It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 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.
Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
“Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut his glories in, when Christ, the mighty Maker, died for man the creature’s sin.” (Isaac Watts) God blots out the sun so that the focus may be on the Son. As Jesus pays the price for sin God calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9).
As Jesus dies, the curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place is torn in two. Matthew and Mark mention that it was torn from top to bottom, not the way it would normally happen. Hebrews explains the significance of this event, that the way into the presence of God is now open to all who will come to him through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19-20, 9:11-12, 10:19-20). The Most Holy Place was entered only once a year, on the day of atonement, and only by the high priest. But now anyone who believes in Christ can come directly into God’s presence.
Even as Jesus speaks his dying words he quotes and fulfills Scripture. He adds the word “Father”, showing the intimate and loving relationship they have. And he commits his spirit, his human and divine spirit, to the Father. His spirit will return to the Father’s presence, to await the resurrection of his body from the grave. There is no conflict between the Father and the Son in the work of redemption; they are united with the Holy Spirit in the work of salvation. “It was as Jesus’ Father that God sent his Son into the world to die, and it is as Jesus’ Father that God was waiting at the end to receive him back joyously into heaven.” (James Montgomery Boice) And so, for the joy set before him, Jesus endures the cross (Hebrews 12:2), and now breathes his last.
Brothers and sisters, let us bow our heads. Let us worship our Lord, who loved us to the uttermost. Let us commit ourselves into his loving hands.
Seven times He spake seven words of love;
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men:
Jesus, our Lord, is crucified! (Frederick W. Faber)
Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly
Here its guilt may estimate
Mark the sacrifice appointed
See who bears the awful load
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed
Son of Man and Son of God. (Thomas Kelly)