A Word Of Trust


"Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."
(Luke 23:46)

Matthew and Mark each emphasized how Jesus's final words were expressed loudly the moment before He died,

"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit."
(Matthew 27:50)

"And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last."
(Mark 15:37)

But only Luke recorded what Jesus actually cried out before He yielded His spirit,

"And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice said, 'Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last."
(Luke 23:46)

At first glance, these words may seem like a cry of defeat in the face of cruel death, but upon further consideration we see that it is the opposite of being vanquished. Christ's last words are His embrace of the sweet fruits of victory. Jesus's final words contain layers of significance which are richly rooted in the faith and hope of redemption from the Old Testament. They are also the first realization of that precious hope which began when Jesus declared just a moment before: "It is finished" (John 19:6).

Luke details what happened after Jesus cried out: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46a), when he wrote, "Having said this, He breathed His last" (Luke 23:46b).

Jesus was not killed. He chose the moment in which He laid down His life (John 10:18). Jesus's final statement was a dismissal of His spirit. John wrote that Jesus "bowed His head and gave up His spirit" (John 19:30b). Note that Jesus bowed His head before He gave up His spirit. Typically, a person's head falls after or as a result of death. But Jesus bowed His head first. Then He dismissed His spirit.

Jesus's final statement expresses two central themes of the Bible and its good news for humanity; and it portrays one enduring image of its gospel message.


But before we can fully consider these things, we must first recognize how Psalm 31 serves as a framework to our Lord's final words.


One of the first things to recognize about Jesus's last remark is its unmistakable connection to Psalm 31:5. Psalm 31 was composed by David. In Psalm 31:5, David entrusted himself completely to the LORD, telling Him:

"Into Your hand I commit my spirit."
(Psalm 31:5a)

First century Jews would have instantly associated Jesus's final words with Psalm 31. When Jesus said: "Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46), He was more than echoing Psalm 31:5a. He was alluding to all of Psalm 31 even as He was making David's faith-filled petition His own.

His final statement from the cross was a self-personalization of David's expression of faith. Christ's words are so poignant and fitting, that it almost seems as though Jesus was not so much referencing Psalm 31 as He was uttering the words David scripted one-thousand years prior for the specific purpose for the Messiah to express His faith as He gave up His spirit.

Psalm 31 is a song of praise and trust in God in a time of tremendous grief and distress. The grievous and unjust circumstances it describes are prophetically similar to the grievous and unjust circumstances leading up to Jesus the Messiah's crucifixion.

Consider the following parallels of how the Bible describes their difficulties:

  • David was "in distress" and his "eye is wasted away from grief" (Psalm 31:9)
  • Upon entering Gethsemane, Jesus "began to be grieved and distressed…to the point of death" (Matthew 26:36-37)
  • David became "a reproach, especially to [his] neighbors, and an object of dread to [his] acquaintances; Those who see him…flee from [him]" (Psalm 31:11).
  • Jesus became a reproach to His followers. All His disciples abandoned Him (Matthew 26:56b, Mark 14:50). One of his closest disciples, Peter, denied Him with oaths and curses (Matthew 26:69-75).
  • David's adversaries "took counsel together against [him, and] schemed to take away [his] life" (Psalm 31:13b).
  • Jesus's adversaries condemned Him to death by an elaborate conspiracy (Matthew 26:3-4, John 11:47-53).
  • "Many" of David's adversaries hurled "slanders" against him for the purpose of killing him (Psalm 31:13a).
  • "The whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death…many false witnesses came forward" (Matthew 26:59-60).
  • David says his "strength has failed" and his "body has wasted away because of iniquity" (Psalm 31:10).
  • Jesus did not have the strength to physically carry His cross because His body was brutalized as He bore the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:5, 53:10, Matthew 27:31-32).
  • David compared himself to "a broken vessel" (Psalm 31:12).
  • Jesus "took some bread [and] broke it" and compared it His body that would soon be broken on the cross (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22—see also: Luke 22:19).

