A Life in God’s Hands is a Life in Good Hands | Luke 23:46 Sermon [Video, Text+]

In Good Hands on Good Friday

What follows is a message on Luke 23:46 on 4.19.19 (Good Friday) at Alpha Baptist Church in Willingboro, NJ. This was the last of the traditional ‘Seven Last Words’ of Jesus from the cross. Thus, I was the last of seven ministers to speak during this afternoon service, in which songs were sung in between sermons.

Below, please find the edited video, sermon outline, (footnoted) sermon text, Greek text, author’s translation, and bibliography. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

*I combined both the DVD recording audio/video with the Facebook Live Stream video/audio. Though my voice is not as clear, the Facebook Live Stream picks up more of the audience’s reactions.

Glory to the Suffering Servant who died for our sins and was resurrected!

Video

Sermon Outline

Sermon Text

Introduction

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps 19:14, NASB).

I usually pray this prayer before I speak – for I think it’s wise to pray the words of God to the ears of God. This prayer is from Psalm 19:14, one of the psalms the Israelites used to sing back in the day. It’s one of those good ole songs. And there’s something about those good ole songs that sticks with us.

Good Ole Songs

Morning by morning new mercies [we] see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me![1]

Haven’t we sung some good ole songs today? Isn’t there something about those good ole songs that sticks with us? When times are hard, those good ole songs stick with us. When we’re in the midst of trials and tribulations, those good ole songs stick with us.  And medical studies have even shown that, at the very end of peoples’ lives, those good ole songs still stick with us.[2]

Well, when times were hard, when He was going through trials and tribulations, when He was at the very end of His life, those good ole songs stuck with Jesus.

As we have already heard, some of His first words from the cross are the first words from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1a, NIV).[3]

Psalm 22 is a Psalm of David that tells of a Faithful Sufferer who is despised (Ps 22:6), mocked, and insulted (Ps 22:7).[4] It’s a song about One who is poured out like water (Ps 22:14), One whose bones are out of joint (Ps 22:14), and One whose tongue sticks to the roof of His mouth – because He is so thirsty (Ps 22:15).[5]

The song is about One who is surrounded by dogs and villains, One whose bones are laid bare (Ps 22:16-17). People cast lots to divide His clothes (Ps 22:18),[6] and they pierce His hands and His feet (Ps 22:16). Does this scene sound familiar?

In spite of the terrible scene, the Faithful Sufferer of Psalm 22 says the LORD has not despised or scorned His suffering, nor has the LORD hidden His face from Him (Ps 22:24). The song, like most psalms of lament, ends with praise and trust in the LORD – for the Sufferer trusts that the LORD will answer His prayer for deliverance.[7]

The Sufferer prophesies that future generations and all the ends of the earth (Ps 22:27) will turn to the LORD and proclaim His righteousness (Ps 22:31). And, in the last words of Psalm 22 – a Psalm of David – the Sufferer speaks of the LORD: “He has done it!” (Ps 22:31b). No wonder one of the last words of Jesus – a Son of David[8] – is the similar line: “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30).[9]

Then, Jesus calls out in a loud voice and quotes yet another psalm – Psalm 31:5[10] – and says, “‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Lk 23:46b, NIV). In His last moments, with His last words,[11] Jesus quotes two Psalms. There’s something about those good ole songs that sticks with us.

Good Ole Prayers

Now, does anybody remember some of those good ole prayers? Were you taught any prayers when you were young that still stick with you?

When I was growing up, no matter how hungry I was, before I took that first bite, I had to first say grace: “God is great, God is good. And we thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Thank you, LORD, our daily bread. Amen, Amen.[12] There’s a couple of variations, but that’s the version I remember.

How about this one: when you were about to part ways with loved ones, did you ever pray, “May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we’re absent, one from another, Amen”?

