Into Thine Hands
Into Thine Hands March 30, 2018
Tonight we have gathered to celebrate and remember the death of one who made a difference in this world. The record has it that he opened the eyes of the blind and if that was not enough he made the lame to walk and the dumb to talk. This man also cast out demons and raised the dead. There were some who said that he came into the world under unique conditions. The Holy Ghost somehow made contact with his mother’s womb before she ever knew a man and that was how he was conceived and brought into the world. Those who were wise and who studied scripture and who were open to the movement of God perceived and understood that there was something different about this man. And they were right because Jesus was more than just man, he was the God man, 100% God and 100% Man and there was nothing schizophrenic about him.
On one hand he got tired but on the other hand he unlimited power. On one hand he got hungry but on the other hand he could take a lad’s lunch and feed thousands. On one hand he could speak to common people, the poor and the disadvantaged but on the other hand whenever he took a mind too he had a direct line to God his heavenly Father. On one hand he walked wherever he went but when he needed to he walked on water.
We honor him tonight. We honor him for his demonstration of power but as I just mentioned we honor him for his death. Just as nobody who ever lived, really lived like Jesus, so no one who ever died, died like Jesus. To be sure others were crucified but when you look at the record the cross got the better of all of them but such was not the case with Jesus. When Jesus went to the cross it became an instrument that led to glory and not his defeat. Therefore we reverently pause to give God praise and thanks for the death of Jesus.
Jesus was a man of prayer In fact in our time here we have done nothing but lift up the details and recall his words as he hung on the cross. I dare not take the time to recall them all but I move swiftly to his last word which was father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last (). I want to go on record tonight as stating that Jesus was a man of prayer. Just read your bible and what you will find is that Jesus prayed all of the time. Early in the morning, late in the night, before he worked a miracle, when he was tempted and even when he needed to make a decision Jesus prayed. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane before one of his own came to plant the kiss of betrayal upon his cheek Jesus prayed. Therefore it should not surprise us that even in this moment we find Jesus praying.
If I had time I would press the point that it pays to have a real prayer life. I say real prayer life because sometimes our prayer lives are hit and miss. In those moments we only pray when things are bad, or when we need or want something. Add to it that there is no real depth because we pray on the run or pray when our minds are occupied with other things. In those times is it any wonder that our prayers don’t go past the ceiling let alone get the attention of God.
I raise this issue of a real prayer life because when your prayer life is active and alive you can talk to God in some crazy situations. If you look at the text you will see that such is the case with Jesus. Here Jesus is being crucified and on his last breath and Jesus is praying to his Father. When I think of that I remember stories that I have read where with their last breath people cursed the day they were born, cursed family members and made statements that you would not think would come while on the death bed. Even here on the cross, if some of us would have been in Jesus shoes we would have said some nasty things to the crowd before we died but not Jesus, he prays to his father.
I stand here tonight to say simply this - only prayer can get you through some things. There ought to be a witness here tonight who does not mind testifying that if I had not known prayer I would not have made it. Broken home, financial crisis, wayward children, chaos in the church, lights on in the White House but no one appears to be home, despair and depression tag teaming me in an attempt to drive me crazy but I made it because I knew prayer. In an ever increasing dark time in our communities when people are losing their lives due to violence the same can be said. I refer to violence committed by gang bangers and the senseless violence committed by police. The only way to live with it and through it is to pray. But don't just pray and expect God to do it all. Pray for the strength to march and pray for the wisdom to move persons who make the laws to listen. And Pray and work for justice for those who left this earth way to soon.
He filed a report One of the things that captures our attention with this passage is that the word commit is key. As used by Jesus it suggests that a report is being filed and the report says that his task is complete. If you read his life's story it is clear that Jesus had challenges, but nothing that happened to him could move him away from his mission. The release of his spirit from his beaten and mangled body was proof that his mission was accomplished.
I don't have to tell you what his mission was. You would not be here tonight if you didn't know that Jesus mission was to save us. I read somewhere that the words of Jesus act as a claim on his property and the property referred to is us. I say that because the bible tells us that he has purchased us with His blood. I agree that it does not sound attractive but it is a truth that the church should never walk away from. In my church we sing a song that says what can wash away my sins? and the answer is nothing but the blood of Jesus. The question is asked another way, what can make me whole again but the answer is the same. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Brothers and sisters his death changes our situation because by his death Jesus put us into the Father's hands. Who can forget what Jesus said in . And I gave them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them from out of my hand. My father, which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my father's hand. This happens all because Jesus finished the race that was set before him.
Some things you can only give to God Yes, Jesus knew the power of prayer and that is why we see him praying even now. It might surprise you to know that Jesus is not offering up an original prayer. No, this prayer comes from . You bible scholars know that the Psalms where Israel’s hymn and prayer book. So Jesus is on good ground when he reaches back into his training and pulls up a word that is appropriate for his time of need.
