Sermon for Good Friday 2022 “Into Thy Hands”

*“Into Your Hands . . .”*

Luke 23:26–56

*Sermon Outline*

What Little Jesus Did Say from the Cross Is Also Our Commendation at Life’s
Last Hour.

I. Jesus is almost silent as he hangs on the cross.

II. But with Jesus, we, too, pray, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”

III. And God does care for us by the precious blood of Jesus.


The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke is recorded in
chapters 22 and 23. Chapter 22 consists mostly of red letters; Jesus does a
lot of talking. Things change once Jesus is arrested. Before the Jewish
Council, Pilate, and Herod, Jesus clams up. The priests, rulers, soldiers,
and crowds do the talking: interrogating, accusing, lying, mocking,
screaming, and shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” The voices are
accompanied by the sickening sound of striking fist, whip, and hammer. But

What Little Jesus Did Say from the Cross Is Also Our Commendation at Life’s
Last Hour.


“And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they
crucified him” (v 33).

Following this verse, things turn almost entirely black. As we gaze on
Jesus’ silent body, which has been beaten almost beyond recognition, we
pause and listen to what the prophet Isaiah has to say about our suffering
Savior: “He was pierced for *our* transgressions; he was crushed for *our*
iniquities. . . . He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not
his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that
before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:5, 7,
emphasis added).

Luke only records three statements from Jesus as he hung on the cross.
First, to the Roman soldiers who are crucifying him he pronounced holy
absolution: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (v 34).
Second, to a dying man, to the repentant criminal hanging on the cross next
to him, Jesus grants eternal life: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be
with me in paradise” (v 43). And then comes his final, remarkable words to
his Father who had gone silent, who had forsaken his only Son out of
disgust for what he had become. Jesus became us; he became sin for us,
bearing our sin upon and within him. So what does Jesus say? He goes to the
liturgy and prays Ps 31:5: “ ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’
And having said this he breathed his last” (v 46).


Jesus prayed the Psalms throughout his life, and thus they were there on
his tongue and in his heart at the end when he needed them. Likewise, our
daily prayers prepare us for those times in life when we are forsaken and
in despair over what life has become. Both Morning and Evening Prayers in
Luther’s Small Catechism include the prayer, “For into Your hands I commend
myself, my body and soul, and all things.”

Whenever we pray the Order of Compline from *Lutheran Service Book* (a
little nighttime “commendation of the dying”), we repeat Ps 31:5 three

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

You have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit. (*LSB*, pp 255–56)

Ps 31:5 is also included in the actual Commendation of the Dying, which
many pastors pray with dying parishioners. There is something inexplicably
beautiful and comforting about praying our Lord’s dying words as we and our
loved ones die. Imagine your pastor and family, after you’re gone,
retelling the story of your death: “Oh, we were there. We prayed the Lord’s
Prayer, the Nunc Dimittis. We sang, ‘Then let at last thy angels come,’ and
we prayed with him, ‘Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.’ And
then he breathed his last. He died with Jesus.”


Alongside the Passion Readings in the liturgy, the Church also has a long
tradition of Passion plays held in the town square. Today, Passion plays
have found their way onto the big screen. In *The Passion of the Christ*,
director Mel Gibson was able to depict tender moments between Jesus and his
mother, Mary. How agonizing it must have been for Mary to see her Son so

St. John’s Gospel tells us how Jesus looked down from the cross and saw his
mother and John standing nearby. He said to Mary, “Behold, your son!” and
to John, “Behold, your mother!” John was to care for Mary in body and soul.
“And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn 19:26–27).

Taking artistic license, the film *The Passion of the Christ* depicts Mary
approaching the cross and kissing the nail-pierced, bloody feet of her Son.
As she turns her head, one can see that her lips and cheeks are stained
with his holy and precious blood. How does John care for this grieving
mother in body and soul? He would take her into his home, feed her, and
keep her safe. The most important thing would be to include her when the
disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The next time the
blood of Jesus Christ touches her lips (and this requires no artistic
license) would be when she gathered with John and the others to receive the
Lord’s Supper.

Kyrie! O God the Holy Ghost,

Guard our faith, the gift we need the most,

And bless our life’s last hour,

That we leave this sinful world with gladness.

Eleison! Eleison! (*LSB* 942). Amen.