Case Open

CaseOpen

Jesus was exhausted and near death’s dark door. He had sustained a merciless beating at the hands of the Roman soldiers, the mocking and spitting of the raucous crowd, and now He was nailed to a cross of wood—a criminal’s death sentence. Pain did not adequately describe His torment. He was far beyond the pain threshold and He was fighting for every breath in those final minutes of life.

The scene was not one of beauty, but rather horror. Yet there were onlookers and gawkers alike within the crowd gathered there at Golgotha. Even the name “Golgotha” brought with it a deep foreboding and sense of dread, since it meant “the place of the skull.” Those who were gathered there to watch and participate in the nightmare either laughed wickedly or wept bitterly. “How could God allow this to take place?” some of the disciples who had gathered must have wondered; while others were still hoping for some sort of divine intervention. Yet God seemingly ignored their prayers on this day of death.

Jesus, with blood streaming down His thorn-pierced head and writhing in His torment, attempted to speak one last time.

He had uttered other words through gritted teeth and streaming tears. Words filled with forgiveness and love, of eternal paradise for a thief seeking final relief, yet His final words would break down the doors of sin and death forever. He would cross that thin veil of death and all Hell would quake at His passing. Even nature shook at this declaration as the sun stopped shining and a mile away in the Temple the very veil which separated the Holy of Holies was torn in two. “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

With these final words of Jesus, complete submission and surrender on behalf of humanity was made plain. He had come because the Father had sent Him. He had healed the sick, brought sight to the blind, and cast out demons. His life and mission was entirely about surrender. Is it any wonder then that Jesus completes His ultimate act of love for the world by declaring His life utterly and completely committed into the hands of His Father? Hours before His death on the cross, He had wept and fought over this decision in the garden, while He vied with His very human flesh to display this complete submission. Yet with finality, Jesus spoke those words, and then He breathed no more, His heart stopped beating, and He died.

What is the measure of our surrender? Can we be bold enough to say as Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit”? Not “Father into Your hands I commit some of my spirit” or “A small portion of my spirit” but “I commit all of my spirit!” How committed is our submission to the Father? Jesus’ words to Peter seem haunting in the light of this death scene, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).

Are we willing to completely submit our lives to Him daily and take up our cross? Are we really willing to surrender everything? Jesus’ love for us brought Him face to face with death at the cross and He didn’t back down. As the Apostle Paul states it; “…[Jesus] made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7–8).

Jesus uttered those final words not only as a confirmation of His complete and total submission to His Father, but also that we might understand what holiness and salvation look like. This is our Messiah, Savior of the world laying down His life for us so that we might all experience eternal life with God the Father. May we too be willing to say, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit completely!”

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By Captain Scott Strissel