Famous Last Words: Relationship

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

You’re probably familiar with this well-known children’s bedtime prayer. But did you know that it’s not all that different from an evening prayer of first century Jewish families? Traditionally, the father of the household would pray verse 5 from Psalm 31 with his family as the curtain of night closed over the household. “Into Your hands, I commit my spirit,” he would recite.

While that ancient Jewish custom is probably not common knowledge, even a casual student of the New Testament knows well that this was also the last statement that Jesus made before he “breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46)

Realizing that this was a actually a prayer that a Hebrew child would pray subtly, but dramatically, shapes the meaning of these words for me. That’s especially true considering the one word Christ added that shifts the statement from simply an Old Testament quote to a personal plea.

“Father!” Jesus called with a loud voice. “Into Your Hands I commit my spirit!”

Notice, too, that only moments before, Christ had expressed deep anguish as the weight of the world’s sin pressed down on Him. So great was the torment that He called out to the Father using terms that seem to betray Christ’s inability to feel the presence of the Almighty in these final agonizing moments. “My God! My God!” He exclaimed. (Matt 27:46)

Yet, even though His physical agony had surely not diminished, in those final seconds before He offered up His life as the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus called to His “Father.”

Gone is the distance. Erased is the formality. The word he utters is a tender and loving term, the same that would be used by a small child who delightfully squeals the word “Daddy!” as he is welcomed into a warm embrace.  It’s intimate. Personal. And wrapped in the security of love.

You know, Christ modeled exactly what we need to know to dispel the fear of the unknown and even push back the frightening specter of death. Though unimaginable pain racked His body, even that torment didn’t obscure His confidence.  His intimate connection with the Father was the basis of His trust.

So in the fearful situation you face, do you have confidence in your relationship with the Father?  I’m not asking if you go to church, read the Bible or take discipleship classes. I’m not even asking if you serve in some capacity. Those activities can certainly help us understand and appreciate the Lord and His work on the earth, but I want you to think about whether you really know the Father?

A relationship with Him begins with faith in Jesus, but isn’t about a list of assignments to be carried out or rules to follow. It’s about making a connection that slowly alters all you are and all you do.

Until you understand the fundamental difference between knowing the Father and simply doing what you are told, you will always struggle with fear and anxiety about the future and sense something missing in your life.  That’s because you will lack the assurance of connectedness with the Author of Life! You may know in your head that Jesus loves you and came to give you abundant life, (John 10:10) but it won’t really make much difference in the way you think and live.

So, think about your relationship with the Lord. Is it one that will sustain you through the worst that life can throw at you? If not, please know it can be. All it takes is desire, time, and a heart to seek Him.  Believe that Christ will always respond to those who genuinely draw near to Him.  (James 4:8)

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart.
– Jeremiah 29:12-13

"The Embrace" Chris Hopkins
“The Embrace”
Chris Hopkins

14 thoughts on “Famous Last Words: Relationship

  1. Thank you for giving me new insigth to the prayer and to the relationship between Jesus and His Father on the cross. I wish I can be as close to Him,. even in moments of pain,.

    1. I love that Christ’s promise is to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us, and that we can spend a lifetime drawing ever closer! Thanks Joanna!

  2. I once heard a wife refer to her husband as a “glorified roommate.” She said her marriage had become mundane, misguided and the only intimacy involved was a periodic “five minute” romp when the mood struck.
    What a great job you did Karen in declaring what sincere relationship is about when it comes to the Bridegroom. and the Song of Songs in the Old Testament gives some incite into relationships. Thank you for your sincerity of heart in all that you do! I appreciate you and the Father does also!

  3. Love this! so encouraging to think about how Jesus cried out for His Father, and that we can do the same! Thanks for sharing this post!

  4. This right here: “Until you understand the fundamental difference between knowing the Father and simply doing what you are told, you will always struggle with fear and anxiety about the future and sense something missing in your life.” Yes. Amen, Karen. Until I understood that, I always felt lost. I’m so grateful that God finally brought me to a place where I reached out to Him and continue to do so. You always bring some new nugget of wisdom for me to chew on and I did not know that fact about the children’s prayer. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. That thought does add even greater depth and emotion to the moment. Wow.

    It is another evidence, too, that the things we store up in our minds and hearts are the very things we will draw on in distress.

    1. Right Sheila! The time to prepare for adversity is way before it ever occurs! We meditate on His word, it becomes a part of us, and it will sustain us through the storms!

  6. Your blog shows thorough understanding of the Old and New Testaments and deep love for Jesus Christ. Thank you. it was a blessing to read about Jesus. Yes these words were in the Jewish children’s evening prayer.

    Jesus cried loudly and that is unusual for a dying man. Therefore I think of this Bibleverse: “Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18No man 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 commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10)

    I wish you a blessed Passover!

  7. You have written SO many good blogs, but this is …….. How can I say it…… My goodness, this is certainly one of your very best. The main message of Jesus. The Pharisees knew the scriptures but couldn’t see God standing in front of them. Learning a lot of Bible facts is great. It makes for stirring discussion but to KNOW the Father is a whole other pursuit. We can feed our intellect or we can go deep into a walk w/ Jesus. To focus on the latter you get the former, but to focus on the former is no guarantee you’ll have the latter.

    This is excellent. I am having church. Bless you.

    John 5: 39

    1. Thank you Rachel! This has been such a wonderful study for me personally. It’s so encouraging to know that it has been valuable to you, and to others!

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