“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
Jesus had just given up his body to be beaten, tortured, mocked, shamed, and crucified. Hanging on the cross, he experienced separation from God and his wrath for the first time ever. He was now ready to die. If all that had happened, unfairly and unjustly to us, wouldn’t we have just a little doubt about God’s goodness, sovereignty, or very existence?
And yet Jesus, with his dying breath, maintained his trust in his heavenly Father! Notice he still called him “Father”—a title of trust, dependence, love. Second, he knew where he was headed; he knew the grave would not be his final resting place! (Jesus knew the promise contained in Psalm 16:10, 11: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption…at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This is the “hand” that Jesus trusted his spirit to!)
And his trust was full; he had delivered his body up to a cruel death; he had nothing left but his spirit—and he was still willing to deliver this up to his Father!
Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope? You had trusted God, but your life still seemed like it was falling apart? You had sacrificed everything, but gained nothing; indeed, felt like you had nothing else to give?
One of my favorite Psalms is 46 (in fact, I often read it to or suggest it be read by people who are undergoing intense suffering.) The Psalm starts this way (verse 1): “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Then, to conclude the Psalm, the Psalmist repeats this truth in a slightly different way: “Be still, and know that I am God…the Lord of hosts is with us.” (Verses 10,11.)
In between the verses I just shared, the Psalmist encourages us to trust God’s gracious presence even if our world seems to be falling apart! This is what Jesus did on the cross, and this is the faith that you and I must develop and maintain. Such faith during trials can only arise from a personal relationship with Jesus. Psalm 9:10 tells us that “Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” To know God’s name is to know Him personally; to know His promises, His provision, His personality. This personal knowledge and experience of God may be tested and proven in trials, but it is developed in daily life!
One more word in closing this meditation: you and I can indeed have the same fellowship with and trust in the Father that Jesus experienced. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary and said “Go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17). Notice that Jesus calls us his brothers (and sisters), and that he said his God is our God; his Father is our Father!