By Apostle Arsenio T. Ferriol
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit”
Jesus spoke seven times at the cross. First, He spoke to God in behalf of others “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. Second, He spoke to the thief and promised heaven to him, “This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise”. Third, He spoke to John provided for His mother “behold Thy mother”. Fourth, He spoke and cried to God, ”My God, My God, why Thou hast forsaken Me”. The fifth saying was, He spoke to the spectators, “I thirst”. Sixth, He spoke to heaven, earth and hell, “It is finished”. Seventh, He spoke again to God, “Father into Thy hands I commend My Spirit”.
Jesus first saying was a prayer to God for others while His seventh saying was a plea to the Father for Himself to receive His Spirit.
The communion of the Son of God with His Father was never broken even at the cross at calvary. In the last He prayed to God, calling Him Father as in the first saying.
As we are now God’s children, God wants us to call Him our Father. The Bible says in Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” This was also what Christ has taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” So Christ taught His followers to call God our Father. When the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father in our hearts we cry Abba, Father and these were the words of Paul. How about Peter? He also taught and expressed how the early believers called God. In 1 Peter 1:17, He says, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” This is how we should call God. In James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” He is the Father. We just wonder how the ministers today who teach that we must call God by name like Jehovah or with other names. Although it is written in the Bible yet the Holy Spirit did not teach us to call God – for example El Elion or Adonai. The Holy Spirit tells us to cry to God as our Father. This is a great difference. We must call God on how we are taught how to call Him, Mathew 6:9, “Our Father which art in heaven”. We cannot find in the New Testament Bible that Christ taught the early believers to call God by other names except by such.
Jesus calling God as His Father means He has a close relation with Him. To have the same form, the same nature and work like that of the Father is a manifestation of a close relation. But the greatest of all relation is the relationship of a father and son and Christ has that greatest relation of all that God is His Father.
When we accepted Christ in a way God wanted us to accept His Son, we receive a promise written in John1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. So we become children of God because we accepted our Lord Jesus Christ. But the difference between Christ as the son of God and we who accepted Christ and given the right to become His sons is that we are just adopted as children. It means that we are not really begotten like Christ out of the Father’s bossom because Christ came from the bossom of God, John 1:18. He is the only one who came from the bossom of God because He is the only begotten Son of God. Our right as children is just because of adoption. It is a judicial law that though we are not sons but since we are adopted we become sons. There is a big difference between Christ and ourselves as children of God. First of all, He is Son of God from the beginning even before the creation. Christ was already with the Father, John 1:1. He is with the Father because He is the Son, the only Son. And when He was begotten all things were made by Him and through Him and for Him. And if ever we became children of God and given the same inheritance with Christ, co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), is because of Judicial Rights. We are not original sons of God, Christ is the original One. He has the form of God. In Hebrews 1:3 says, He is the exact image of the unseen God. Exact! No less! Nothing more but exact. That is the greatest difference between Christ and us – by adoption thus we are heirs of God through Christ, Romans 8:17.
The seventh saying of Christ means His sojourn on earth is already finished. He was then in His last chapter of His mission on earth, in the form of human in flesh and blood. God prepared and gave a body (Hebrews 10:5) in order to redeem us from the condemnation of sin and curse and from everything that has destroyed men in their humanity. Christ came to do His work on earth as declared in Hebrews 10:5, that He came to do the will of God and now after doing His mission He has finished His work, John 17:4-5, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was”. The life of Christ on earth was ended. He returned to the Glory of His Father, the Glory that was confirmed before the foundation of the earth where God and the Son exist. The Father created all things and the Son was His instrument, in John 1:3 says, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”.
The life of Christ on earth had a purpose. He was destined by God to do His work on earth as He always assert in Luke 2:49, “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” This is the purpose of His coming down on earth. He was given a human body in flesh and blood, to do His Father’s business to die for the sins of the world. So Christ before He came down on earth to be born of a woman where His name was called Jesus. He was once in heaven with the Father, having the same form, the nature and glory.
What greatness has He received from the Father?
The greatness of the glory of the Father was rendered to the Son, this is what it says in John 5:23, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him”. God had given all the honor that is due to Him, it must be rendered to His Son. The greatness of the Son is the acceptance of Christ in the true form of the Father or in His nature as equal to the Father who co-exist from the beginning. But if they will say that Christ was great because He was an instrument in God’s creation, and if they assert that He is great because God has given Him name above all names but still honored only as human, then the honor they give Him is still not appropriate.
Remember, He had the nature of God before He was born of a woman. The glory of God was upon Him. Not only like angels but above all the Father conferred to Him in Hebrews 1:8, “But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom”. How did the Father address His Son? “Thy throne, O God”, God addressed His Son as God because that is what He is, the Son of God. He cannot be the Son of man unless He was born on earth by a woman, so then He was called the Son of man. But before His birth to be a man, He was called the Son of God. He had no nature of man before his birth by a woman but that of the nature and form of the Father.
And so this is Christ, He humbled Himself when He was found in the form of man. He became obedient unto death, Philippians 2:6-10,
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth”
In the same way, we are the children of God. And as we are children of God, we must be like Him. We must deny ourselves, we must be ready to bear the cross of sufferings. This is kind of life, a Christian life must be a life as true followers of Christ. We can say at the last chapter of our lives when we will leave our earthly bodies to return to dust to wait for the first resurrection. We have this confidence that we will return to God in perfect peace and in honor. Because our sojourn on earth will be now completed but not only the length of life but above all the purpose of life that we were born to glorify God in doing his work as Christ did, to do His will as Christ was born to do the will of God. We were born to do will of God until we die. And in that day, when we shall leave our earthly bodies we can say like Christ, “Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit”.
Christ has full confidence because He has completed the work of God, John 17:4-5. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was”. He is a faithful Son and a faithful servant. How about us? Did we serve God the way we should, like Christ? Or we call ourselves servant-ministers and we serve God in our own way. Do we believe that what we are doing is the will of God? We work to earn a living for six days and on Sunday we preach. Little prayer meetings, mid-weeks, little evangelisms, once in a blue-moon as the saying goes… We see the cults so zealous and say the devil is busy. How about the so-called true ministers of God? How are we now? Are we contented of our little service and our small properties and a little money. Do you think God could not do better if we offer everything to Him? It is my prayer that at the end of our limited sojourn on earth we can say… “Father unto They hands I commit my spirit”, because we have finished the work of God.