How about one of those good ole bedtime prayers: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

There’s a couple of variations for this one, too,[13] but that was the prayer I used to pray before I fell asleep. As Pastor often says, sometimes, I actually finished the prayer, before I fell asleep.[14]

Now, as you may recall, in Scripture, to fall asleep is a metaphorical expression that often refers to death (cf Ac 7:59-60).[15] For example, in 1 Corinthians 15, when Paul writes of Jesus’ Resurrection appearances, he says that Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, many of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:6, NIV).

I say all that to say: back in the day, Jews would recite Psalm 31:5 as a sort of bedtime prayer.[16] They prayed that God would protect their spirit until they were awakened.[17] And by spirit, they were referring not to their immaterial souls, but to their life[18] – as a whole.[19]

They would pray to God, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” before they fell asleep. And, Jesus prays this good ole prayer[20] before He falls asleep – that is, before He dies (cf. Ac 7:59).[21]

Good Ole Prayer of Trust in God’s Hands

And this prayer was a submissive[22] prayer of trust.[23] Like Psalm 22, Psalm 31 features a righteous sufferer who “entrusts himself to God’s care.”[24]

In the song – another Psalm of David – the righteous sufferer has been distressed and afflicted (Ps 31:9-10), entrapped and lied on (Ps 31:4, 18, 20), despised by enemies and abandoned by friends (Ps 31:11).[25] But, in the face of death, the sufferer of the Psalm puts his faith in the faithful God (Ps 31:5, 13).[26]

Does this scene sound familiar? No wonder Christ quotes a line from Psalm 31 to express His trust – to convey His commitment – to the Father.

The Greek word translated commit (παρατίθημι | paratithēmi) means, to “entrust someone to the care or protection of someone”[27] else. It means to “hand over.”[28] Jesus hands over His life to the Father’s hands.[29]

Like the sufferers of Psalm 22 and Psalm 31, Jesus has faith – that is, active trust – that the Father will deliver. The second half of Psalm 31:5 reads, “deliver me, LORD, my faithful God” (Psalm 31:5b, NIV).[30]

Earlier in Luke, Jesus has already predicted His death and resurrection — multiple times. In Luke 9, He says, He “must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Lk 9:22).

In Luke 18, Jesus says, “He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again” (Lk 18:32-33, NIV).[31]

Christ had confidence that the Father would resurrect Him. He faithfully puts His faith in His faithful Father. Just like other Jews would pray this prayer (trusting God to awaken them from sleep), Jesus also prays this prayer (trusting God to awaken Him from death).[32]

After Christ’s last words, He takes His last breath (ἐκπνέω | ekpneō). A more literal translation is: He breathed out His spirit.[33] After into the Father’s hands He commits His spirit, He then exhales His spirit.[34]

Other gospel authors word it a bit differently – saying that Jesus “gave up his spirit” (Mt 27:50 cf. Jn 19:30).[35] All this suggests that, in a way, Christ was not killed; He voluntarily surrendered.[36]

But for Him, this was nothing new. Jesus had been voluntarily surrendering to the will of the Father all His life. As you may recall, when Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the temple in His youth, He essentially says, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Lk 2:49, KJV).[37] In the Garden, He prays to the Father: Not my will, but thy will be done (Lk 22:42).[38] And, in His last moments, he continues to be faithful to His faithful Father.

Conclusion

My brothers and sisters, just as Jesus prayed this good ole prayer from that good ole song, so can we. We can pray the words of God, to the ears of God. And if the Savior of the world committed His life to the Father’s hands, shouldn’t we do the same?

How many times do we try to take matters into our own hands? How many times do we try to handle problems with our own strength? Aren’t God’s hands and God’s strength a little more capable than ours?

God sent His Son to solve a problem we couldn’t handle with our own hands – the problem of our sin that separates us from God. And because Christ surrendered His life for us, we should surrender our lives to Him (cf. 2 Cor 5:15). For a life in God’s hands, is a life in good hands.

Let’s commit our lives to our faithful Father’s good hands – not only when we are about to go to sleep at night, not only when we are at the end of our lives, but every morning God graciously wakes us up.

