Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. LUKE 23:46

For some of us, if we are so blessed, “father” is among the warmest of words. For others, “father” names an emptiness, a familiar ache for someone who combines soul-calming strength with tenderest affection, take-to-the-grave wisdom with predictable grace. Someone who is completely yours.

The way Jesus spoke of his Father landed on most Jewish ears as blasphemy, an essential robbing from God what was his alone. It was the intimate, even casual way he spoke of and to the Lord of the Universe-it was “Abba this” and “Abba that.” In the Hebrew manner of speaking, “son of glory” means “glory through and through.” Just so, there is no “less than” in being the Son of God. He is God through and through.

Robe-tearing stuff!

So we come to one final scandal, this one shouted to the sky in the hearing of an astonished crowd. “Coming, Abba!”

With that, Jesus poured his spirit out like holy wine onto the altar of his God, an act of pure devotion-so like his life and a sublime death that counts as yours.

Then the homecoming. The hero’s welcome. Angel applause.

No blasphemy here. No stealing from heaven. Holy mystery-God gives himself to God!

The “Seventh Word” recalls a Jewish bedtime prayer. As you fall back nightly into the helplessness of sleep you may practice just this sort of falling into God. Our Lord has opened up a new way to die… and a whole new way to live.

Jesus was quoting David in Psalm 31 about a time of deep struggle. Do the same. Remember the Father’s hands when things get dark. Learn from Luther to perpetually commend every last thing that matters— everything you care about, everyone you love, even your very soul into the hands of God. He learned that from Jesus.

By Word and Spirit, smiling or sighing, your way of life can be “Abba this” and “Abba that.”

Jesus really lives as surely as he really died for us all. He said the loveliest thing to Mary on that stunning Sunday morning. He told her in John 20 that he would soon ascend to “my God and yours.”

And this, Beloved, to fill every empty place inside. “… to my Father and yours.”


Jesus, teach me to live in serene confidence because you lived and died for me. Let me die with an eager, cheerful word; “Coming, Abba!” Amen.