It is a dangerous thing to edit the seven sayings from the cross down to three because they are all there for a reason and they are spoken in a deliberate sequence.
For these three last pieces I have just focused on the prayers from the cross. They form a sort of spine for the other four sentences. The Forgiving Prayer flows into the invitation to paradise and the giving of mother to son. But the second prayer turns the story around creating thirst and completion.
Now you can look at the last sentence from the cross “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” and realize that everything has changed.
Before these six hours the universe itself was different, afterwards there is an awesome peace. Yet again this prayer draws you to mystery. Neat theology proclaims that God does not change but God has split himself in the forsaken moment and something now exists which did not exist before. It will only be pride that attempts to explain what’s happened here.
The Son of Man again uses the word “Father”. It has a different tone this time. The first prayer heralded a monumental moment of work and contained a request for the priceless forgiveness that was being forged in the very crucible of his death.
Here there is a laying down of life in utter trust in the hands of the Father.
This prayer is a quotation from a Psalm but the Son of Man adds Father, which of course is what he came to do, namely add Father to everything. Now he lays his spirit in the Father’s hands.
If you had been there you would not have seen his spirit nor the hands. They were invisible.
This prayer is the expression of an invisible transaction. Victory is won, work is finished, this prayer can be prayed.
So I ask you to open your eyes to the invisible. You have a spirit; indeed, you are spirit. The journey of prayer-work resolves with a commitment of your spirit into the unseen hands of God.
Now ask yourself, was this an end or beginning? It was both for this calm after the storm prepared the way for two more astonishing surprises. The Son of Man would rise on Sunday morning and the Spirit of God would fall 50 days later.
Placing your spirit in the hands of God opens doors out of graves and opens windows from heaven. It did then, it does now.
The Forgiving Prayer, The Forsaken Prayer, The Committing Prayer, breathed out in pain at work challenge us to go where we have never been before. Can we follow him and yet not follow him here?
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
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