For morning by morning new mercies we see. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided; “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me![39]

Greek Text (UBS5)

46 καὶ φωνήσας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Πάτερ, εἰς χεῖράς σου παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου. τοῦτο δὲ εἰπὼν ἐξέπνευσεν.1Barbara Aland et al., eds., The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014), Lk 23:46.2

Author’s Translation

46 And crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my life-breath.” Having said this, He exhaled His breath of life

See footnote [19] for a discussion of the various Hebrew and Greek meanings of breath/spirit. Jesus commits His breath/spirit (πνεῦμα | pneuma) into the Father’s hands before exhaling His breath/spirit (ἐκπνέω | ekpneō, which literally means “to breathe out” (NIDTTE, vol 3, 802)). As noted earlier ([34]), seeing that these two words have the same root, it seems that Luke likely, intentionally uses wordplay.

This wordplay can be confusing to our 21st century English ears, however. For, when many of us think of spirit, we think of a disembodied, immaterial soul — like a ghost. As stated in [19], this is a typical Greek understanding of the word pneuma, as well.

Nonetheless, in Hebrew, spirit (רוַּח | rûaḥ), often means breath of life — metaphorically referring to one’s life as a whole. I am convinced that, given that Jesus is quoting a Hebrew Psalm (Ps 31:5), He means “spirit” in a more holistic Hebraic way. Thus, I opted for “life-breath” and “breath of life” instead of spirit. By these words, I mean the same thing. I am just fond of chiasm (Greek letter χ = chi. Chiastic = χ – shaped. E.g., James 2:14-26 Bible Study).

I say all that to say, I do not think Jesus necessarily committed His immaterial soul to the Father. This notion can lead to unnecessary confusion to the already mind-bending intra-Trinitarian dynamics. The point is that, before He died (and throughout His earthly life), Jesus committed His life into the Father’s hands — trusting the Father to resurrect Him as Christ had predicted (cf. Lk 9:22, 18:31-33).

Bibliography

Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Balz, Horst Robert, and Gerhard Schneider. Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 9:51–24:53. Vol. 2. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Luke. Edited by D. A. Carson. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015.

Evans, Craig A. Luke. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990.

Futato, Mark D. “The Book of Psalms.” In Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 7: The Book of Psalms, The Book of Proverbs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009.

Garland, David E. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: . Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.

Goldingay, John. Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms 1–41. Edited by Tremper Longman III. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.

Goldingay, John. Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Life. Vol. 3. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009.

Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.

Hubbard, Robert L. Jr., and Robert K. Johnston. “Foreword.” In Psalms, edited by W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012.

Jacobson, Rolf A., and Beth Tanner. “Book One of the Psalter: Psalms 1–41.” In The Book of Psalms, edited by E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Jenni, Ernst, and Claus Westermann. Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1–72: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 15. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary. Edited by David G. Firth. Vol. 15–16. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014.

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978.

Marshall, I. Howard. “Luke.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 978–1020. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.

Morgan, Don. “4 Simple Ways to Minister in a Nursing Home.” FocusOnTheFamily.com. Accessed April 13, 2019. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/end-of-life/4-simple-ways-to-minister-in-a-nursing-home

Morris, Leon. Luke: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 3. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.

Pao, David W., and Eckhard J. Schnabel. “Luke.” In Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, 251–403. Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos, 2007.

Porter, Stanley E., and Craig A. Evans. Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Ray, Kendra D, and Eva Götell. “The Use of Music and Music Therapy in Ameliorating Depression Symptoms and Improving Well-Being in Nursing Home Residents With Dementia.” Frontiers in medicine vol. 5 287. 9 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3389/fmed.2018.00287.

Schreiner, Thomas in Gary M., and Andrew E. Hill, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012.

Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.

Strauss, Mark in Arnold, Clinton E. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

Stein, Robert H. Luke. Vol. 24. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992.

Trites, Allison A., William J. Larkin. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 12: The Gospel of Luke and Acts. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.

