Tinshill Free Church
Prayer Meeting & Bible Study
Wednesday 08-Apr-2020 7:45 p.m.
The Seventh Saying of Christ from the Cross
Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.'
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. (Luke 23:33 to 49).
From the Cross our Lord Jesus Christ spoke seven times.
As they nailed Him to the cross and as the cross was lifted up and plunged into its socket and every bone in His body was shaken out of joint, as He hung there bleeding and battered and dying and as they gambled at His feet for His possessions, time and time again the Lord Jesus Christ prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) continually interceding with God and pleading for forgiveness, just as He intercedes for us today.
Nearly three hours later He spoke again. This time He spoke in response to what the murderous, rebel rousing thief on the cross next to Him had said. His response: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Words of salvation to a lost, helpless, hopeless sinner.
The next time the Lord Jesus Christ spoke He spoke to His mother, commending her into the care of the apostle John: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25 to 27). Wonderful words of love and compassion.
At noon the world went dark. For three hours Christ suffered alone unseen on the cross, it was a divine judgement. For three hours the Lord Jesus Christ was plunged into outer darkness and as it approached three o'clock that afternoon, from that hell He cried: “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) Words of utter, awful, destitution and desolation.
Christ had been on the cross for over six hours, not once had He drawn attention to Himself, or tried to illicit any form of sympathy. Then He spoke one word - “Dipso” - “I thirst!” (John 19:28). He spoke to show He was a man and He spoke to fulfil the Scriptures.
Then came the greatest word ever uttered. A cry of victory: So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) – Tetolesti.
Now, there are many, sometimes even we, who think of our Lord growing weaker and weaker and fading away on the cross. Becoming delirious and loosing His senses. But that's not how it was. Nor was it like Monty Python's version of the cross, where He hung almost unaffected by the pain and agony and shame, almost dancing as He hung there. Our Lord felt the pain, the shame, the separation and the hopeless lostness of the cross, but after the hours of agony and utter darkness, when not even His Father could look upon Him, He was shown one last kindness. He was given a drink. A few sips of sour wine from a sponge and He was revived.
Our Lord was weak and ill and dying, but at the moment of His death He was strong and spoke one last time from the cross: And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. (Luke 23:46 to 48). Our Lord did what we have no power to do - He dismissed His spirit. He terminated His earthly life.
There are some who try to end their life, but they always have to use some means, they have to use some implement or instrument to kill themselves. It could be a knife, or an overdose, or poison. It could be by gas, or by drowning, or by a fall from a great height.. No one can simply dismiss their spirit. But our Lord had already told his disciples these words: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17 to 18). Our Lord, in His dying moments, did not have His life taken from Him. He lay down His life.
Born to Die
Unlike us, our Lord was born to die. The very reason for His being born was to die. When the little baby Jesus was taken up to Jerusalem, to be presented in the temple according to the manner of the law, old Simeon said to Mary: “A sword will pierce through your own soul also.” (Luke 2:35) - and she knew that the child in her arms, who was the Hope of Israel, would bring her pain and even shame.
As our Lord grew through infancy into a toddler, then through boy hood, puberty and adolescence into a man, in His conscience the fact of what He was to do, the truth as to why He had come, grew clearer and clearer. It wasn't to preach the Gospel, though He preached the Gospel. It wasn't to heal the sick, though He healed the sick. It wasn't to cleanse the lepers, though He cleansed the lepers. It wasn't to raise the dead, though He raised the dead. It was to die on the cross on that Friday the fourteenth day of the Jewish month of Nisan, as the perfect passover lamb without blemish or spot.
The cross overshadowed the whole of His life. When He was presented to Israel John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He was the sacrificial Lamb, who would take away sin. When our Lord spoke to His disciples He asked them: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13 to 16). As soon as they had realised Christ's identity, He took His disciples aside and began to explain to them that He must go to Jerusalem and there be killed by the elders and priests and scribes and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22) and to the very man who had had such a spiritual revelation minutes before the Lord Jesus Christ had to say: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offence to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23).
Three of them, Peter James and John, saw the Lord wonderfully transfigured: As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29 to 31). He shone with celestial brightness and He spoke with Moses and Elijah and they heard their conversation which was about His coming death.
One Last Word
At last His death took place with all the desolation of Golgotha and the sneering and chaffing of the crowd. With all the desertion by His disciples and His Father, all the physical agony and spiritual anguish. There was our wounded Saviour, with the stripes upon His back, the stripes with which we are healed. At last He has drunk the cup of Gods wrath and He drunk it and drunk it and drunk it dry and it was over. He had come to suffer and He had come to die.
