24 April 2020 – Father into Your hands I commit My spirit

If you knew you were going to die within a few minutes and had the energy left to utter only one more sentence or two, what would you want to communicate to the world?

Archimedes of Syracuse (298-212 BC), possibly the greatest mathematician of ancient Greece apparently said: ‘Wait till I have finished my problem.’ Peter Abelard (1079-1142AD), the greatest philosopher in Europe in the early 12th C AD and lecturer at the University of Paris declared; ‘I don’t know’. Dominique Bouhars (1628-1702), a French Jesuit grammarian who spent his life persuading his fellow-countrymen to speak their language correctly, (in French) was recorded as saying: ‘I am about to…or I am going to…die… either expression is correct.’

Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603), was recorded as saying the following utterance: ‘O my God! It is over I have come to the end of it, the end, the end. To have only one life and to have done with it; to have lived, loved and triumphed and now to know it is over. One may defy anything else but this.’ Lastly Joseph Addison, a writer and literary figure in England (1672-1719) summoned his wayward stepson Lord Warwick to his bedside and in a final plea to the young man to trust Christ concluded with: ‘See in what peace a Christian can die’. We have never met these people but we can make an informed guess about what really mattered in their lives. What is your real passion and mine? Is it something that in the light of eternity is of real and abiding significance? This is the challenge with which we are to live our lives for the Lord.

 Jesus uttered His cry of triumph tetelestai finished and then concluded with these words recorded by Luke in 23:46: Jesus called out with a loud voice Father into Your hands I commit My spirit. When He had said this, He breathed His last. Jesus was not hanging on to life. After His cry of triumph declaring the completion of the work the Father had given Him to do, He confidently laid down His life and committed Himself into the arms of His Father in heaven. No fear of death, no regrets about His life, but it was recognition that His work was accomplished. 

Jesus lived and died in full confidence that His life was in the hands of God the Father. Do you share His confidence in your own life? Jesus endured the agonies of crucifixiondespite knowing in advance the cost of total obedience to the Father’s will for His life. Are you and I willing to endure some hard times in order to remain faithful to the calling God has placed on our lives? Then when the day finally comes will we die in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life – as Jesus did? I sincerely hope and pray each one of us will do this and sing the song chosen for our reflection today as a declaration of our faith in Jesus.

In Christ Alone my hope is found

Brian Talbot