Friday, December 11, 2009
Death As Victory
I have enjoyed traveling the year with J.R. Miller. His daily devotional "Come Ye Apart" goes through the entire Gospel account of Jesus. We are coming now to His passion and resurrection...
“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
This was the seventh and last of the words spoken on the cross. Christ’s work as Redeemer was now altogether done; His last word, “finished,” marked its completion. Now He is ready to go back to His Father. Before Him now lies the mystery of death. He is about to lose consciousness; is spirit is about to escape from His body. Here we see His calm, trustful faith. The terrible struggle is over, and He is at perfect peace. The word “Father” which He here uses shows that His soul has recovered its serenity. A little while ago he was in the darkness, and felt Himself forsaken; now the darkness is gone and the full light shines again, and the Father’s face beams upon Him in loving approval. It is the first experience of the glorious joy of redemption, breaking over the Redeemer’s soul, as He emerges from the shadows of His cross.
The words are peculiarly instructive to us as a picture of Christian dying. It is but a breathing of the spirit into the hands of the heavenly Father. It is natural to regard death as a strange and mysterious experience, and to think of it with shrinking, if not with fear. We are leaving behind everything with which we are familiar — the friends, the scenes, the paths, the life — and are going out into an untried way, into what seems to us darkness, a valley of shadows. What is death? Where shall we be when we escape from the body? Will it be dark or light? Shall we be alone or accompanied?
Here comes this word of our Lord, and we learn that the believing soul when it leaves the body passes at once into the Father’s hands. Surely that is enough for us to know. We shall be perfectly safe eternally if we are in our Father’s hands. If we think thus of death it will have no terrors for us. No child is ever afraid to go into its father’s hands, and that is all of dying for a believer.