April 3 – Let God Handle It

Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.

Luke 23:46

 

The apostle Peter instructed Christians not to be “returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9). That was Jesus’ attitude. He was able to do that because He “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (2:23). The word translated as “committed” means “to hand over for someone to keep.” In every instance of suffering, our Lord handed over the circumstance and Himself to God. That’s because He was confident in the righteous judgment of God and the glory that would be His. That confidence allowed Him to accept tremendous suffering calmly.

That’s the way you should respond when confronted with unjust persecution on the job or in your families or other relationships. When you retaliate, you forfeit the blessing and reward that suffering is meant to bring. Retaliation shows you lack the confidence you ought to have in God’s ability to make things right in His own time, which will include punishing the unjust and rewarding those who are faithful in suffering. So give it over to God and let Him handle it.[1]


46 Normally, a person in the last stages of crucifixion would not have the strength to speak beyond a weak groan, but each synoptic gospel says that Jesus spoke with a “loud voice.” Jesus’ words are from Psalm 31:5 (30:6 [LXX]), which was used by the Jews as an evening prayer. To the Christian reader who knows that Jesus’ death was a voluntary act, these words are most appropriate. More important, this psalm is uttered by one who is called “righteous” (Ps 31:18 [30:19 LXX]). In uttering a verse from this psalm, Jesus acts as a “righteous” man who confidently places his trust in God. The statement of the centurion that proclaims Jesus to be a “righteous man” (v. 47) is therefore not the least bit surprising. (For an insightful treatment of the use of Ps 31 here, see Doble, 173–76.)[2]


23:46 into Your hands. This quotes Ps 31:5, and the manner of His death accords with Jn 10:18. Normally victims of crucifixion died much slower deaths. He, being in control, simply yielded up His soul (Jn 10:18; 19:30), committing it to God. Thus He “offered Himself without blemish to God” (Heb 9:14).[3]


23:46 I commit my spirit! Jesus’ own human spirit returned to the presence of God the Father (see v. 43 and note on John 19:30; also Ps. 31:5; Eccles. 12:7; Acts 7:59; 1 Pet. 4:19). having said this he breathed his last. Even in death, Jesus is still in control of things (see note on John 10:17).[4]


23:46 Matthew and Mark stress how terrible Jesus’ death was. Luke does not deny this, but records Jesus’ words showing that His death was in accordance with the will of the Father.

breathed his last. This is not the usual way of referring to death. None of the Gospels employs standard terminology for Jesus’ death.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 108). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] Liefeld, W. L., & Pao, D. W. (2007). Luke. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 337). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Lk 23:46). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2011). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1502). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

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