He Breathed His Last
The simplicity of these words point us to truths that lie too deep for tears.
Luke, with his eye for detail, gives us an “orderly account” of Jesus’ crucifixion—an account which, he explains at the start of his Gospel, is the result of careful investigation and has been written in order that his readers “may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4). He doesn’t seek to bathe his writing in pathos. Instead, he writes in order that we may understand truth. And so Jesus’ dying breath is recounted for us in a simple phrase: “He breathed his last.”
What Luke does want us to linger on is Jesus’ control over His final breath. He chose to commit His spirit into His Father’s loving hands. He knew that His work was done. Sin was paid for, the curtain was torn, and His people could come into His Father’s presence eternally. Coupled with everything Jesus said prior to His crucifixion, His final words refute the notion that His death was simply that of a helpless victim being overwhelmed by cruel circumstances. He had told His disciples months before that He was going up to Jerusalem and that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be … killed” (Luke 9:22). John tells us that He had explained to them, “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” (John 10:17-18).
Jesus went to the cross not helplessly but willingly. In accord with the Father’s purpose, He chose the exact moment that He would lay down his life for His sheep (John 10:11). Here, then, we see the very Author of life willingly taking His final breaths and reminding us of His absolute authority as well as His inexhaustible love. “He breathed his last” so that you might breathe in the fresh, purified air that was made available to you the moment you were born again. “He breathed his last” so that one day you will stand in a restored creation and breathe air into lungs that will never decay or perish. He who is sovereign over the air you breathe sovereignly breathed His last. He is worthy of nothing less than your praise and adoration.
The Scroll and the Lamb
1Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
11Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
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