But as similar as their terrible circumstances were, it is David and Christ's remarkable faith in God that most strongly unites them in Psalm 31.

  • David told the LORD: "Into Your hand I commit my spirit" (Psalm 31:5a).
  • Jesus prayed: "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

Jesus's words not only mirror David's petition, but they are also rooted in the entire tapestry of Psalm 31, where trust, surrender, and the unwavering confidence in God's faithfulness intertwine with the Savior's final breath. Christ's declaration of faith underscores the seamless continuity between the Old and New Testaments.

Psalm 31, with David's absolute faith in the LORD even unto his own death and beyond, serves as a veritable backdrop to Christ on the cross and offers a glimpse into the heart of the One who declared, "Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit."

Consider a few of David's expressions of trust from Psalm 31—expressions that could equally apply to Jesus and His faith in the LORD as He endured illegal trials, cruel abuse, and humiliating agony on His way to and from the cross.

  • The resonance begins with the opening verses of Psalm 31, establishing the tone of trust and reliance on God.

"In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed; in Your righteousness deliver me."
(Psalm 31:1)

The theme of seeking refuge in God's righteousness sets the stage for the broader narrative of trust that unfolds throughout the psalm. The psalmist further unfolds the narrative of trust by acknowledging God's steadfast love. Jesus took refuge in the LORD and was vindicated by the LORD when He was resurrected from the dead (Romans 1:4) and His name will never be put to shame as the LORD will exalt Him above every name (Philippians 2:8-11).

  • "I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul." (Psalm 31:7)

The psalmist's celebration of God's lovingkindness amidst affliction foreshadows the redemptive narrative embedded in Jesus's surrender on the cross. By committing His spirit to the Father, Jesus embraces the ultimate expression of God's steadfast love, culminating in the redemption of humanity (Matthew 20:28, John 3:16, 10:11, 15:13).

  • "Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your lovingkindness." (Psalm 31:16)

David was the LORD's anointed servant. He asks for God's blessing and redemption from his enemies. As the Messiah, Jesus is the LORD's Servant. Jesus's Father's face shined on Him at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17), on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and shortly before He went to the cross (John 12:28). Now on the cross, Jesus was calling upon His Father to save His spirit (Luke 23:46).

  • As the psalm progresses, the imagery of refuge, trust, and deliverance intensifies. "Blessed be the LORD, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city." (Psalm 31:21)

In this declaration of praise, there is a foreshadowing of the ultimate besieged city—Jerusalem, where Jesus, the embodiment of God's marvelous lovingkindness, faced the onslaught of sin and death on the cross (Matthew 20:18-19, John 12:32, Philippians 2:8-9, Hebrews 13:12-14).

  • And finally, there is profound connection between Jesus's words and the last line of Psalm 31, which culminates in the triumphant note of victory over adversity for those who trust God.

"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD."
(Psalm 31:24)

  • This message of hope, resilience, and courage serves as a timeless anthem for all who place their trust in God. Jesus, in His act of surrender and victory over death, becomes the embodiment of this faith and hope, fulfilling the promises embedded in Psalm 31 (Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 12:2).

In conclusion, the connection between Jesus's statement on the cross and Psalm 31 weaves a narrative of trust, surrender, and victory.

Through deliberate echoes of the psalmist's words, Jesus not only aligns Himself with the human experience of seeking refuge in God, but also reveals the profound continuity of divine trust in the face of the ultimate trial. As believers who reflect on the crucifixion narrative, we find in Psalm 31 a timeless invitation to entrust our spirits into the faithful hands of the Lord, drawing courage and hope from the enduring truths of God's steadfast love and redemption.



"Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit."
(Luke 23:46)

Jesus's final words from the cross epitomized His absolute trust and dependence upon His heavenly Father which so thoroughly marked His life.

The expression "into Your hands" is a term of submission or surrender that means to give over control. This phrase is often used throughout the Old Testament to signify an army's total defeat (Genesis 14:20, Exodus 23:31, Deuteronomy 2:24, Joshua 6:2, 1 Samuel 23:4, etc.).

