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Resurrection is a powerful concept; the ability to overcome even death. Life is undoubtedly a gift but the ability to overcome death is a miracle. The story of humanity is a story of seeds maturing, bearing fruits and invariably reconciling in death. It is for that reason why the story of Jesus of Nazareth has survived the death of many generations.
The simplicity of the message has had an endearing force over many lives. God, the Creator, (through a virgin) gave humanity a man who will become our perfect example and ultimate salvation. As has been popularized by his words on the cross; It is finished, the theology of the completed work of this same Jesus has become defining of the Christian faith.
I wish however to suggest in this post that, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ is the missing key that turns the message of a crucified young man, ruled by the religious and political order to be an anathema, into an enduring faith of a finished work of grace and pattern for works and salvation.
In Luke 23:46, we are told by the Greek doctor whose research paper was canonized as one of the gospels that, Jesus’ last words were not ‘It is Finished’ but ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’. “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” – Luke 23:46
The dying declarations of men are somewhat of an interesting phenomenon. In our cultural setup, the words of a person on their dying bed is sacred to say the least. They are in many sense the summary of the things the person found most essential to communicate whiles they struggled with death.
A story is told in law about a deceased who had called a telephone operator minutes before she was allegedly murdered by her husband. The central question in law was whether or not that evidence was not hearsay and thus of no merit in law. The defining rule from this story in law became part a body of exceptions to the hearsay rule. It is an established principle therefore that, when the statements of a person are contemporaneous and do form part of the same transaction, ruling out any possibility of concoction then those statement must be deemed to have significant merit.
The essential guiding principle is that, the difference in reaction time between deceptive and sincere responses should be negligible. In Latin, the declaration is deemed so intricately woven into the act such that it must be construed as part of the ‘Things Done’: Res Gestae.
It is my humble submission that, if Jesus is the turning point for the salvation of men, and the merit of Jesus hinges on his death, then the words of Jesus that maybe so contemporaneous and intricately woven into His death and thus forming a direct part of his death is, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’. I wish to submit that, the state of mind of Jesus even in death was of an active faith and it is only through such faith resurrection was possible.
Now to the essential elements of his dying words: a loud voice, a father in whose hands to repose such faith, a spirit to commit and the ability to give up the struggle of holding on.
- A loud Active Voice. Silence can be golden when it is a choice in prudence but life can deal us a frustrating fate that shuts us up. A Jew professing to be the Messiah, call him a ‘loud mouth’ if you will, disagreeing with all the powers that were and seeking to establish a new order. And yet it appeared, he had failed. Nailed to the cross and humiliated, naked with a sign of King of the Jews only to serve as a mockery effect and yet He seems to find his voice. I do not know what life may have dealt you that seeks to shut you up but remember Jesus found not only His voice but a loud voice when He ordinarily should have given up one.
- A father in whose hands to repose faith. Faith is a powerful gift to humanity. It is by that we have created all the structure of living including currency to trade value. Any inventor or entrepreneur will tell you, they first had to believe in the value of their product or venture before the world could even see its beginning. I am of a firm conviction that; faith is the currency by which everything in the world runs. Faith however reconciles in more than itself, it must root into the capacity of the promisor. I only have basis to believe in an end if I can trust the journey and my ability to go through such a process. The problem however is that, humanity is too fragile, incapable of full knowledge and futile to be worthy of faith in itself. The need to reach out for strength beyond ourselves is therefore a rational option. A father to trust and to count on is not only productive but enduring. It is even more empowering when such a father is the source of life in whom death itself reconciles. To faith that the Creator is my father in whose hands I can faith is the roots from which resurrection is possible as we journey through life reconciling it all to rest in His hands.
- A spirit to commit and an ability to give up the struggle. Will finds strength inwards, within a person’s spirit. Control and Supply are however powerful concepts. Control and Supply appears to be the gateway to dominion but what is the gateway to control and supply? In many parts, human beings may control their destiny. Accountability exit because there is free will to elect as according to the wishes of a person’s spirit. We can all appreciate however that, life is not that simplistic as we are subject to influence and equally able of influence. It is in that light, it appears the only way toward real control and supply is in humility to learn, even to commit into a superior hand that is capable of teaching us the value of life and death. Jesus in death made an election to surrender to learning through the valley of the shadow of death. The difficulty is to give that which we yearn to hold onto the most; control and supply even over our spirit. The message of the resurrection however suggests that, it is only in giving up our lives as a sacrifice in respect of the divinity in others that we may receive real dominion.
So when next we speak of resurrection, let us be reminded that, resurrection was only possible for the young man of Nazareth because he was so convinced of his Divinity that he poured it out in a loud voice when he ordinarily should be shut by the circumstances of life, electing faith over despair and surrendering life for the learning of death in faith of the salvation and inspiring divinity in others.
The morale of the lesson being that, even for us, even in the face of death, whenever we may be confronted with death, (whether in business, life or in whatever may have the semblance of death) in our lives, let us elect vigour, faith and humility for that is the true message of the resurrection.
I pray that we may elect to trust God fully, electing at all times to say, “Father, into your Hands, I commit my spirit!” for it is in such a state of mind we overcome even death and save a generation. #WeMeauve. Happy Resurrection Sunday.