April 6th Devotion

He Breathed His Last – Alistair Begg

Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Luke 23:46

The simplicity of these words points us to truths that lie too deep for tears.

Luke, with his eye for detail, gives us an “orderly account” of Jesus’ crucifixion—an account which, he explains at the start of his Gospel, is the result of careful investigation and has been written in order that his readers “may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4). He doesn’t seek to bathe his writing in pathos. Instead, he writes in order that we may understand truth. And so Jesus’ dying breath is recounted for us in a simple phrase: “He breathed his last.”

What Luke does want us to linger on is Jesus’ control over His final breath. He chose to commit His spirit into His Father’s loving hands. He knew that His work was done. Sin was paid for, the curtain was torn, and His people could come into His Father’s presence eternally. Coupled with everything Jesus said prior to His crucifixion, His final words refute the notion that His death was simply that of a helpless victim being overwhelmed by cruel circumstances. He had told His disciples months before that He was going up to Jerusalem and that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be … killed” (Luke 9:22). John tells us that He had explained to them, “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).

Jesus went to the cross not helplessly but willingly. In accord with the Father’s purpose, He chose the exact moment that He would lay down his life for His sheep (John 10:11). Here, then, we see the very Author of life willingly taking His final breaths and reminding us of His absolute authority as well as His inexhaustible love. “He breathed his last” so that you might breathe in the fresh, purified air that was made available to you the moment you were born again. “He breathed his last” so that one day you will stand in a restored creation and breathe air into lungs that will never decay or perish. He who is sovereign over the air you breathe sovereignly breathed His last. He is worthy of nothing less than your praise and adoration.
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