Walton, John H. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament): The Minor Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs. Vol. 5. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009.

Wilcock, Michael. The Message of Psalms: Songs for the People of God. Edited by J. A. Motyer. The Bible Speaks Today. Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2001.

Wilcock, Michael. The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979.

[1] “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” Thomas O. Chisholm (Words) and William M. Runyan (Music), Copywright 1923, Renewal 1951 Hope Publishing, Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. In The New National Baptist Hymnal 21st Century Edition, (R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, Kindle Edition, 2001), Hymn #45.

[2]  “Conclusion: Findings suggest that music therapy can significantly decrease depression symptoms in nursing home residents with dementia. Music activities designed by music therapists and facilitated by CNAs may help sustain the reduction of depression symptoms and improve wellbeing in nursing home residents with moderate to severe dementia.” Kendra D.Ray and Eva Götell, “The Use of Music and Music Therapy in Ameliorating Depression Symptoms and Improving Well-Being in Nursing Home Residents With Dementia,” Frontiers in medicine vol. 5 287, 9 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3389/fmed.2018.00287, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6190855. “We’ve already discussed the ministry of music in nursing homes, but it’s worth noting again. Familiar songs and hymns have a way of lifting even the heaviest of hearts” Don Morgan, “4 Simple Ways to Minister in a Nursing Home,” FocusOnTheFamily.com, accessed April 13, 2019, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/pro-life/end-of-life/4-simple-ways-to-minister-in-a-nursing-home

[3] “Jesus expressed his feeling of divine abandonment by uttering the first verse of Psalm 22 (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)” Tremper Longman III, Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, ed. David G. Firth, vol. 15–16, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014), 133. Cf. “Given the scope of Psalm 22, it is no surprise that it was seen by the New Testament writers as applicable to the death of Jesus.” Rolf A. Jacobson and Beth Tanner, “Book One of the Psalter: Psalms 1–41,” in The Book of Psalms, ed. E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 237. “There is an intensity in this psalm that drives the reader beyond the experience of David (Mays 1994:106–107) to that of Jesus Christ.” Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 7: The Book of Psalms, The Book of Proverbs (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2009), 100. Jesus “becomes the lamenter par excellence.”

Robert L. Jr. Hubbard and Robert K. Johnston, “Foreword,” in Psalms, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 120; John Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament: Psalms 1–41, ed. Tremper Longman III, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 341.

[4] “He experienced the taunts and saw the derisive shaking of heads of those who passed by the cross (Matt. 27:39; Mark 15:29; Luke 23:35, referencing 22:7–8).” Longman, 133 ; cf. Mt 27:43; Futato, 100; Goldingay, 341.

[5] Futato, 100.

[6] “cited (Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; John 19:24) or alluded to (Luke 23:34).” Longman, 133; cf. Futato, 100; Goldingay, 341.

[7] “As is typical in most, but not all, laments, the psalmist concludes with a declaration of praise and confidence that God will hear and act on his prayer.” Tremper Longman III, Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary, ed. David G. Firth, vol. 15–16, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2014), 132.

[8] Futato, 100 cf. Lk 1:27, 32; 2:4; 3:31

[9] “The psalm which began with the cry of dereliction ends with the word he has wrought it, an announcement not far removed from our Lord’s great cry, ‘It is finished.’” Derek Kidner, Psalms 1–72: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 15, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 127; cf. Dr. Deborah Watson (my professor), Palmer Theological Seminary, Fall 2016 Lecture.