The act of committing one's spirit into God's hands symbolizes the surrender of total control, acknowledging God as the ultimate keeper and redeemer.

In this life we have a strong desire to control everything. And we often succumb to the temptation to believe that we control far more than we actually do. In reality, there are only three things that we can control. These three things are:

  1. Who We Trust.
  2. Our Perspective/Attitude.
  3. Our Actions.

At the climactic moment of the cross, Jesus was humbly embracing reality that God holds all things in His hands. His final act emphasized the profound trust that characterized His relationship with the Father. And His last statement encapsulated His submission to His Father's will, and offers a glimpse into the spiritual surrender that marked the culmination of His earthly mission.

When He was on the earth, Jesus only did and taught what His Father gave Him to do or say:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner."
(John 5:19)

"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
(John 5:30)

"When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."
(John 8:28)

"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."
(John 12:49)

Jesus taught that "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3b).

Instead of acting independent of God and/or primarily upon His appetites (Matthew 4:2-4), or desires (Matthew 4:8-10, 16:21-23), or feelings (Matthew 26:38, John 12:27-28a), Jesus humbled Himself, trusted God for His daily needs (Matthew 6:11, 6:25-32, 6:34), and sought to accomplish His Father's righteous will (Matthew 26:33).

Until Jesus's final statement from the cross, perhaps nowhere was Christ's faith and commitment more clearly expressed than during His agony in Gethsemane when Jesus asked His Father if there was any other way for Him to please God besides the torture and shame of the cross—Jesus assured His Father: "yet not My will [desire], but Yours [intent] be done" (Luke 22:42).

Jesus lived with a focused perspective to accomplish the work His Father sent Him to do. He succeeded in this goal. His sixth statement on the cross: "It is finished!" (John 19:30) testifies to His success.

As in His life, so with His death. Given how Jesus unfailingly lived with an absolute dependence and faith in God with every detail of His life, it was entirely consistent for Him to entrust His spirit to God with His final breath.

The last statement of Jesus encapsulated His submission to His Father's will and offers a glimpse into the spiritual surrender that marked the culmination of His earthly mission.

By committing His spirit into His Father's hands, Jesus demonstrated His faith that God would raise Him from the dead.

Jesus was God made human (John 1:14, Philippians 2:7, Hebrews 2:9, 14, 17). As a human, Jesus had a human body, a human spirit, and a human soul.

Sometimes when the Bible describes a human spirit or soul it describes them as being distinct from one another (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12). Other times it lumps them together as a way to distinguish man's physical body from his immaterial parts (1 Corinthians 15:44).

It seems to be the second case with Jesus's final words. He appears to be lumping together His immaterial spirit and soul as distinct from His physical body when He commits His spirit into His Father's hands. By "My spirit," Jesus is referring to His non-physical (i.e. His spiritual) existence.

When humans physically die, their immaterial spirit and soul are separated from their physical body. Their spirit/soul no longer inhabits or animates their body or interacts with the physical world through their body. "Death" is the term we use to describe this separation.

The Bible teaches that when a person dies, their spirit/soul goes to Sheol or Hades—the holding place of the dead—where we await final judgement. According to Jesus's "Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus," Hades seems to have separate compartments for the wicked and the faithful (Luke 16:19-26). The good compartment is called "Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:22) and was likely what Jesus was referring to when He told the penitent criminal, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). The bad compartment may be similar to or the same place called "Tartarus"—"the pit of darkness" into which God cast the sinful angels (2 Peter 2:4). "Tartarus" is the transliteration of the Greek word Peter used to describe "hell" in 2 Peter 2:4.

To learn more about these matters, see The Bible Says article: "What is Hell? Hades and Tartarus in the Bible."

Despite being shamefully executed (illegally and fraudulently) for the crime of blasphemy (Matthew 26:63-66, Luke 22:66-71), Jesus was innocent and righteous. As He died, He committed His life and cause, and therefore His spirit, to God's judgment.

