The Beautiful Meaning Behind "Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit"

The Beautiful Meaning Behind "Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit"

“Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46). 

This phrase was the last of Jesus Christ upon the cross. It is a powerful moment, and one that indicated the end of the Mosaic law. As one of the final statements of Christ, and one of only seven recorded that He made on the cross, believers have pondered over it for centuries. Why did He say this? Is it a callback to the Psalms? Understanding this verse reveals the close nature of the Father and the Son, and the power the Son had during His earthly ministry.

Who Wrote Luke?

Across all four Gospels there are seven statements that came from Jesus on the cross. “Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit” comes from the Gospel of Luke. The longest of the four Gospels, it was composed by Luke, a Greek doctor who was one of Paul’s companions. 

This chapter of Luke picks up after Jesus was brought before the Council with Him being brought to Pontius Pilate. It covers the Crucifixion, His death, and burial. Other details Luke recorded regarding Jesus’ time on the cross include Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross, the sign stating “This is the King of the Jews,” and the story of the repentant criminal next to Jesus.

 When the Lord called out to His Father in verse 46, it was the sixth hour of the day. The way the Jewish people kept time during the Roman Empire was according to the hours after sunrise. The sixth hour would have been about noon. 

How the Phrase "Into Your Hands, I Commit My Spirit" is Translated

Across most translations into English, much of the verse is unchanged. There are a few words that are not translated the same. Perhaps the biggest divergence in translation is around the major verbs in the verse.

The first verb is in Jesus’ statement - paratíthēmi (παρατίθημι). This word is defined as, “to place alongside, i.e. present (food, truth); by implication to deposit (as a trust or for protection): allege, commend, commit (the keeping of), put forth, set before.” It is an active term where the subject makes a decision to put in trust or give over. In the English, most translations maintain an active part of the verb.

A brief list of the translation of paratíthēmi include:

-King James Version: Commend

-New International Version: Commit

-New Living Translation: Entrust

-Good News Translation: Place 

Those four words, commend, commit, entrust, and place, are chosen by most translators.

The other word that can often have different translations in English is the verb that describes the actual moment of Jesus’ death. Some translations focus on making it an active verb, like paratíthēmi, emphasizing Jesus’ choice. Others translate it using a more passive voice, where death happened to Jesus, rather than Jesus relinquishing His life. The word ekpneó (ἐκπνέω) means “to breathe out, to expire.” However, it is translated differently.

Some of the translations include:

-King James Version: Gave up the ghost

-New International Version: Breathed his last

-Contemporary English Version: He died

-Webster’s Bible Translation: He expired

For some believers, whether or not the translation is more active, like “gave up the ghost” or “breathed his last,” in which Jesus appears to be making a decision is very important. Because He was fully God and fully man, Jesus could have taken himself off the cross, remained alive, and exerted His divine authority. He chose not to do so. His divine nature means He intentionally had to choose to no longer hold onto life.

For people who believe this element of the crucifixion is important, the passive implication that Jesus simply passed away on the cross due to sustained injuries in some translation is an insufficient reading of the text. Translations with “expired” or “died” would not be acceptable. Other readers and thinkers do not see this choice as taking away from Jesus’ divine nature, and go with what is easier for them to read or exegete.

Why Is Jesus Quoting Psalms?

Much of the weight and significance of this sentence is that Jesus is communicating directly with the Father that He is returning to His side. After thirty-three years of earthly ministry, and the Father turning away briefly during the Crucifixion in Mark 15:34 when the Lord cried out, “...’Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?,’” the Son would again sit at the right hand of the Father.

It is also significant because of its connection to Psalm 31. It is a direct quotation from that passage of Scripture. In context, it appears: “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God” (Psalm 31:3-5). 

The writer asserts their innocence and righteousness in the face of many enemies. This Psalm is usually attributed to David, who has confidence that his soul is safe with God. He put his faith and hope in the Lord, and He will go to be with God. It also expresses confidence the Lord will vindicate his life after his death. Though his foes may win a temporary victory, God will justify the righteous.

Jesus invokes this Psalm with the same meaning. Jesus lived a blameless life on earth. Not only did Jesus know He would go to be with the Father, but He knew His life would be vindicated with the resurrection mere days later. Though Jesus’ enemies thought they defeated Him at Calvary, God granted Jesus the ultimate victory with new bodily life. Jesus will have the final victory after His return as well.

Why Is Luke 23:46 Important to the Easter Story?

This verse contains a great deal of information in it, no matter how it is translated. It reflects the closeness of the Father and the Son in the Godhead. The divine power and authority of Jesus is illustrated. He invokes the words of His ancestor David as a final demonstration of His knowledge and innocence.

Finally, there is a hint of what would follow. God did vindicate. On the day now called Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Sunday, Jesus returned to life in His glory, and left an empty tomb. No matter how dark things were on the cross, no matter how hopeless things seemed when He was in the grave, nothing compares to the light and glory of the living Savior, to whom all can come for salvation.


Grogan, Geoffrey. Prayer, Praise and Prophecy. United Kingdom: Christian Focus, 2001.

Laurie, Greg. Finding Hope in the Last Words of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2009.

Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Updated and Expanded Edition. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC, 2007.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Old Testament and New Testament. United States of America: Victor Books, 1987.

Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer who uses her passion for God, reading, and writing to glorify God. She and her husband have lived all over the country serving their Lord and Savior in ministry. She has a blog on