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Psalm 31, Christmas, and Luke 23

I opened to the Psalm for today and was struck by the title, “Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit.” For some reason, the words echoed in my head in the voice of my college Bible professor. I could picture him standing at the front of the room, looking mildly uncomfortable in his jet black blazer, and shaking his hand in deep concentration as he repeated the words. But, I remembered him quoting Jesus when he said the words, and I was currently reading a psalm of David. Thankfully, Google can be a pretty quick concordance.

Luke 23:46 says, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.” It’s a unique version of Jesus’s last words. Mark and Matthew both quote Jesus as saying, “‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'” and reflects the opening lines of Psalm 22 (Mark 15:34, Matthew 27:46). In John, Jesus’ last words are, “It is finished,” (John 19:30). So, what does Luke 23 have to do with Psalm 31?

Psalm 31 shows David beseeching God for rescue from his enemies. Regardless of the outcome, David praises God and trusts that He will not let David be overtaken by his enemies. David expresses deep pain from the rejection of his neighbors. He then requests that God will have justice on the wicked and thanks God for His goodness to the faithful. The last two verses of Psalm 31 exhort believers to “Love the LORD, all you his saints!” and stay faithful to the One who maintains justice.

It makes sense that Jesus would reflect this psalm in His sacrifice on the cross. He endured horrible physical pain, the mocking of the crowds, and intense mental stress. In spite of this, He remained obedient to God’s will and sacrificed His perfect life in the place of our sinful ones.

As we spend today remembering the sweet baby lying in a manger and celebrating His humble entry to this world, we also want to remember the reason He came. We focus on love at Christmas time, and if we look at Luke 23 and Psalm 31, we’ll see that Jesus’ love for us goes even deeper than we could possibly understand. Merry Christmas, everyone, and may we all feel His love surrounding us tonight.

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