"Incline Your ear to me…Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness."
(Psalm 31:2a, 16)

But more than this Jesus, when Jesus committed His spirit into His Father's hands, He was anticipating His resurrection.

Even before He went to the cross, Jesus knew He would be physically resurrected from the dead:

"For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
(Matthew 12:40)

"From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."
(Matthew 16:21)

"Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'"
(John 2:19)

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.'"
(John 11:25-26)

Jesus believed God would return His spirit to His physical body when He raised Him from the dead. Earlier in His ministry, Jesus explained that the reason He would lay down His life was "for the life of [His] sheep" (John 10:13), and that He lays down His life and dismisses His spirit "so that I may take it again" (John 10:17).

Moreover, David's expression in Psalm 31:5, which Jesus's final words reference, seems to anticipate the possibility of resurrection. The full verse of Psalm 31:5 reads:

"Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth."
(Psalm 31:5)

The Hebrew word translated as "You have ransomed me" is a form of פָּדָה (H6299—pronounced: "paw-daw"). Interestingly, "pawdaw" is often used to describe resurrection or a rescue/return to life from death.

"But God will redeem ["pawdaw"] my soul from the power of Sheol [death],
For He will receive me. Selah."
(Psalm 49:15)

"And the ransomed ["pawdaw"] of the LORD will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away."
(Isaiah 35:10)

"Shall I ransom ["pawdaw"] them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O Death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion will be hidden from My sight."
(Hosea 13:14)

God did not use physical resurrection to save David from his political enemies. God delivered him from their hands before they could put him to death, and David eventually died an old man at the end of a long reign (1 Kings 2:10-11). But God used the second David's (Jesus's) physical resurrection to ransom the entire world from the adversaries of sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-22, 51-57).

By personalizing the first half of Psalm 31:5 with His breath ("Into your hand I commit my spirit), Jesus knew that the second half of the verse "You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth" would be fulfilled as He would both be "ransomed [resurrected]" by "the God of truth," and that His death would pay the ransom (Matthew 20:28) which would resurrect all who believe in Him (John 11:25-26).


"Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit."
(Luke 23:46)

Jesus's final prayer re-establishes the intimate connection between God the Father and God the Son.

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus consistently referred to God as His Father, emphasizing the unique bond they shared. This relational aspect permeates His final moment, underscoring the trust and intimacy present at the moment the Son of God died on a cross.

Jesus used the familial invocation of "Father" when He addressed God with His final breath. The significance of this invocation is both great and easy to overlook. It is easy to overlook because Jesus often referred to or addressed God as His Father.

Why should this final instance be any more special or important than other occasions, including Jesus's first statement on the cross: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34)?

It is significant because of what had just happened before it, namely the three hours of terrible darkness (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33) and Jesus's cry of anguish "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:36). This was Jesus's fourth statement from the cross. Jesus said this as He became the sin of the world (Isaiah 53:4-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21) and suffered the wrath of God as our Passover lamb (Isaiah 53:7, 10a, Romans 5:8-9, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus's fourth saying was uttered "at/about the ninth hour" (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33), the same time that the lamb was sacrificed in the temple.

It was during that terrible darkness and/or Jesus's cry of anguish that the divine fellowship between Father and Son was broken.

When God the Father forsook His Son, we can infer that it was the first time in eternity when the Godhead was separated. The broken fellowship—the divine forsaking—this unfathomable separation is perhaps best described as Jesus's spiritual death. (Death means separation.)

Jesus's cry of anguish was an effort to express the profundity of this separation in human language. In His anguish of separation, Jesus did not cry out to "My Father." He cried out: "My God, My God" (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:36).

But now with His final breath, Jesus calls out to His "Father" once again. This demonstrates that Jesus's intimate relationship between Himself as God the Son to God His Father had been restored. In other words, Jesus was no longer forsaken by God; sin's debt was paid. The divine fellowship was no longer broken, the sins of the world were redeemed (2 Corinthians 5:21). The separation and spiritual death signified by the darkness were no longer in effect. This means that Jesus was reunited with His Father and was spiritually resurrected while He was still physically alive on the cross.

