Read Luke 23:46
46 Then Jesus gave a great cry and said, “Father, ‘into your hands I commend my spirit.’” And with these words, he died. (JBP)
As a child I had memorised my bedtime prayer. “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.” Sounds a bit dire, the thought of possibly dying while sleeping. However, nervous child as I was, it had a reassuring ring to it.
The prayer Jesus uses here just before he dies is a standard Jewish bed-time prayer as well as being a quote from the Psalms. He appears to be at the mercy of cruel men, but he recognises he is actually in the hands of his Father. Human beings have done their worse, but they have not won.
Jesus knows his fate does not lie in the hand of the Roman authorities or the Jewish religious leaders. After all the pain and humiliation, he knows he is safe. And he has not died with a whimper, but with a loud cry. We can reasonably regard it as a cry of triumph.
His words are the words we can take to heart as we face death, or as we care for those followers of Jesus who are nearing death. It is not a leap into some shadowy limbo world; it is not an entry into an uncertain and mysterious void. We can safely commend ourselves to our God knowing the welcome mat is well and truly laid out.
Our life journeys will all one day come to an end. The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, wrote that we should rage against the dying of the light when it came to death. But no rage is needed because as one light dies another burns even brighter.
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