Controlling His Death

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit…”

David wrote these words for the Messiah and Jesus recites them precisely as they were written, in fulfillment of this prophecy. Jesus was in control of every tiny detail of the final night and day of His life. As we study the words which David had written in the Psalms, we see that he intended them as prophetic words for the coming Messiah. Psalm 31 contains four predictions that Jesus carefully fulfilled. It would be a mistake to assume that Jesus arrest, trial, scourging, and crucifixion were actions dictated solely by the Jewish leadership and the Roman government. Although these men are personally responsible for their actions, the Lord is also moving these events into alignment so that every prophecy spoken for the Messiah, is fulfilled by Jesus actions and words.

Jesus made it clear that no one could take His life; He was freely giving it—in fulfillment of what had been written of the Messiah. The Old Testament is replete with hundreds of scriptures which require the Messiah’s death, in order to remove the sins of the world. Jesus was carefully and methodically completing each of these requirements; precisely as they were required. In order to accomplish this great feat, He would need to be in control of absolutely ever minute detail.

David records the precise words the Messiah will speak upon His death as He commits His Spirit to God.

Psalms 31:5 “Into Your hand I commit my spirit…”

Luke describes these precise words as Jesus died

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

Extreme Authority

Jesus was fully in control of when and where He would make His life a sacrifice for our sins, both in His death by crucifixion; and by His resurrection three days later. Jesus boldly declared before He was crucified, that no one had the power to take His life from Him.

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

As Jesus is questioned by Pilate and warned that a continued refusal to answer could result in crucifixion, Jesus broke His silence to remind Pilate that he was not in control; only the Father had authority over Jesus’ life.

John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”

Jesus was in authority over how and when He offered His life for all of us. When He spoke the words from the cross, Into Your hand I commit my spirit; He did so to remind us that He was fulfilling this prophecy written by David, from Psalms 31:5. Jesus was very careful to make sure that anyone who would read the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah, would immediately realize that it was Him—whom David was describing.

*******

In this second section of the chapter David continues His prophecies of the extreme control that the Messiah will exercise as He is arrested; those who come to take Him will be “driven backwards.”

Psalms 40:14 “Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor Who wish me evil.”

John records the events that took place at Gethsemane

John 18:3-6 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

I Am He

This is truly one of the most amazing prophecies of the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled. As the soldiers come to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks these men; Whom are you seeking? When Jesus speaks the words, “I am He,” the soldiers fall backwards onto the ground (John 18:6, above).

In the original text of this verse, the word “He” does not appear. The translators added this word because they felt that it clarified the verse for the reader. In reality, when Jesus answers the guards, He said “I am.” This is the eternal name for God. In Exodus 3:14, God told Moses that He should be called “I AM.”[1] Jesus was telling those who came to arrest Him that He is the eternal God. Jesus confirmed this fact when He spoke to the Pharisees in John, chapter 8.

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

David, in writing Psalms 40:14 about the Messiah, prophesies that: Those Who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward. These are the exact words of John’s testimony which occurred when Jesus said, “I am He.”

When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane, He made it clear to those who came to take Him by force that they were not orchestrating His arrest; He was allowing these soldiers to take Him. As the soldiers approach Jesus, He assumes a place of authority by questioning them: Whom are you seeking? When the soldiers answer “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus answers; “I AM.” The translators later added “He,” but this word was not in the original Greek manuscript of this encounter. By answering “I AM,” Jesus was using the eternal name for God—signifying that it was He who was orchestrating these events that would lead to His death and resurrection.

As Jesus speaks the words, “I AM,” the power of the eternal God bursts forth, causing the soldiers to fall backwards.

Jesus was making a very important statement as these men come to take Him by force: He was allowing these soldiers to arrest Him. No one at any time had authority over Jesus. It was He, as the true and living God, acting as man’s Savior, surrendering His life; allowing the soldiers to take Him in order to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, so that all those who would believe in Him could be saved.

John 18:3-6 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

This is again another indication of Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father, as He came to lay down His life as our servant. Not that Jesus is less than the Father but that He was willing to set aside His rights, so as to die for the sins of the world. Jesus was working all things in accordance with the Father’s will, but He was also in control of every event that transpired during the three and one-half years of His public ministry.

Philippians 2:7-8 but (Jesus) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

It is amazing to consider that although Jesus was laying down His life for us as a servant, He was still Lord of the universe and in control over absolutely every event that we read in the four Gospels.

• The foal of a donkey submits to His authority (Matthew 21:7).
• The wind and the waves submit to His authority (Mark 4:39).
• The dead submit to His authority (John 11:43).
• Death submits to His authority (John 11:25).
• Sickness and disease, submit to His authority (Luke 18:42).
• The demons submit to His authority (Luke 4:35).
• The devil submits to His authority (Matthew 4:10).
• All History submits to His authority (Matthew 26:56).
• All the kingdoms of this world will submit to His authority (Matthew 19:28).

Some day, every knee will bow to Jesus; every tongue will confess that He is the Lord.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We have the choice today to willingly submit our lives to Jesus and be saved, or we can wait until we stand before Him and His judgment will fall and crush us.

Luke 20:17-18 Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone (Jesus) which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”


[1] Exodus 3:14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’