At this point, it was about noon, and a darkness fell over the whole region. The darkness persisted until about three in the afternoon, and at some point during this darkness, the curtain in the temple was torn in two.
Jesus (shouting out loudly): Father, I entrust My spirit into Your hands!
And with those words, He exhaled—and breathed no more.
The Centurion—one of the soldiers who performed the execution—saw all this, and he praised God.
Centurion: No doubt, this man must have been innocent.~Luke 34:44-47-The Voice
The words from the cross reveal to us of who this man/God is. We stood at the foot of the cross and heard Jesus extend forgiveness to his oppressors, promise salvation to a condemned man, express care for his loved ones, cry in anguish over his feelings of God-forsakenness, croak out thirsty complaint, shout victory and and now loudly proclaim his trust.
After all that Jesus suffered, physically and mentally, on the cross he was confident that he was in the care of God. The man who cried out “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me!” would shortly thereafter, with confidence say, “Father, I entrust my life into your hands” and die in peace. The one who was stretched out, broken on a cross, had not broken down. He had been severly beaten, but he was not beat. His last words betray nothing but confidence that his Heavenly Father would care for him.
It was this confidence in God’s care and sovereign plan which set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem. It is this confidence that carried him through the whole ordeal. When he died, he did not die in a state of despair and despondency. He didn’t feel for a moment that he had somehow miscalculated and that all this was in vain.
He died confident that the cross, somehow in the wisdom of God, would reconcile the world to Himself.
Jesus’ total trust in the Father exceeds the trust in God that we are capable of, but there is something instructive here for us. Despite all physical evidence to the contrary, the cross was God’s victory. The cross is how they killed failed messiahs, but this symbol of failure would become a sign of God’s ultimate victory over sin and the powers that bind humanity. Any onlooker would see total failure and tragedy in this death, but this death began to make new life possible. If we were there when they crucified him we would have maybe balked, jeered, cried, despaired but Jesus suffered it and he trusted.
All of us who have walked the way of the cross, and have entered into the pain and suffering of others know, that if we trust the physical evidence around us, it does not always seem that God is winning. The addict who ‘cleans up’ and resolves to surrender her life sells all his belongings buy drugs the next week. The mother who is picking up the pieces of a broken life, lets an abusive spouse return home for another round of destruction. We look and we cry, “How Long O Lord?”
Jesus suffers and dies with the weight of human sinfulness upon him and dies with trust on his lips.
Lord give us your confidence, that despite appearances, you are the victory and we can trust your good work in even the most horrifying of circumstances. Lead us into what it means for us to trust our lives into your hands.