Often on the cross a man would go delirious and lose all of his mental capacities and the ability to speak, but not so with Jesus. To the end Jesus knew what he was doing and he was in control. To demonstrate that just look at and what you find is that this verse is a prayer that mother’s often taught their children at bedtime. How appropriate that before he closes his eyes on this side of the Jordan that Jesus lifts up a prayer that says to God I am ready to give myself to you.
I wanted to know what the word commend/committ really meant and I found out that THE WORD MEANS... to commit; to entrust; and to deposit. If we were to try and develop an image it would be to entrust into the hands of a trusted banker or friend. And that is what Jesus is about to do, he is giving his life to God and Jesus can do that because he knows God is trustworthy.
If I had time I would press the point that there are some things you can only give to God. Jesus knew that he could not trust men with his life. On one occasion John the Gospel writer had this to say “but Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men (). Jesus knew that all men have flaws and failures. Jesus knew that all men have weaknesses and cravings. Jesus knew that when it counted the most it would be the men would leave and forsake him.
I don’t mean to disturb anyone or mess up any one's pre-resurrection celebration but I need to ask whose hands are you in? I ask that question because every now and then we need to do some self evaluation and honest reflection. If we don't life will. Life has a way or revealing whose hands we are really in. Have you ever wondered why trials, test and tribulations come? The answer is in the word. Peter was writing to the believers scattered across Asia Minor about trials and his comment was the purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is ( GW).
I take no joy in saying this but sometimes it takes a little trouble to help us understand that we are not as grounded in our faith as we believe and say we are. I saw that with the past election. Everywhere I went people were disturbed and on edge. Some even asked out loud what are we going to do now that there is someone in the white house who does not appear to be on our side? What are we going to do as persons plan to turn the clock back and erase all progress made by poor people and people of color. My answer was simple, we will do what we have always done and that is we won't put our trust in human strength, or political favor. We will do the opposite, (which is what we have always done) and that is we will put our trust in God.
God held Jesus life in trust. Jesus is on the cross and the text says that when he was ready to give up his life he gave it to God and not to man. When Jesus made that move he did it in complete confidence. Jesus had no fears or doubts about God and so he could lay down his life. I need to make one thing clear and that is Jesus laid down his life, no one took it from him. Herod, Pilate, the high priests and the mob they were just actors on a stage and necessary instruments but they didn’t take Jesus life. I hear Jesus saying that if my kingdom were of this world I could call a legion of angels and they would fight for me.
Instead of fighting Jesus choose not to say a mumbling word. That is why after he prayed Jesus died. Jesus did not faint. Jesus did not pass out. Jesus did not swoon. Jesus died! Jesus was ahead of his time when he laid his life into God's hands and faced death. And if you want to know why he did it, it is because he knew God was faithful.
The Apostle Peter helps me with that thought. It was after Jesus had died that Peter was addressing believers who were experiencing trouble and hardship just because they were committed to God. In order to pump up their faith Peter wrote: therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator (4:19). Well Jesus knew God as creator, he knew because he was there when nothing else was. In fact when God said let us make man, God was not having a conversation with himself he was talking to Jesus. And because he was there Jesus knew that God was and is a faithful creator.
That word faithful means reliable and trustworthy and unfailing. As Creator Jesus knew that the father would be "faithful" to the design which he had in view. And Jesus knew that God would never depart from that design until it was fully accomplished. If you did not know it let me be the first to tell you God is faithful. He abandons no purpose which he has conceived. He cancels no plan which he has set in motion. He leaves no work undone that he has started. So, the reason I say Jesus was ahead of his time is because when there was a discussion regarding the cleansing of the temple and his authority Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up ." The Jews thought he was speaking of the temple itself but He was speaking of the temple of His body (NKJV).
Because he knew the plan Jesus could lay down his life and know that death would not have the last word. As my sanctified imagination works with me I can almost hear Jesus say Go ahead drive the nails in my hands - laugh at me where you stand. Go ahead - say it isn’t me the day will come when you will see. Cause I’ll rise again, ain’t no power on earth can tie me down. Yes I’ll rise again. Death can’t keep me in the ground.
Cncl: Give Him Glory. Jesus died a common death in an unusual way. Jesus died giving his soul to God. Is it any wonder that when the centurion saw him die that the bible states that he praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man ()." I had a professor once who told the class that the centurion was just talking without knowing what he was saying. I don't know if that was indeed the case for him but I know what I am talking about. I believe that Jesus is worthy of praise because he humbled himself and took on our sin debt as a result he died in our stead. And because of that I know he is worthy of all glory.
Preached At Good Friday Park Ave
Note To Self This is not candy. It is hope. In Revelation it is the lamb who brings down the empire.