A.W. Pink

The Lord Jesus died as none other ever did. His life was not taken from Him; He laid it down of Himself. This was His claim: "For this reason the Father loves me, because 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. This charge I have received from my Father." (John 10:17-18). The most convincing evidence of this was seen in the committal of His spirit into the hands of the Father.

In Matthew 27:50 we read, "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up his spirit." But this translation fails to bring out the proper force of the original: the meaning of the Greek is He "dismissed His spirit." This expression is most appropriate in Matthew, which is the kingly gospel, presenting our Lord as "The Son of David, the King of the Jews." Such a term is beautifully suited in the royal gospel, for the Lord’s act connotes one of authority, as of a king dismissing a servant. The word used in Mark - which presents our Lord as the perfect servant - is the same as in our text - taken from Luke, the gospel of Christ’s perfect manhood - and signifies, He "breathed out His spirit." It was His passive endurance of death. In John, which is the gospel of Christ’s divine glory, another word is employed by the Holy Spirit: "He bowed his head and gave up the spirit" (John 19:30), or "delivered up" would perhaps be more exact. Here the Savior does not "commend" His spirit to the Father, as in the gospel of his humanity but, in keeping with his divine glory, as one who has full power over it, He "delivers up" His spirit!

The end was now reached. Unconquered by death, Jesus cries with a loud voice of unexhausted strength and delivers up His spirit into the hands of his Father, and in His uniqueness was manifested. No one else ever did this or died in this way. His birth was unique. His life was unique. His death also was unique. In "laying down" His life, His death was differentiated from all other deaths. He died by an act of His own volition! Who but a divine person could have done this? In a mere man it would have been suicide: but in Him it was a proof of His perfection and uniqueness. He died like the Prince of Life!

Adapted from The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross, 7. The Word of Contentment, by A.W. Pink.