Church of England Diocese of Leicester Burbage with Aston Flamville

The seven last words of Jesus

10 Apr 2020, noon
Easter

7. The Last Word

Luke chapter 23 verse 46 “Jesus Cried out in a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”

We now come to the last of the 7 words of Christ let us remind ourselves of what they

were:

We have joined with Jesus on this rollercoaster of emotions until we come to this point when Jesus on the cross, finally cries to his Father God in total submission, placing his spirit into the hands of his Father God.

There have been many films, stage shows and TV series depicting Christs final moments and each being able to convey the director’s vision and meaning either to entertain or challenge us. Whether that is Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of Christ with its harrowing and brutal scenes that left me totally speechless at the end. It took away all the sanitized versions that I had experienced previously and left me with the reality that Christ truly suffered for my sake, truly suffered. Or whether it is the more artistic Martin Scorsese 1988 The Last Temptation of Christ showing Christ vulnerable and naked and with the viewer looking on at a distance.

Our Gospel accounts tell us that it was necessary for the Son of God to do this for us, so that we no longer have to punish ourselves for the sins that we do. Our faith in Christ and our love for God means that all the pain and suffering was taken on Christ.

Over the years I have held the hands of many who were dying and those who have died and, in the process, they have been weakened by their condition and unable to cry out, so what strength it must have taken to cry out just as Jesus’ spirit is passed over to his Father God.

Perhaps this scene was so powerful and effective not simply because an innocent man was prepared to die for his beliefs, but because throughout his life, Jesus gave his spirit into Gods hands so that God was able to use Jesus in the best possible way.

Jesus’ final cry on the cross “it is finished….”, expresses the means by which Jesus achieved his perfect sacrifice.

Death in any shape or form is an emotional one especially for those who mourn for a friend or loved one and the images of Mary and others at the foot of the cross or nearby only serves to remind us of that fact.

For many of us, work has become that which defines our life. This may be voluntary work or paid work, but it means that for many people busyness is the most essential part of life. When that busyness is snatched away as it has been due to the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent restrictions on our day to day life – redundancy or illness people can feel useless and without worth. But all those who freely give their spirit into Gods hands can be used by God in startling and unexpected ways.

For Jesus, the most powerful moment of his life was when he was completely helpless and utterly vulnerable on the cross, but we know that death had no hold on Christ and neither will it have a hold on us.

“Into your hands Lord, I commend my spirit.”

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

-Isiah 53:5. 700 BC.