Jesus spiritually died and was spiritually resurrected before He physically died and was physically resurrected.

Jesus's spiritual resurrection on the cross adds a third resurrection-meaning to the phrase "you have ransomed me" in Psalm 31:5, which was the scripture that Jesus's last statement quoted,

"Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth."
(Psalm 31:5)

As previously explained, the Hebrew word translated as "you have ransomed me" in Psalm 31:5 is "pawdaw." "Pawdaw" is often used to mean "resurrect." As the phrase "You have ransomed/resurrected me" is applied to Jesus we explained how it prophetically alluded to:

  • Jesus's physical resurrection which will take place three days later. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
  • The fact that Jesus's death is the ransom price to redeem creation, making resurrection to everlasting life possible. (John 3:16, 1 John 2:2).

But in light of Jesus's restoration to His Father, we now see that the third prophetic allusion of "pawdaw" and its translation: "You have ransomed/resurrected me" in Psalm 31:5 pertains to Jesus's spiritual resurrection. It alludes to His resurrection from the spiritual death and separation He experienced on the cross during the three hours of darkness.

The Father's restoration of His Son after He became the sin of the world reveals God's everlasting mercy.

The Father relented in His terrible wrath. As terrible as those three hours of darkness were, they did not last forever. God's forsaking was not forever.

As Jeremiah reminds himself in Lamentations, the Lord's mercies are new every morning,

"The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness."
(Lamentations 3:10-11)

And again:

"For the LORD will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion."
(Lamentations 3:31-32)

After three hours, the Father's mercy came to His Son. Their divine intimacy was restored, as evidenced by Jesus's final prayer "Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

And through the sacrifice of His Son, God's everlasting mercies became abundantly available to the world.

Isaiah predicted these things in his fourth Servant Song.

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him."
(Isaiah 53:5-6)

In God's wrath, "the LORD was pleased to crush" (Isaiah 53:10) Jesus as He bore our transgressions and iniquity. But as "a result of the anguish of His soul, [the LORD] will see it and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11a). In light of Jesus's suffering and righteousness, He "will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11b).

Referencing Isaiah 53, Peter explained how God used Jesus's sacrifice to give us mercy:

"And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
(1 Peter 2:24)

In Romans, Paul explains how we can receive this incredible gift of divine mercy and become righteous on account of Jesus's sacrifice even though we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glorious standard (Romans 3:23).

We are "justified [harmoniously realigned with God] as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). "God displayed [Jesus] publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith" (Romans 3:25a). Thus, Jesus "would be [both] just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

All we must do to receive God's gift of mercy and grace—the Gift of Eternal Life—is to trust Jesus. That is, we believe, that Jesus is God and trust that His sacrifice on our behalf will save us (John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). When we do this, we essentially do with Jesus what Jesus did with His Father—we commit our spirit into His hands (Psalm 31:5, Luke 23:46).

To learn more about the Gift of Eternal Life, see The Bible Says article, "What is Eternal Life? How to Gain the Gift of Eternal Life."  

In addition to being an expression of faith and evidence of divine mercy, Jesus's final petition is also a good example to follow.


"Father, into Your hands, I commit my spirit."
(Luke 23:46)

When Christ hung on the cross, surrounded by agony and scorn, He not only identified with the suffering of human experience, He also fulfilled man's purpose of completely trusting God, even in the face of His excruciating trial. Thus, the cross, an instrument of suffering and shame, became the stage for Jesus's ultimate act of surrender. His willingness to submit to the Father's will, even unto death, was the epitome of obedience and love. In so doing, Jesus became the perfect example of faith and love for us to emulate as we encounter our own trials and tribulations.

