Tonight, we bring our Lenten journey to a close. We have examined and reflected on the Seven Last Words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the Cross.
So far, we have heard our Lord share these words:
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
He shares with a repentant thief the promise; “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
We saw Jesus commit the care of His mother, Mary, to his closest friend John.
Then we heard that powerful cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me.”
The words, “I thirst,” were examined.
Yesterday, the words, “It is finished.”
Now, the words —
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
After Jesus had spoken the Sixth Word and before he spoke the Seventh Word — Luke tells us that the curtain of Temple was torn in two. In the Great Temple there was a place called the Holy of Holies. This was the meeting place between a Holy God and a sinful people. This curtain prevented unholy people from entering the Holy house of God. Once a year the Great High Priest was permitted by Jewish law to enter this place with fear and trembling to make the sacrifice for the sins of the people. This was the Great Day of Atonement.
When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” this curtain was no longer necessary. Jesus Christ would now be our only mediator between God and His people. Mission accomplished. Jesus had completed what he set out to do — to redeem the world and pay the full price to pardon those who would believe in his name.
Having completed what he came to do, Jesus was now ready to die. And Jesus died with a prayer on his lips — “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” That is Psalm 31:5 with one word added — Father. That verse was the prayer every Jewish mother taught her child to say right before falling asleep. Just as we were taught certain bedtime prayers, a Jewish mother taught her child to pray this prayer. In the words of Dr. Barclay, “Jesus made it even more intimate, for he began it with the word Father. Even on the cross Jesus died like a child falling asleep in his father’s arms.”
What will I say in the final moments of my life? Jesus began his life with God and ended his earthly life with God. That’s how I pray I will end my life. With a tender-hearted prayer to my Heavenly Father on my lips as I breathe my last.