Last Words: “Father, into Your Hands I Entrust My Spirit.”

“Famous last words.” You’ve probably said the phrase, but have you thought about how significant “last words” truly are? One writer compiled a list of “64 People and Their Famous Last Words,” a fascinating read if you have the time to contemplate what a person’s final words say about the life they lived and the death they died. Romantic era composer Gustav Mahler reportedly died in bed while conducting an orchestra that was present only in his mind. His last word? “Mozart!” Underground railroad pioneer and devout believer Harriet Tubman sang with her family as she died, “Swing low, sweet chariot.” Emily Dickinson waxed poetic, “I must go in, for the fog is rising.” And Apple founder Steve Jobs said simply, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” 

As they died, the minds of these cultural icons were enchanted with the same things they had focused on as they lived—music, freedom, mystery, the wonder of the next new thing. All week long on the Revive Our Hearts blog, we’ve focused on the last words of our Savior, whose parting words mirrored with majestic brilliance His earthly actions and His heavenly affections.

Today, Good Friday, we come to the last of Christ’s seven sayings, the final words that would usher a breathless world from one era of history to another, just as His birth did some thirty-three years earlier. 

He Breathed His Last

While not present at the crucifixion himself, Gospel-writer Luke, a Greek doctor by occupation, meticulously recorded his account under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Luke’s Gospel is the only one that includes the statement found in Luke 23:46 . . . but only after he sets up the scene with the precision of a detailed medical record: 

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three, because the sun’s light failed. The curtain of the sanctuary was split down the middle. (Luke 23:44–45)

Though it should have been the time that the sun burned brightest, on that day there was no light to be found as a shroud of darkness blanketed the land. Simultaneously, at the temple, a shroud of a different kind was lifted—or split, rather—as the veil that separated man from the Holy of Holies was torn in spectacular fashion.

And Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Saying this, he breathed his last. (v. 46)

Famous last words indeed.

Four Things Jesus Said with His Dying Breath

In the course of His perfect life, every word Jesus spoke was true, right, and purposeful. On the cross, He was no different. As Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth noted, Jesus’ words included: 

  • Not one word of bitterness or anger.
  • No complaining or murmuring.
  • Not one word of profanity.
  • Not one unkind word.
  • Not one unnecessary word.1

The Son of God, having suffered the deepest anguish known to man before or since, gathered his remaining strength, filled his burning lungs with air and spoke just eight words: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” Those eight words spoke volumes. 

Beyond the simple words on the page, what did Jesus say with His dying breath? 

1. He was not out of power. 

Dr. Luke recorded that “Jesus called out with a loud voice.” The physical ramifications of crucifixion would have made loud speech excruciatingly painful if not impossible. But the Savior’s last words broke clearly through the murmuring of the gathered crowd. Can you hear them? “With a loud voice”—megas phoneo in the Greek—His parting words were delivered as if through a megaphone, a booming proclamation of faith. Though made frail by human clothing, a never-ending storehouse of stamina was fully available to our Lord at any moment He chose to draw from it.

2. Relationship with the Father had been restored. 

While Jesus earlier had addressed Him as “My God” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34), with His final breath, Jesus returns to calling out to His “Father.” “It is finished,” He had already said (John 19:30). He had borne the full cup of God’s wrath reserved for you and me, and could now turn His face toward His Abba Father once again. Because of His sacrifice, we can turn our faces toward Him without shame.

3. His message was for all to hear.

Jesus addressed His Father in particular, but with His final breath he also preached a sermon that would echo in the ears of all those who were present—from the Roman centurion, to the crowd that had gathered, to the women who loved and followed Him—for years to come. Because it was recorded for us in the pages of Scripture, we hear it still today, calling us back to the cross. 

4. Surrender to the Father’s hand.

“Into your hands, I entrust my spirit,” Jesus said (emphasis added). The Greek word, paratithemimeans “to place beside or near or set before,” “to place down,” “to deposit,” “to intrust, commit to one’s charge.”With His last breath, Jesus proclaimed to the world that His Father is trustworthy. 

Not only did Jesus trust His Father generally, but He trusted His Father’s hands specifically. Pastor John Piper says Jesus committed His spirit, “Not: into the grave. Not: into the void. Not: into the dark unknown. But: into the hands of God.”3 This is the same God whose word is right and whose work is trustworthy, who loves righteousness and justice, who made the heavens by His word and the stars by the breath of his mouth (Psalm 33:4–6). He’s the One who (still!) does all things well. 

Jesus uttered those final words with the very last breath in His earthly body. And with them, He gave up His life. Willingly. Quietly. “When He had finished taking all the wrath of God,” Pastor John MacArthur said, “He simply yielded up his life. And thus Christ calmly and majestically displayed His utter sovereignty to the very end.”4

The Last Word

The sayings of Jesus on the cross contained intimate moments between the thief and His Savior, Jesus and His mother, the Son and the Father. They’re a record of history, a window into six hours that changed the course of the world, but they also preach a powerful sermon, a sermon that demands a response. 

On the heels of incomprehensible suffering, Jesus placed His life—His spirit itself—squarely in His Father’s hand. What is He asking you to place in His hand as you walk into this weekend of remembering His suffering and celebrating His victory over death? What do you and I need to entrust to God today? 

Could it be . . . 

  • Health concerns
  • Financial peril
  • Unsaved family members
  • Church hurt
  • Political unrest
  • Consequences of sin
  • Our children
  • Our jobs
  • Our homes
  • Our bodies
  • Our hearts

Oh, friend, God wants nothing more than for you to surrender fully to His loving and capable, good and sovereign hands. This Holy Week, and until our final breath, may we say with the Savior, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit. My life. My all.” 

We hope our special Holy Week series has been a blessing to you. If Revive Our Hearts content has been meaningful to you this week, would you consider giving a gift to support the ongoing needs of the ministry? When you do, you’ll be helping us share the hope of the gospel with women around the world. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, “The Word of Confidence,” Revive Our Hearts, April 1, 2015,
2 G3908 - Paratithēmi - Strong's Greek Lexicon (CSB),” Blue Letter Bible, accessed April 1, 2023,
John Piper, “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit,” Desiring God, February 7, 2023,
“When Jesus Preached from the Cross,” Grace to You, April 18, 2003,

About the Author

Laura Elliott

Laura Elliott

Born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Laura Elliott and her husband, Michael, now call Minnesota home. Laura is the mother of five sons and one daughter and serves as the marketing content manager for Revive Our Hearts. In … read more …

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