Day 19: A Final Breath (21 Days of Hope) - Springs Rescue Mission Day 19: A Final Breath (21 Days of Hope) - Springs Rescue Mission

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A Final Breath

by Jennifer Holz, Executive Pastor at First Presbyterian Church

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.
Luke 23:44-46
As Jesus’ life comes to a close on the cross, Luke shares our Savior’s last words as He slips into death.

A final breath.
A final word.
A final trust.
A final surrender.

The scene is ominous. We read that the darkness has rolled in, and the sun has refused to shine. The temple curtain has been torn in two. But in Jesus’ final words we learn that the Father has not left Jesus for a moment. Throughout His ministry, we have observed Jesus’ close relationship with the Father. Jesus prays to the Father. He listens to the Father. He is led by the Father. He only does what He sees the Father doing. And in His final breath, Father, Son and Spirit are together.

The world around Jesus is groaning, almost a visible mourning of the moment at hand. The sky has gone dark. The light of the sun has disappeared. In the Temple, there is a re-orientation unfolding. The curtain, which creates a limit around the most holy place, is coming apart.

The world is changing–preparing for a bursting forth of new life.

But as Jesus breathes His last, the world will wait. And in Jesus’ final words, we learn where the world will wait for its next chapter: right in the hands of a present Father who never leaves and never forsakes the world He loves.

Father, into your hands, Jesus says, I commit my spirit. Jesus speaks these words as an echo from Psalm 31:5, a psalm about God as refuge, rock and fortress. As Jesus slip from this life into death, He knows the Father’s hands are strong to hold a waiting world. And the Father’s hands are strong to hold His life and death and future. It is from the hands of the Father that Easter Sunday will take shape. Resurrection belongs to the Father.

Jesus’s final words show us God’s presence in our darkest moments, and that trusting the Father with everything, including our very lives, is the way of true life. New life comes from the Father, and new life waits to burst forth from the hands of the Father. But from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, we wait. We trust. We surrender. We commit our lives into the hands of the Father. Jesus’ final act of surrender shows us the way forward.

As Holy Week comes to a close, what do you need to commit into the hands of the Father?

About the Author - Jennifer Holz

Jennifer Holz is the Executive Pastor at First Presbyterian Church.