Christ's final act of committing His spirit to God resonates with the themes of sacrificial love and submissive trust that pervade His teachings.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorted His followers to a new and better way to love. He taught them to be merciful (Matthew 5:7); quick to reconcile (Matthew 5:23-26); honest (Matthew 5:34-37); forgiving (Matthew 5:39-41, 6:12, 14-15); and non-judgmental toward others (Matthew 7:1-5). He commanded them to love everyone from the heart, including their enemies (Matthew 5:43-44). He said if they did not do these things and love like He taught them to love, then they would be indistinguishable from the world, and they would not be capable of receiving God's blessings and reward for loving like Jesus (Matthew 5:46-47).

The Gospel of John emphasizes this love, portraying Jesus as willingly laying down His life for the redemption of humanity (John 10:11-15). John shares that one of the final lessons Jesus taught His disciples was to "keep My commandments [teachings]" (John 15:10). Then Jesus summarized His teachings for them: "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you" (John 15:12). Christ defined the great love He was calling them to have: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Jesus gave His disciples this greatest love less than twenty-four hours later when "He bowed His head and gave up His spirit" (John 19:30b) into His Father's hands.

John was eyewitness to these events (John 19:26-27). It was clearly with the image of Jesus's powerful example of sacrificial love in mind (1 John 1:1), that decades later, as an old man, John wrote: "In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us, we also out to love one another" (1 John 4:10-11).

And as Jesus taught His disciples to sacrificially love one another, He also taught them to surrender to God's will and trust Him completely.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorted His disciples to place their total trust in God and His kingdom. Jesus taught them to consider themselves blessed ("Makarios") whenever others persecuted them for submitting their lives to God (Matthew 5:10-12). Time and again He explained how it was better for them to trust God and seek His rewards over the approval of men (Matthew 6:1-4, 6:5-6, 6:16-18, 7:13-14, 7:21, 7:24-27). He instructed them to find their security, treasure, and heart in His kingdom instead of the world's (Matthew 6:19-21, 33). Jesus encouraged His followers not to worry about their lives, reminding them of God's care for even the smallest details (Matthew 6:25-32, 34).

The theme of submissive faith and surrender to God's will is at the heart of Jesus's teaching, which is most often repeated in the four Gospels:

"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."
(Luke 9:23-24—See also Matthew 10:38-39, 16:24-25, Mark 8:34-35, Luke 14:27, John 12:25-26)

At the cross, this trust is elevated to its pinnacle as Jesus, facing the profound darkness of the crucifixion, entrusts His very existence to the hands of the Father.

Jesus followed through on His teaching. He had faith to take up His cross and He surrendered His life according to His Father's will. Jesus is the supreme example of what it means to surrender our will and to trust God in all things—no matter what.

Drawing from the example of Jesus, Paul exhorted the Philippians to "have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

The author of Hebrews did the same, exhorting his readers to: "Run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:1b-2). He told them to: "Consider [Jesus] who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3).

Peter presented Christ's obedient faith in suffering as "an example for you to follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

In Revelation, Jesus exhorts the church in Laodicea to humbly submit themselves to God and have faith to overcome their trials "as I also overcame" (Revelation 3:21).

Jesus not only redeemed the world when He surrendered His spirit into His Father's hands, He was also greatly rewarded for His incredible faith and sacrifice of love.

After He had entrusted His spirit into His Father's hands and was resurrected from the dead, Jesus told His disciples that: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18).

When Christ reappeared to John on the island of Patmos, Jesus reassured His aged disciple: "I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades" (Revelation 1:18).

Because Jesus trusted His Father "to the point of death, even death on a cross…God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:8-9).

As the Author of our faith, Jesus, "for the joy [reward] set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" meaning that Jesus was rewarded for His faithfulness by being given authority to reign (Hebrews 12:2).

The prophet Isaiah predicted the Messiah's remarkable faith and glorious reward seven hundred years before Jesus was born as a man:

"My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death."
(Isaiah 53:11b-12a)

And three hundred years before Isaiah, David prophetically glimpsed the incredible faith and reward of Jesus when he ended Psalm 22:

"Posterity will serve Him;
It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.
They will come and will declare His righteousness
To a people who will be born, that He has performed it."
(Psalm 22:30-31)

As we follow Christ's example to trust God and sacrificially love others, we too will be greatly rewarded by God.

