7 Words: Trust
Luke 23:44-47 By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart. Then Jesus shouted, ‘Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!’ And with those words he breathed his last. When the captain of the Roman soldiers handling the executions saw what had happened, he praised God and said, ‘Surely this man was innocent!’
As a Roman centurion, this man had obviously seen hundreds if not thousands of crucifixions. It was the standard operating procedure for executing criminals in the Roman Empire. They hung them on crosses and let them die that way. So the Roman centurion, he no doubt had seen many, many, many crucifixions.
What did this guy see in Jesus’ crucifixion that he had not seen in hundreds or thousands of other ones?
He heard the seven last words of Jesus. …
“Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” Criminals don’t normally say that to the people killing them.
He heard Jesus say the word of assurance to the thief on the cross – “Today you’ll be with me in paradise.” Criminals don’t normally say that.
He heard Jesus say the word of love to Mary and John the disciple, caring for other people in the midst of his own agonizing pain.
He saw Jesus refuse the pain killer that the Romans had offered him at the start of the crucifixion. That was unusual.
He heard Jesus say his final words with a shout – “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
Jesus gave us a model of how to die. He didn’t fight it when it was his time. He knew it was time to die. He was not afraid of dying. He was not angry. He was not bitter. He was not complaining. He knew where he was going. He had made his peace. He knew that he had no unfinished business – “It is finished.” And he trusts God with his future.
There has been great debate and argument over who took Jesus’ life.
Roman soldiers responsible for taking Jesus’ life?
Were the Jewish religious leaders responsible for taking Jesus’ life?
Was the crowd responsible?
Was it my sin?
Let me tell you who took Jesus’ life… nobody. He laid it down. He volunteered it. He offered it up. What held Jesus to the cross were not nails, but love. If Jesus hadn’t wanted to be there dying for your sins, believe me, he wouldn’t have been there; because he was in complete control of the situation.
What do I mean by that? He quotes the Scripture and he uses it as a prayer. When Jesus says “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands,” he’s quoting Psalm 31:5. This is a psalm that every Jew prayed every night as they were going to bed.
Normally a person in the last stage of crucifixion – we’ve talked about this in the past, what a gruesome death that was, would have no energy whatsoever in his last breath to shout. Normally you just kind of whimper away something or groan or mumble a word. But Jesus shouts.
He’s not shouting in anger. He’s not shouting in despair. He’s not shouting in defeat. He’s shouting in victory
When I’m going through a dark hour…
I have a Father in heaven who loves me!
Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who honor him…
What kind of Father is God? Remember we said he’s a close Father. He’s not distant. He’s not abandoned you. He is a consistent Father. He’s not moody or fickle. He is a competent Father. He can handle anything in your life. And he is a caring Father; he is compassionate.
Lamentations 3:22-24 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!
I talk to people sometimes who say, “I’m afraid to give my life to Jesus Christ because I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep the commitment.”
Let me just be honest with you – you can’t. You can’t and you won’t. You will mess up. You cannot keep your commitment. Fortunately your salvation isn’t based on your keeping the commitment. It’s based on Christ keeping his commitment of what you’ve put in the safety deposit box
My Father can be trusted!
One of the great questions of life you have to eventually answer is who are you gonna to trust? The way you answer that question – who you gonna trust in life? – will determine whether you’re happy or miserable. Whether you succeed or fail. Whether you make something of your life or you waste your life. It all depends on who you’re going to trust.
Psalm 33:4 For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust.
So here’s the question: what do you need to entrust to God today? I’ll tell you what it is – it’s whatever you’re worrying about. Whatever you’re worrying about you need to entrust that into the safety deposit box of God’s love.
Psalm 116:6 The Lord protects the simple hearted.
Exodus 14:14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
My Father is doing things I can’t see!
Because you’re not just a body, you’re a spirit, there is a spiritual realm to life that you cannot see. God is working in your life behind the scenes even when you can’t see it. Here on earth, while you’re here, there is a cosmic battle going on for your soul. And there is a cosmic battle between good and evil going on for my soul. And there is a cosmic battle going on behind the scenes for everybody’s soul. Because this life is not all there is. You can’t see all that God is doing on your behalf behind the scenes.
Job 23:9-10 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
When God wants to do a miracle, the first phase is Dream. God starts by giving you dream, a vision, a desire, a goal, an ambition. A picture of how things could be in your marriage, in your life, in your work, in your future. Nothing happens until somebody starts dreaming.
Then phase two is Decision. The second phase of faith is decision. At the decision phase, you have to make the decision to go after the dream. A dream is worthless until you wake up and go to work on it. Dreams are a dime a dozen. Lots of people have dreams and never do anything with their lives. You’ve got to move from the dream stage to the decision stage.
Once you make the decision to go after a God given dream, along comes phase three. Phase three is Delay. Are any of you familiar with this phase? When God gives you a dream he never fulfills it instantly. Why? Because God is not a vending machine. God is not a genie. We’ll go into the reasons for this. There is a delay.
Then while you’re waiting in God’s waiting room you come to phase four. Phase four is Difficulty. Now you not only get to wait but you get to have problems while you wait. Some of you are in phase four right now. In the difficulty stage. And the dream isn’t happening. And the dream isn’t happening!
Once you get through stage four and you finally get ready to give up and you think this is not going to happen, you come to phase five in faith and phase five is Dead End. What is dead end? That’s where it looks humanly impossible for it to happen. My marriage is never going to turn around… I’m never going to get that job… I’m never going to graduate… I’m never going to see this dream fulfilled. It’s a dead end. When the disciples were seeing Jesus be crucified, that was a dead end. It’s over. The dream’s over. It’s done. What were we thinking? It’s finished. Put a fork in it! It’s done.
But when you get to phase five you need to start smiling, because stage six is coming shortly. Phase six is Deliverance. That’s when God supernaturally does a miracle in your life because you’re at the end of your rope and you think it’s hopeless. God specializes in turning
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
He can handle anything I give Him, God’s hands are …
“Into your hands…” it is a beautiful expression of care and security and trust and ability. I am entrusting it into your hands.
Big enough to bless me
Psalm 139:5 You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Scarred never to forget
God’s hands are scarred to never forget me. The nail prints that are in Jesus’ hands? They’re permanent. Do you know that in heaven, the only scars, the only wounds in heaven will be on Jesus. You’re going to have a perfect body.
Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! I have engraved you on the palms of my hands!”
- Strong enough to keep me eternally secure
Friends, this statement is not a statement just to say when you’re dying: “Father I entrust my spirit into your hands!” It is a statement to say every day the rest of your life.
John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 I think you ought to know, dear brothers, about the hard time we went through in Asia. We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it. We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us, for he can even raise the dead. (LB)