44By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart. 46Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.
Luke 23:44-46 (NLT)

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, as we studied the crucifixion in Bible study yesterday I learned two very special things. (Thanks, Phil, for the study you did on this passage. I was blessed by it.) Yesterday’s blessing was learning the story behind the word translated “paradise.” Today’s blessing is based on Jesus final earthly prayer. (I qualify it as His final “earthly” prayer because we know He sits at the right hand of God now constantly interceding for us.)

Chances are good when you were a child, you learned to repeat this common night-time prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

The words are much like Jesus’ final prayer on the cross. Each night before going to sleep, those who recited the prayer were entrusting their spirit to the Lord. I never knew that this childhood prayer mirrored the Jesus’ last words on earth. Somehow that touched something deep inside me.

But what I learned next touched me even more. During the time that Jesus lived on this earth, Jewish mothers taught their children to say a pray before they went to sleep each night. The prayer was based on Psalm 31:5:

Into your hands I commit my spirit.
Psalm 31:5 (NIV)

Sound familiar? What that tells us is that as Jesus was dying, He prayed the prayer His human mother had taught Him – a prayer the young child Jesus He had undoubtedly prayed each night before He went to sleep. There was one difference this time, however. As Jesus died with that prayer on His lips, He added the word “Father.” He was “going home” to His Father. As He prayed the prayer He had learned from His mother He was entrusting His spirit into His Father’s hands. The man Jesus, who was also the Creator of the world, the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, intermingled His humanness and deity as He prayed “Father, I entrust my spirit into Your hands.”

What a fitting final prayer! Showing His deep love for both His mother and His Father, it is a prayer that brings to the center both the humanity and deity of Christ. And it blows me away. The tenderness brings me to tears. The perfect “completion” that this prayer brings amazes me. I am sure that I am not adequately putting into words the fullness that comes from that simple prayer.

So as I did yesterday, I simply invite you to meditate on it for yourself. Think about the humanness of Jesus and the deity of Jesus…the little boy who was taught to pray by his mother, reciting a simple Psalm each night…the humble Son returning to His Father…the Reigning King who will one day return.

This child, Son and King invites us to walk in paradise with Him. Wow!

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