We will be posting a series of devotionals for the 7 days of Holy Week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Each is a reflection on one of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
With these final words from the cross, Jesus embodied 1 Peter 4:19, which says:
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
In His life Jesus was the personification of this verse. He lived in perfect accordance with God’s will and endured the suffering necessary for Him to complete his mission, all the while entrusting Himself to the Father and continuously doing good.
Let those who suffer . . .
"Those who suffer” are the people whom Peter earlier encouraged to be prepared for the fiery trials when they come (1 Peter 4:12). They are the people to whom James writes, “Consider it all joy, when you encounter various trials,” not if you encounter various trials (James 1:2). They are those who deny themselves and take up their crosses daily to follow Christ (Matthew 16:24). “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (1 Timothy 3:12). In other words, “those who suffer” are all believers who follow after Jesus.
According to God’s will . . .
Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God works all things according to the counsel of His will. And that includes the suffering that His children will endure while living in the world. But none other than Jesus has suffered so much at the explicit order of God’s will. As the Suffering Servant, it was God’s will to crush him (Isaiah 53:10). It was Jesus who was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” to be crucified by lawless men (Acts 2:23). But God’s will always has a purpose, and for those who love God He is working together all things for good (Romans 8:28). Jesus’ suffering was not in vain, but it was accomplishing salvation for all who would believe, motivated by God’s great redeeming love. God so loved... that He gave His Son to unimaginable suffering to save those who had turned against Him in rebellion.
Entrust their souls . . .
Entrust your soul—not your immediate future, your plans, your problems, or even your life—but your soul. To entrust your soul to God is to take the long view of things. It is having an eternal perspective. Unless Christ returns during your lifetime, everything short of the soul will fail in time. And many Christians never see their immediate future, problems, or lives working out the way they would prefer. But all believers can take solace in the hope that the one part of us that is eternal, our souls, have been redeemed by a faithful and loving Savior, and one day even our bodies and the whole of Creation will be restored. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
To a faithful Creator . . .
Instead of Creator, Peter could have chosen to use several other words here like Father, God, or Protector. One reason he may have used Creator is because it implies purpose. What do Creators do? They make plans and then execute those plans. It is a title that is consistent with design and helps the reader understand that what is happening to them is a part of a bigger plan. Because God is infinite and we are finite we oftentimes cannot understand His designs, but that does not mean He doesn’t have one. God is the Creator, He made us, He loves us, and He will bring His plans for us to full fruition for our ultimate good and for His ultimate glory.
While doing good . . .
Jesus was continually doing good, even during times of great suffering. In a moment when it would be most natural to focus on His own pain, He showed compassion to the thief hanging on the cross beside Him. Even in times of trial, continue in the work that God has prepared for you as you trust Him with your life. We are to have an eternal perspective, but that does not mean we are so focused on heaven that we forget about earth.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:19).
So may we commit our spirits to God our Father, submitting, as Jesus did, to His plan for our lives even when that includes suffering. And let us continually seek to walk in the good works that have been prepared for us even as we keep our eyes fixed on the eternal, our hearts encouraged and strengthened by the things not seen (2 Corinthians 4:18).