The gospel of Jesus Christ is remarkably good news. It is indeed “living water” (Jn 4.14) because it never ceases to flow in or satisfy the Christian soul. The Christian needs only one Well and that Well is infinitely supplied. The gospel is a living truth in that it does things in and for those who believe. It changes those who welcome it. It does so because Jesus is living. There is no end to the enjoyment inherent in considering Christ and the salvation he gives to all who trust him.
Peter wrote about how Jesus endured his suffering (1 Pt 2.21-25). At every turn, Jesus was in complete control of his own arrest, flogging and death. He died when he wanted to (Jn 10.18). He didn’t lash out while being lashed. He bit his tongue while being beaten. All because he “kept entrusting himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Pt 2.23). What did it mean for Jesus to entrust himself to his Father?
Much is rightly made about the “seven sayings” of Jesus from the cross. We know much about a man by his dying words. And Jesus was no different.
The Gospel writers all had their own angle on Christ’s ministry. We need all four perspectives to piece together what God would have us know about Jesus. Therefore, I hope to consider two of the sayings and their relationship to glorify the humility of Christ.
In Mark’s account, the last recorded saying is “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (15.34). This, of course and by Mark’s editorial help, is the Aramaic version of Ps 22.1: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. It wasn’t that Jesus thought, “Hey, Ps 22.1 would be a good verse to quote here.” He was quoting what a forsaken son of God should say. In Mk 15.37, Mark recorded that Jesus “uttered a loud cry” before breathing his last breath.
In Luke’s account, we read that Jesus “crying out with a loud voice” said, “Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit” (Lk 23.46). Then he breathed his last. John’s account notwithstanding, might we consider the “loud cry” in Mark to be what Luke heard? In any case, this was Ps 31 on display. (Note to self: the Psalms are probably a good thing to have memorized when dying.)
Here is the faithful Servant-Son-Savior in all his glory. He entrusted his spirit into the hands of the very One who just forsook him! Here is the New Job who could say, “Though He slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13.15). We find Job renegotiating that promise! Here is the New David who, when given the choice of punishments for his grievous census, said “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great” (1 Chron 21.13). David knew there would be mercy in God’s judgment. He’d rather entrust himself to a merciful Judge than to take his chance evading men. Jesus would rather entrust himself to the One who forsook him than to pry himself off the cross for his own relief. Relief would come from his Father, no matter what.
Jesus, to the end, “kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously.” This is the faith we would never have. We trust God barely to the extent he makes us comfortable. For Jesus, the Father was so glorious and desirable that enduring all of hell was worth the reunion. This is the righteousness we need. God is so glorious and trustworthy that even in forsaking the Son, he was still to be trusted for mercy and salvation. Jesus alone loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. It is that unflinching trust in God that Jesus earns for, and credits to the account of, those who believe.
This is our example to follow (1 Pt 2.21). We entrust our souls to God, who inflicts on us only the pain he intends to heal.