Jesus promised that whoever surrendered life for His sake, took up their cross by faith, and followed His example would save their life (Matthew 16:24-25). He promised that "everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29).

The Good News of Jesus includes both "the Gift of Eternal Life" and "the Prize of Eternal Life."

  • We receive the Gift of Eternal Life by simple faith in Jesus as God's Son and our Savior. (John 3:16, Romans 8:17a, Ephesians 2:8-9).


  • We inherit the Prize of Eternal Life by having faith to follow Jesus's example to sacrificially love people through the various trials we encounter (Romans 8:17b, 2 Peter 1:2-11).

To learn more about the Gift and the Prize of Eternal Life, see The Bible Says article, "Eternal Life: Receiving the Gift vs. Inheriting the Prize."

Jesus died to give us "the Gift of Eternal Life." The manner in which He lived by faith and sacrificially surrendered His spirit are an example of how to inherit the reward (or Prize) of Eternal Life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote: "while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by [following] His [example of] life" (Romans 5:10).

In His parables, Jesus described the future reward for following His example of faith and love in exponential terms (Matthew 13:23, 13:44, 13:45-46, 25:21).

Paul described the Prize of Eternal Life as glory beyond comparison to the sufferings of this present time (Romans 8:18), and as "an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" to whatever "momentary light affliction" we are experiencing (2 Corinthians 4:17).

In his various letters, Paul urged his readers to:

  • Run the race of life "in such a way that you may win [the prize]." (1 Corinthians 9:24)
  • Reap the benefits of eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)
  • "Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God." (Philippians 3:14)

And as Jesus was granted authority for trusting God to sacrificially love others, so will we be granted authority to reign with Him in His kingdom. As Paul told Timothy:

"For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."
(2 Timothy 2:11b-13)

Jesus's example, "I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46), takes on additional significance in the broader context of Christian teachings. In Romans, believers are encouraged to present their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). The surrender of one's spirit, echoing Jesus's words, becomes a paradigm for Christian discipleship, calling believers to yield their lives entirely to our Father's divine purposes. Every moment is an opportunity to surrender to His will, take up our cross, and commit our spirit to our Father's hands.

Peter encouraged his readers to "greatly rejoice" (1 Peter 1:6) at the opportunities that their sufferings presented them because it gave them an opportunity to exercise their faith, which had a purchasing power that was "more precious than gold" (1 Peter 1:7a) to grant them their imperishable and undefiled inheritance (1 Peter 1:4) that would be revealed upon Christ's return (1 Peter 1:7b).

The author of Hebrews exhorted his readers to "Consider [the example of Jesus] who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:3) and consequently squander our inheritance away like Esau did (Hebrews 12:16-17). He reminds believers how:

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
(Hebrews 12:11)

The book of Revelation has a similar message—to become an overcoming champion like Jesus so that we may inherit the full Prize of Eternal Life which God has in store for us (Revelation 3:21, 21:7)

The New Testament consistently encourages believers who have received the Gift of Eternal Life by simple faith in Jesus, which is irrevocably and eternally granted on the finished work of Christ alone, to strive to inherit the Prize of Eternal Life.  And we:

  • enter the kingdom (Matthew 7:21)
  • inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17)
  • receive our heavenly reward (1 Corinthians 3:14)
  • win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24)

by emulating Jesus's example of taking up our cross, and committing all that we are for His sake (Romans 8:17b, Revelation 3:21).

To the degree that we follow Jesus's example of faith and love, and share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13) according to the will of God, we entrust our souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1 Peter 4:19).

May we emulate Jesus's example every day of our lives and with our last breath, and say as He cried out on the cross with His final breath: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23:46).

"Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."
(Luke 23:46)

To learn more about Jesus's prophecy on His way to being crucified, see The Bible Says article: "On the Way to the Cross: Jesus's Prophetic Warning."

Select Language
AaSelect font sizeDark ModeSet to dark mode
This website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalized content. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies as described in our Privacy Policy.