4-14-12 His Last Word

His Last Word

2012 Easter Bible Conference       Second Day     Part II     #Matthew Monroe# 4-14-12

Luke 23:44-56 Key verse: 46

‘Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Verse 44 and 45 read, “It was no the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” Jesus had been lead out and crucified. Darkness covered the land because creation was morning for Jesus, for Jesus was the creator. John’s gospel 1:3 reads, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The earth and the heavens understood Jesus better than the people present. This reminds me of Luke chapter 19 when Jesus said the stones would cry out. If inanimate creation has such a strong understanding of God, how much more we should understand Jesus as our creator. God gave each of us a soul, and spiritual desire. We should understand God’s sorrow and weep for Jesus.

The second sentence of verse 45 reads, “And the curtain in the temple was torn in two.” This curtain divided the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. Only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year. The Ark of the Covenant was originally kept there. People would normally die when entering the Holy of Holies and a rope was tied around the high priest when he entered in case he died, so the other priests could drag his body out.

At Jesus’ crucifixion this curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. This wasn’t easy to do because the curtain was four inches thick. You couldn’t see anything through it. But with the curtain gone the barrier between God and man was removed. This barrier was removed because of Jesus. Jesus is the bridge between God and man; The Mediator. He is our true high priest, who went into the Holy of Holies in Heaven to make offerings for us directly before God, an offering that only had to be paid once to cover all sin. Instead of having to offer an animal for our sin, we can repent and accept Jesus’ sacrifice. Now we can all come to God directly through Jesus. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice that covers all our sins, and opened the way for us to come to God! As Hebrews chapter 10 verses 19-22 read, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having out hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Let’s read verse 46 together, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ After this he breathed his last.” Jesus last words were to God. Although Jesus had been forsaken, he still loved God and offered everything to God. He had lost everything in the world–the only thing he had left was his life, which he gave freely to God as an offering to save others. Jesus understood how he came from God and would go back to God. Nothing, nothing could shake his faith in God. This unshakable faith could move the heart of the centurion, the guy who was in charge of the soldiers killing Jesus. Look at verse 47, “The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’” This is in contrast to the crowd. Look at verse 48, “When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.” Without faith we can only despair. Suffering becomes tragedy, life ridiculous. But with faith we can see God’s wisdom, like the Centurion. May we all have God’s understanding so we can maintain faith, hope, and understanding in times of suffering!

After Jesus death some secret believers came out. Do you know who? Look at verse 50, “Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man.” One such believer was Joseph. As a member of the Sanhedrin, he was a religious leader and politician in Israel, but was still a good and upright man who had voted against killing Jesus. The Bible says he was waiting for the kingdom of God, so we can assume he was getting along in years. Look at verse 52, “Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.” According to Mark’s gospel Pilate was actually surprised by this, and the centurion had to convince Pilate to hand over the body. Together with Nicodemus, Joseph prepared Jesus body for burial and placed it in a new tomb which had not been used. Matthew’s gospel gives an important detail not in Luke’s gospel. Matthew 27:59-60 reads, “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” This tomb was originally going to be for Joseph. He was a rich man and had picked out a nice spot for his own burial, and had a tomb cut out for it. It was like his own mausoleum.

This detail is important because it fulfills prophecy. Isaiah chapter 53 verse 9 reads, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb for another rich man. Joseph wasn’t trying to fulfill prophecy at all, but chose the tomb out of convenience because it was nearby. Look at verse 54, “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.” The Sabbath would begin Friday at sunset, so they had to put Jesus body somewhere. God used this for his providence. Look at verses 55 and 56, “The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.” Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” These women had wanted to embalm Jesus but didn’t get the chance because there wasn’t enough time, so Joseph rolled a stone to seal the tomb and they left. They were not expecting Jesus to come back from the dead. Otherwise they wouldn’t want to embalm him. If Joseph believed in the resurrection he would have left the door open so Jesus could get out. But Jesus’ death isn’t the end of the story.

Let’s look at verse 46 again, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.” Jesus’ last words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” is mostly a quote from a psalm by David. Psalm 31 verse 5 reads, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of Truth.” When Jesus quoted this verse he wasn’t just admitting his obedience to God. He was also implying his resurrection. “Redeem me, O Lord.” Eventually Jesus was redeemed from the grave, from the power of death through his glorious resurrection.

Last words are a catch phrase in English. At an execution the executioners ask, “Any last words?” Historians record famous last words. Some people don’t have nice last words. They despair and cry, “Tragedy, tragedy!” Others reveal their deepest secrets or hidden sins in order to come clean. What do you think your last words will be? Will you say something about yourself, something for your family, will you try to pass a sliver of wisdom to humanity. Will you say something to God? Will you die with the same confidence as Jesus? Personally, I want to have the same confidence as Jesus. I want to share in Jesus resurrection so I have faith in him. One year I actually had Psalm 31:5 as my key verse, in an attempt to put myself in God’s hands–to learn humility, to break my will and fight my sin nature. Breaking my will is difficult for me; One of the most difficult things. Right now if I were to die my last words wouldn’t be, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” They’d be, “Give me five more minutes! I need to take care of my stuff!” My faith hasn’t reached the same level as Jesus. I repent that my last words right now are useless, and decide to learn how to summarize my life before God in a single sentence. May we all understand Jesus’ last words and be ready to summarize our life in Christ.

Let’s read the key verse one more time, verse 46: Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

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