[10] Allison A. Trites, William J. Larkin, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 12: The Gospel of Luke and Acts (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006), 312. Craig A. Evans, Luke, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990), 344. Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1862. “Jesus addresses God as Πάτερ…and uses the words of Ps. 30:6 LXX: εἰς χεῖράς σου παραθήσομαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου. The slight verbal change in the tense of the verb accommodates the quotation to the occasion.” I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1978), 875–876. Cf. Diane G. Chen, Luke: A New Covenant Commentary, ed. Michael F. Bird and Craig Keener, New Covenant Commentary Series (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017), 302. “The psalm is here used typologically. Jesus is the righteous sufferer par excellence.” Mark Strauss in Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 495. “Virtually the entire narrative of the life of Jesus is modeled on the [Hebrew Bible (the OT)] and its vocabulary drawn from there, from “In the beginning” (Jn 1:1 = Gen 1:1) to “Into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46 = Ps 31:5) and even “Sit at my right hand” (Heb 1:13 = Ps 110:1). Moreover, many figures from the HB serve as models or prototypes of Jesus.” Eugene Ulrich, “Hebrew Bible,” Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 457.

[11] “with the last of the seven words from the cross” (Lk 23:46). Michael Wilcock, The Savior of the World: The Message of Luke’s Gospel, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 204.

[12] I think it may supposed to be “Give us, Lord, our daily bread” Cf. https://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/catholic/meals/childs-grace.aspx

[13] https://www.beliefnet.com/prayers/other/bedtime/a-childs-bedtime-prayer.aspx

[14] Pastor Scotton has used this example many times in his sermons

[15] “‘Sleep’ could mean either literally sleep or figuratively death.… Thus understood, Ps. 31:5 is particularly suitable for the dying Jesus” Evans, 344. Trites, 312. “…sleep being regarded as the threshold of death.” Marshall, 876.

[16] “The specific verse that the Lucan Jesus has quoted was employed as a prayer before going to sleep (Numbers Rabbah 20.20; Midrash Psalms 25.2). It was a prayer that God protect one’s spirit until one awakens.” Evans, 344; Trites, 312; Bock BECNT, 1862. Cf. “This line from Psalm 31:5 is said to have often been recited at the period of the evening offering—about the time of Jesus’ death.” Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Lk 23:46.

[17] Evans, 344; Trites, 312.

[18] Stein, 596.

[19] “The whole of the living person.” Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke, 2 vols., AB 28 and 28a. Garden City: Doubleday, 1981–85 as cited in Evans, 344. In Greek, πνεῦμα can refer to breath, wind, spirit, or even to a disembodied ghost or soul. Some scholars say this is the only time πνεῦμα refers to the “ghost” or “soul” of a dead person in the NT (EDNT, 119). However, Jesus is quoting Psalm 31:5, which uses the Hebrew word רוַּח (rûaḥ). Though rûaḥ can also mean breath, wind, etc., given the OT’s “holistic anthropology it represents the entire existence, the I of the supplicant in the Psa, esp. in the individual laments (Isa 26:9; Psa 31…).” Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann, Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), 1212. Some OT scholars believe Jesus means “spirit” not in a common Hebrew way (i.e., “breath of life”) but in a more Greek way (“ghost” or disembodied “soul”). For example, “Used in Greek culture, the line is given a different meaning in Luke 23:46, when Jesus speaks from the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” and in Acts 7:59 at the stoning of Stephen. Spirit in these Greek texts is something that lives on after physical death and is not the same as the breath of life; indeed, it is the very thing that transcends physical life.” Tanner, 304 cf. John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Life, vol. 3 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 259. However, my NT professor, Dr. Diane Chen, believes the Hebrew understanding makes better sense of the context, which focuses on Jesus actual “deadness.” In a private email to me she wrote, “[Lk 23:46] doesn’t seem to want or need so say anything more than the fact that Jesus died and in his last breath committed his life to God – the living person became a dead person after this breath. The notion of a soul living on, or some form of a Greek understanding, does not strike me as an important note to sound in this immediate context. If anything, any notion of a lingering soul works against the narrative thrust, when this moment underscores the ‘deadness’ of the crucified king of the Jews. The point of this scene is to show that Jesus really died — then he was buried in a closed tomb. He was dead, dead, and undoubtedly dead. This sets up the dramatic reversal in Luke 24, when God raised him from the deadest of deadness.” All things considered, it stands to reason that “spirit” here refers to “that which animates or gives life to the body, breath, (life-)spirit… Lk 23:46” BDAG, 832.

