23:46, Jesus now tells us that He committed His spirit. This word “committed” (“παρατίθεμαι“) is similar to a commercial transaction where you place something into the hands of another person for safekeeping. Jesus placed His spirit into the loving hands of God the Father (see 1 Timothy 1:18 “entrust’). While the body went to the tomb, the spirit (“πνεῦμά“) of Jesus went immediately to be with God the Father.
Jesus Breathed His Last. Having said these words, Jesus now literally “breathed out” (“ἐξέπνευσεν“). This verse uses a play upon words of “pneuma” and “exepneuma.” Having committed His spirit to the Father, He now gives up His spirit to the Father. We see in the death of Jesus the model for all of us to follow and learn about death. Jesus knew that death would not separate Him from the Father, but draw Him to the waiting and loving hands of the Father. We have nothing to fear in death as believers, because the waiting hands of our Father will receive us because we have already committed our lives into His hands by receiving the gift of eternal life from Christ because He died for us and we trust His saving work for us.
So we learn more about Jesus and the Psalms today.
● Jesus knew He was about to die, and committed His spirit into the hands of His heavenly Father.
● Jesus quoted the Psalm indicating that He knew that He would be with God His Father immediately after death, so that spiritually He would be united with the Father, God with God, even though His body would not be raised from the dead for three days.
● Jesus set the example for us by not fearing death, but committing Himself into the hands of God the Father.
Application for Today
As I live today, I will not fear death because I have know what will happen to me after death. Just as I have committed my life to Jesus for salvation, and commit my life to Jesus for leadership everyday, I will look forward to death knowing that He will receive my spirit into His hands on the day that I die. I will be with my heavenly Father and Jesus forever and ever. Will you look forward to the day the Father’s hands receive your spirit?