The earthly life of the Saviour was over. All the Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled - He had been born in the right place, in the right way and He grew up in the right place and ministered in the right place and done the right things. He was now dying in the right place, in the right way. All those Old Testament prophecies, predicted hundreds of years before, had been fulfilled. The last one had been fulfilled as He experienced thirst.
God made all things in six days and at the end of six days He cried: “It is finished” and God rested the seventh day. Christ's sixth word from the cross was: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Christ's seventh word was a word of rest and peace and completeness. Seven is completeness.
Christ died differently to anyone who ever died of crucifixion. Everyone else struggled and gasped and tried to fill their lungs with air one last time and failed and died. Christ bowed His head and breathed a prayer and gave up His spirit because the work was finished.
A few hours before He had been out of fellowship with God His Father and had cried “forsaken”. Now all that He had come to do was completed, finished and He was now in fellowship with His Father and so he could say: “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” (Luke 23:46) Can you imagine that someone could have fellowship with God whilst being crucified? Can you imagine that someone could have fellowship with God in that place of indignity and shame and jeering and blood and punishment? In that awful place, Christ's dying prayer was the good night prayer of Jewish children. The prayer that Jewish children say before thy go to sleep. “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” But he prayed it with the fullness that no one could have prayed it.
His death on the Cross
And Jesus cried out again in with a loud voice, any yielded up His spirit Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, (Matthew 27:50 to 51). In the temple there was a curtain, a veil. It was 60 feet long and 30 feet high and an inch thick. It was a symbol of separation separating the Holy of Holies from the temple courts where the people and the priests were. Symbolically it separated the presence of God from everybody else.
Behind the veil, was the Holy of Holies, a picture of heaven and the Shekhinah glory of God. Only once a year only the High Priest could pass through the veil and enter the Holies of Holies and then only with blood. He entered carrying atonement for everybody including himself. It was necessary for there to be a blood atonement because sins demand punishment.
The people wondered what was on the other side of the veil and considered themselves, quite rightly, excluded from the presence of God, but now that veil was rent from top to bottom, from God to man as it where, to show there was now no separation between God and man for the God Man had died. All the demands of the law had been met. There is nothing left to be done for my salvation or for your salvation. All Gods wrath has been extinguished. It was the end of symbolism. The perfect sacrifice had died and full atonement had been made.
All those bulls and lambs and goats could not take away sin. But Christ did because He had been punished infinity, totally, completely. He is the real sacrifice and He is the perfect son of God.
It was the end of the priesthood. There are no more priests, because He was the Sacrifice and the Priest. It was the end of the sacrificial system and of separation. We, as believers, can go into the presence of God because of Christ: But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (Hebrews 10:12).
I cannot earn my way into the presence of God but Jesus through His cross has completed redemption. He has lived the life I should have lived. I deserve to be punished for my sin but I could not bear the punishment. Jesus has borne that punishment. At the start of His ministry He said: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34). As he struggled in prayer that night just before He was arrested He said: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” (John 17:4).
The wonder of the gospel is that it brings us into fellowship with God. A fellowship that pain or suffering or even death can never separate us from and the dying words of the Lord Jesus have been the dying prayer of tens of thousands ever since.
In the year 186 they took old Polycarp. He had been a Christian for eighty six years. He was the man who had preached against idols. They wanted him to say one thing: “Caesar is lord!” But he wouldn't. They threw him into the arena where a howling mob awaited him. and they howled for his blood. The executioner got out his sword to plunge it into his chest before they flung his body into the fire. Just before the fatal sword was driven home, with perfect composure he said “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”
On the sixth of July 1389 they took John Huss and shaved his head to mock him, since he had once been a monk. They chained him and dragged him through the streets with a paper mitre on his head with foul things written on it and as he went by they spat on him. Then they tied him to the stake and lit the flames. He had been a Christian and walked with God for many years. His only crime was to say: Gods word not man's word dictates how to live as a Christian. He knew the power of God in his own life. He understood the meaning of Calvary and with incredible calm he prayed: “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”
In 1681 one of the holiest men who ever walked this land was taken to the gibbet - Donald Cargill. His only crime was to believe that God in Christ was the head of the church not the king. As they tied him there he said: “Farewell sin and farewell failure, welcome heaven and welcome Christ and welcome eterna life” “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”
What power there is in the gospel, where dying men can look from their sin to the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and can say:
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.