And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last (Luke 24:6 NASB)
She stood there with her toes squeezing the edge of the pool so she could reach as far as her arms would allow her without tipping over and falling into the water. She wanted to be willing to jump into the water, but my hands were just out of her reach. She would have to jump and trust that my hands would be there when she hit the water. It was a trust issue, not a "want it" issue. Eventually, she summoned up her courage and took the leap.
Many a parent knows the sometimes-laborious process of getting a child confident enough to jump into the water. More than a rite of passage or some parental fiendish delight, when you live in Texas around lakes and pools, it's a necessity. More than just learning to swim, a child needs to know how to handle landing with an unexpected splash in the face and navigate to safety. But you don't start with your child on the diving board saying, "Come on, baby, jump in. You can do it! I'll just sit here in my lounge chair sipping lemonade and watch you."
No, you start with your child sitting on the side of the pool with his or her toes in the water, holding your hands, and sliding smoothly into the water. All the while, those tiny hands are firmly in the grip of your strong hands, knowing that you won't let them go. Little by little, you move a bit more away and they have to reach, then stand, and eventually jump to reach your hands. For most kids, this makes the adventure more and more fun as they gain confidence as the process continues. BUT ... sooner or later, you are so far away that your child can lean, even jump, but not quite reach your hands. Your little one has to trust that even if he or she cannot physically touch you at splash down, you are still there and your hands are close by to reach, rescue, and applaud — whatever the situation might demand.
The last recorded words of Jesus from the cross are, "Into your hands do I commit my spirit." If we allow ourselves the boldness to look at Jesus this way, we can understand these words in ways that connect with our experience. From the moment of Jesus' cry in the Garden, we enter into the tender relationship of a son and his father.
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine" (Mark 14:36 NLT).
Yes, Jesus words, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" are the cry of a child launching in the direction of the unknown and trusting that the strong hands of his loving Father are there waiting for them after the jump and the splash down. No matter how we want to clothe Jesus with the divine, we cannot remove from him the reality of his humanness. This is the mystery and the grace of God in human flesh. So in the middle of Jesus' launch into the unknown — remember he is called the "pioneer and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2 NRS) — he was trusting Abba Father for his leap of faith. He had done this all of his life, so now, when his greatest leap was necessary, he could launch himself in faithful trust that the "hands" of his Abba were near.
And because he made the leap before us, we can believe, too. For no matter how far the leap may appear, and no matter how far away the strong hands of rescue may seem, we can know that the Father waits for our launch into the unknown ... not just to rescue us, but also to applaud his precious child who trusted that he was waiting for them at splashdown.
So with Jesus, we can quote the Psalmist and confidently say, "I entrust my spirit into your hand. Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God" (Psalm 31:5 NLT).
What is the hardest "leap of faith" you have had to make?
How can Jesus' example of trusting Abba Father help us?
What are some other examples of a child trusting a parent that remind you of Jesus trusting his Father?
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