One of the first prayers I learned as a little boy was “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .” It was a prayer I learned from my parents, and I taught it to my son and daughter when they were little. As a child, I found great comfort in placing myself in God’s hands with those words before I fell asleep.
There’s a similar prayer neatly tucked away in the “prayer book” of the Bible, the Psalms. Some biblical scholars suggest that the phrase “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5) was a “bedtime” prayer taught to children in Jesus’s day.
You may recognize that prayer as Jesus’s final cry from the cross. But Jesus added one more word to it: Father (Luke 23:46). By praying that word in the moments before His death, Jesus demonstrated His intimate relationship with the Father and pointed believers toward their home with Him (John 14:3).
Jesus died on the cross so we could live in the wonder of a relationship with God as our heavenly Father. How comforting it is to know that because of Jesus’s sacrificial love for us, we can rest in God’s care as His children! We can close our eyes without fear because our Father watches over us and has promised to wake us up to life with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
Lord Jesus, I receive the gift of forgiveness You offer me through the cross. Help me to turn from my sins and follow You, all the way home.
A bright new morning awaits us in Jesus.
In Luke’s account of Christ’s death, we see several dramatic events. A seemingly inexplicable darkness was present over the entire earth—not just over Jerusalem where the crucifixion took place (vv. 44–45). Inside the temple in Jerusalem the curtain that separated worshipers from the holy of holies was torn in two, symbolizing that through Christ our access to God has been opened (v. 45). After Christ died, a Roman soldier who had participated in His execution declared, “Surely this was a righteous man” (v. 47). And others watching lamented and beat their breasts (v. 48).
The witness in the sky, within the temple, and by people at the foot of the cross demonstrate that this was no ordinary death. It was the death of the loving God-Man who shed His blood to redeem all who would believe in Him.
For further study, see The Passion of Christ at discoveryseries.org/q0210.