Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
How often dying people need to be told, “It’s OK, you can let go. We will be all right.” How often they need to know that we can let them go in peace.
Jesus goes further and entrusts himself to his Father. In death as in life he places himself in the hands of the Father, in the power of God, confident that the God to whom he has been faithful will be faithful to him, in death as in life. “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit.”
How might we hear these words from the dying Jesus? Perhaps not simply as words spoken to the Father, but spoken to us as well.
He bids us, too, to entrust ourselves to the Father. So much of our younger and middle years are taken up with mastery of our lives, controlling, doing, being independent, and self-sufficient. And how long it takes us as the years go on to acknowledge our need, our limits, to let go, to surrender, to yield, to accept, to trust others, even to trust God. And Jesus says: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
With these words of Jesus, “I commend my spirit, ” does he not ultimately commend his spirit to us as well? Does he not entrust his spirit to us to be his presence in this world, to be fully human in this world?
Jesus speaks words to the Father and to us. “Entrust yourselves to the Father as you take up your cross and follow me.”
Dying words, words for the living: “Father, into our hands I commend my spirit.”