Jesus hung there crucified by the Romans but transfixed on His faithful Father. Jesus the Messiah was now reaching what would be the end of His earthly life. We watch the scene unfold—not as one of those on the hill that day, but as one reading their favorite book again. We know the end of the book but are still captivated by the story every time we read it.
Jesus, hanging there—or hanged there, more accurately—was going to speak. He was going to say something. Of all the things He could say, what would it be? Rehearsed or not, these would be His dying words. Here was no new teaching. He didn’t quote the darkness of Psalm 88 or the imprecations of Psalm 35. He quoted Psalm 31:5, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” On the cross, with death gloating over Him as much as the Roman soldiers and pretentious Jewish leaders, Jesus quoted a psalm of confident deliverance. Why?
First, Jesus confidently died on the throne. Jesus was the king who had come, and He exercised kingly authority everywhere He went. Demons cowered, disease fled, darkness was wrestled into the light. Even in His death, Jesus retained His authority.
It is difficult to think of a more demeaning and disempowering death than crucifixion. But there, crucified, Jesus asserted what He would and wouldn’t do (John 10:17–18). This was no cosmic child abuse. The Father’s wrath being poured out on the Son accorded with Jesus’ will and the Father’s will to save God’s people. And when the time came for it to be “finished,” the Son confidently acted in redemption, committing His spirit to His heavenly Father.
Second, Jesus confidently trusted His heavenly Father. He experienced the full condemnation for sin in its horrific complexity. There was the physical pain of a long, torturous death. There was the felt deprivation of His Father’s presence (Matt. 27:46). There was the absence of His earthly companions. Jesus suffered all the punishment for sin, draining the cup of wrath to its dregs. And in that, He was still confident in His heavenly Father’s love.
In fact, it was at that moment that Jesus altered Psalm 31:5. Where David called out to his “Lord, faithful God,” Jesus called out to His “Father.” The confidence of the Son in the paternal love of the Father couldn’t be extinguished in the torrent of maximum divine judgment.
Christian, don’t we tremble at even a glimpse of our sin? How easily and how often can our confidence in God’s love shift and change?
Jesus quoted Psalm 31:5. It is a gift to us from our Savior. If He could quote Psalm 31:5 while atoning for all our sins, how much more of a right do we have to quote it as delighted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father? Today, go boldly into that throne room through the atonement and confidence of your Savior, Jesus the Christ, in whom we have God as our Father.