Christ’s Seventh Word From the Cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. – Luke 23:46
It’s Time to Rest
When the work is all done, when the task is completed, when what must be accomplished is achieved, when all is finally finished—well then, it’s time to rest. When the sixth word was spoken by our Lord on the cross: it is finished—it was! Jesus therefore uttered His seventh and final word: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now that all things for the atonement of our sin have been accomplished, it’s time to rest. That is the significance of our Lord’s last words on the cross. Having completed His work of redemption, He does as He did in creation (Genesis 2:3); He takes a rest. Perhaps we could even express His final words in today’s street vernacular: Father, I am outta’ here.
Remember, Jesus went to the cross as the willing, humble Suffering Servant. He told His disciples in the garden that the angels would be standing down (Matthew 26:53). He would now go it alone. We usually think that the greater the numbers—especially when facing daunting opposition—the better the chance of holding fast and holding out. You know the saying: we can hang together, or we can hang separately. We think that should our side come down to the last man standing, our cause is certainly lost. And should the last one die, all will just become a bitter memory of great intentions, but dashed hope. Not so, with the passion of our Lord. Where He goes, He goes alone. But, where He goes, He goes not just as the Suffering Servant, but also as our Champion.
As the Second Adam, Jesus faces off against the powers of sin, death, and the Unholy Spirit. On the cross He defeats them all with nothing in His hands but nails and blood. When it comes to singular biblical champions, we usually think of the face-off that David had with Goliath and others like it. After the trash-talking, it’s time to get down to the conflict at hand. And, we always think that if our man dies, we lose.
Not so with our Lord Jesus. It was not in His standing, but rather in His dying that we win. The powers of darkness were defeated by His death, and by that death, we get life. It’s a done deal, and now it’s time for a Sabbath’s rest. Dearly beloved in Christ, it’s time also for you to rest.
“Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.” As the Son commended His spirit to the Father, He commends our as well. We get to rest. They took our Lord’s dead body off the cross and laid it into the donated tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60). How fitting! The Sabbath day of rest was about to begin (Luke 23:54) and the body of Jesus was put into the earth and laid to rest. The earth is the designated place to rest from the death to sin (Genesis 3:19). With His body, the body of our sins were also laid to rest in that dark cold tomb. As the Apostle has taught us, our Old Adam was crucified and buried with Him in our baptism and we can therefore reckon ourselves dead to sin permanently (Romans 6:3-4, 11). The death He died, He died once for all, so you may rest from the penalty of your sins forever.
So, on this Good Friday, our sinful self and all our sins rest with Jesus here in His tomb. Our transgressions are fully atoned. Our enslavement to the Law has been overcome. God has become completely reconciled to us, just as we are. We rest in these amazing realities as we are joined to the crucified, dead, and buried Jesus.
We must understand that for Jesus, however, this is just a short nap. He is not long for this tomb. He will be proclaiming the hell of it all to the devil and all the souls in prison very soon. And then He will make our ears burn as we hear of His empty tomb. But for our old sinful self and our sins, they will remain buried in His tomb forever. They are finished, and we may rest on that. It’s all over but the shouting… and we can start with some of that tomorrow night.
Dr. Steven A. Hein currently serves as Director of The Concordia Institute for Christian Studies, an organization that offers auxiliary educational services to pastors and church gatherings across the country and in West Africa. He also serves as an affiliate professor at The Institute of Lutheran Theology and Colorado Christian University.
This book offers a radically different perspective from that of many best-selling authors concerning how the Christian should measure and evaluate travel along God’s path of righteousness.