[20] “Jesus’ last words are a beautiful expression of trust as he commends himself to the Father in the words of a Psalm (Ps. 31:5).” Leon Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 3, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 347–348.

[21] “In so doing Jesus is a model for his followers (cf. Acts 7:59).” Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 596. “Luke will narrate the death of Stephen in Acts 7:59–60 in similar style and terminology. Both prayers of Jesus and Stephen in their hours of death are models for believers as they too face persecution and death.” James R. Edwards, The Gospel according to Luke, ed. D. A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos, 2015), 696.

[22] Edwards, 696.

[23] Morris, 347-48; “cry of faith” Bock (BECNT), 1861.

[24] Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 826 cf. Bock, 1862.

[25] Evans, 344.

[26] Evans, 344.

[27] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), (BDAG) 1071.

[28] Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–) (EDNT), 22.

[29] “The hand of God will rescue him from the hand of all who hate him (1:71) and who are enemies (1:74).” David E. Garland, Luke, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 929.

[30] “It may be significant that when the Redeemer quoted verse 5 in his dying words he stopped short of its second line; yet in the Old Testament the word ‘redeem’ (pādâ) is seldom used of atonement: it mostly means to rescue or ransom out of trouble (e.g. Pss 25:22; 26:11; 44:26 [Heb. 27]; 55:18 [Heb. 19]; 69:18; 78:42), and only once unequivocally to ‘pay the price of sin’ ([Ps 130:8]).” Kidner, 148.

[31] “Employing this psalm, Jesus manifests his own faith in the sovereign God whom, he believes, will rescue him from the hands of his enemies. In light of the coupling of death and resurrection in Jesus’ passion predictions (esp. 9:22; 18:31–33), we may hear in Jesus’ prayer his faith in the God who raises from the dead.” Green, 826. Cf. Lk 22:69; 23:43… “This promise [of Resurrection] is alluded to later in [Lk 24:7, 26, 44, 46].” (“Lk” added). Bock BECNT, 1862.

[32] “As he faces death, he expresses his trust that God will care for him. In fact, this is a call to resurrect him.” Bock BECNT, 1862. “God did not rescue him from the cross, and he died, but God’s rescue came in the form of the resurrection.” Longman, 163.

[33] “…ἐκπνέω ekpneō… breathe out, breathe one’s last, die. Of the death of Jesus: ἐξέπνευσεν, he expired (literally “breathed out his life”; Mark 15:37 par. Luke 23:46; Mark 15:39).” EDNT, 420. “23.103 ἐκπνέω: (a figurative extension of meaning of ἐκπνέω ‘to breathe out,’ not occurring in the NT) to engage in the final act of dying—‘to die, to breathe out one’s last.’ ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἀφεὶς φωνὴν μεγάλην ἐξέπνευσεν ‘then Jesus gave a loud cry and died’ Mk 15:37.” Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 264. “…breathe out one’s life/soul, expire, euphem[ism]. for die Mk 15:37, 39; Lk 23:46.” BDAG, 308.

[34] “Luke captures this paradox of triumph in death with a wordplay on Greek pneuma (v. 46), which means both “spirit” and “breath”: Jesus entrusts his spirit (pneuma) to the Father, and having done so, he breathes his last (exepneusen).” Edwards, 696–697.

[35] Though they use different words. Stein, 596; Bock BECNT, 1863.

[36] “Even in his death, Jesus was in control.” Stein, 596.

[37] Chen, 302.

[38] Chen, 302.

[39] Chisholm and Runyan.

*Image from Faithlife https://images.app.goo.gl/tDNaTBnqyiZjZojKA

Sources

About @DannyScottonJr 157 Articles
Imperfect servant striving to be an unapologetically apologetic ambassador for Jesus the Christ. Princeton University Alum | Palmer Theological Seminary Student