John 19:30 - When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished," and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
"As I looked out my window last night, I saw the moon shining in the heavens, and I thought about it shining on my husband's grave. For a moment I was lonesome. But then I thought, no, my husband isn't there.
The next day my six-year-old boy came home from school. He fairly burst into the house, excited because of what he had to tell me. He said, 'Mother, just think! Daddy has seen Jesus now!'
I thought to myself, yes, son, how true! And he has seen Peter and Paul and Martin Luther and John. But, most importantly, he has seen Jesus."
So that a widow might be comforted in the knowledge that her husband is not in a lonely cemetery grave or in an eternal fiery punishment, that is why Jesus died.
So that a child might be comforted by the knowledge that his father had gone ahead of him and was seeing the Savior, that is why Jesus died.
Scripture says Jesus gave up His Spirit. It is important to note that Jesus' life wasn't taken from Him. Blood loss from His whipping and beatings didn't slowly take their toll until His heart could no longer keep going. Most certainly the nails didn't bleed Him to death. The Roman spear didn't snuff out the last bit of life.
Jesus gave up His Spirit.
He, Himself, had said it would be so. In John 10, He told His disciples, "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."
Jesus voluntarily sacrificed Himself so that you would never have to die. He gave the most precious gift of all -- His life -- so that when death pays a visit, we may be sure that death has lost its sting, and the grave no longer will be triumphant with those who leave this life with faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Of course, Jesus' death would be meaningless without the resurrection which took place three days later. If Jesus had just pronounced "It is finished" and breathed His last, that would have made Him one of us. After all, all of us will die.
That which makes Jesus different is the resurrection. Because Jesus was able to take up His life again, He proves His uniqueness. He gives evidence that His work has been accepted, and He offers assurance that his faith-filled followers will also rise to be with Him forever.
Those Scriptural realities are the Lord's assurance for those who are leaving this sinful world of sorrow, and they are the Lord's comfort for those who are left behind.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, nobody has ever done for me what You did. You took the punishment that I, by my sins, deserved. For this I thank You. Now, help me share this Good News with others. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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