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Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Scripture: Luke 23:44-46; Galatians 4:4-7; Acts 7:5...
Track 7 of in the series
Running time: 58 minutes, 12 seconds.
What is strange about the 7th statement from the cross, Luke is the only Gospel writer that records it. Mark wrote that Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. Matthew also reports that Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. But Luke records for us what Jesus actually said. Over our last two lessons, John recorded the 5th and 6th statements and after he said them, Jesus died with no mention of the last and 7th statement. Notice in the last words of Jesus, God is once again Father.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Death On A Friday Afternoon
The Scars of God

The Seventh Word from the Cross: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

What is strange about the 7th statement from the cross, Luke is the only Gospel writer that records it. Mark wrote that Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. Matthew also reports that Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. But Luke records for us what Jesus actually said. Over our last two lessons, John recorded the 5th and 6th statements and after he said them, Jesus died with no mention of the last and 7th statement. Notice in the last words of Jesus, God is once again Father.

Luke 23:44-46 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

How many of you have young children or remember when you older children were very young? Did you pray with them at night? What kind of prayers did you pray with them? Have you ever prayed this simple prayer yourself?

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray thee lord my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray thee lord my soul to take.
If I should live another day,
I pray thee lord to guide my way.

Every time we go to sleep it is like a letting go, an act of closure, a little death, in a way. “Into thy hands” is a statement of trust, of entrusting, of trusting in another. For Jesus, the other was always the Father, except for that one time when Jesus cried, “My God, My God,”

The use of “Abba” in Aramaic, the language Jesus probably spoke as his native language, captures the intimacy of the relationship Jesus had with his Father. Several times Jesus uses this term to describe the relationship between He and God. On the night right before he died, in the garden, Jesus refers to God as his Father, Abba. Today as Christians, we too have this same relationship with God. He is not some cosmic being far away from us and mysterious, but our loving Father who cares for us deeply.

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

There is an important truth here that we must make sure we understand and practice, we can only dare call God our Father because he chose to adopt us, we did not choose him. It is his great love for us that we get this privilege in having such a great, close relationship with Him. Too often Christians act as though God owes them something, it is quite the opposite.

In your prayer times and during your quiet times with God, how do you address him? Does it all depend on your comfort level with God? Do you feel God as a close personal friend or someone you have a casual conversation with? Or is he someone you have great respect for and won’t cross over a certain line?

There is a true reality that we still have to keep in context; the Almighty God of the Old Testament is still the Almighty God of the New Testament. The relationship has changed but God hasn't changed.

With this context in mind, tell me some things about God. He is forgiving, he is love, he gives grace, he is close and he cares, he is holy, righteous, hates sin, hates injustice, loves the poor and helps those who needs help, is just, is still the judge, requires obedience from a motivation of love, still commands, loves us enough to die for us, is our best friend, our father…and yet Almighty God.

Can someone explain to me what it means to commend their spirit to God? I deposit my soul in thy hands. How much trust does it take to allow God to have your entire soul at his disposal?

Acts 7:57-60 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices; they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Here the young man Saul, soon to be called Paul learned from Stephen what it means to hope against all hope. Here Saul witnessed what it meant to totally put one’s life in Jesus hands and totally trust in him that everything will be okay. Stephen commended his spirit to Jesus as Jesus on the cross commended his spirit to God.

Apostles Creed: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in JESUS CHRIST, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

As a kid when I was in Catholic grade school, I can remember saying this every time I went to mass. I was confused by the thought of Jesus going to Hell. I always assumed that only the bad people went to Hell. I thought it was very interesting when MPCC worshiped together at Baldwin school years ago on a special day, we recited the Apostles Creed. It had been a long time for me to recite that again but I could remember it as though I just said it yesterday. What was very strange as we recited it was how we changed it. We changed it a little to make it sound better to us.

• We eliminated the reference to Jesus going to Hell
• We changed it later where it refers to the one, holy “catholic” and apostolic church to “universal” church.

It is hard for Christians even today to think about Jesus going to Hell. But, we know from scripture that is exactly what he did. The question is why. According to the scriptures both Old and New Testaments, he went for a couple reasons:

Peter 3:18-20 He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.

Psalms 68:18-20 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led away captives; Thou hast received gifts among men, Yea, among the rebellious also, that Jehovah God might dwell with them. Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burden, Even the God who is our salvation. Selah God is unto us a God of deliverances; And unto Jehovah the Lord belongeth escape from death.

Ephesians 4:7-10 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

What was Jesus doing by going to the lower regions? He was telling the good news to all the faithful that they are now set free and that grace has been given by the death of Jesus. He also went to those who were destined to go to hell and to tell them also of the grace they could have had if only they had remained obedient. His death meant great news for Man and it was the final end of all that God had planned in getting God and man back together. God and man could now be one again.

Luke 15:20-24 But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

This is what I see happening in heaven once all that Jesus came to do was fulfilled. It was not the end of Jesus. What he did for us on the cross was a new beginning. Anyone who wanted this relationship with God no matter what they did or who they were, all was forgiven. The Father rejoices when his children come home to him.

Romans 3:21-23 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What are you going to say when you stand before God in heaven at judgment?
What things have you done that will convince God or even impress God enough that he should let you in?