In Luke 23:46, we read (emphasis mine):

And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

Acts 7:59 we read of Stephen also committing his spirit to Jesus at his death. Of course Jesus is now ascended and at God's right hand (not the Father's right hand v56-) and is in charge of the newly formed church.

Jesus received the spirit at his baptism. Clearly, he wasn't a spirit as he had come to die - and did die - remaining dead for 3 days.

Jesus became immortal after death, when raised by his God and granted life as the Father has life.

John 5:26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself

Are there other verses that help understand why his spirit went to the Father?

  • Are there other verses that help understand why his spirit went to the Father ? - See John 16:28.
    – Lucian
    Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 15:45

4 Answers 4


Jesus is quoting from Psalm 31:

Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. Psalm 31:5 (NIV)

If you read through the whole Psalm, you can see David is asking God to save him from his enemies. This quote isn't supposed to give us a sense of Jesus travelling to be with his father, but trusting in him to deliver Jesus from death.

After Jesus died, he remained dead for 3 days, until he was raised from the dead. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that it is the Father, through the Spirit, that does the raising (emphasis mine):

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:17-23 (NIV)

I would therefore conclude that Jesus is saying, as he dies, that he trusts God the Father to raise him to life, through God the Spirit.

The complication if how God the Son could die is answered in this question

  • just to be clear, I didn't intent to infer 'travelling'. As u said, Jesus was dead 3 days. I'm connecting the dead Jesus with the ever-living Son. TY for the link, I hope it's ok to CP from there... "The divine nature cannot die, but the human nature can. Jesus died completely in his human nature. But we do not say that only the humanity of Jesus died - because it is a union in one person we must say that whole person of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, died." So, we have John 3:16 telling us that God sent His only son to die for our sins - so really that seems a bit hollow doesn't it?
    – Steve
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 11:08
  • It would help us for you to add that clarification into the question, by using the Edit button. If the linked question fully answers your question, we can link it as a duplicate.
    – Korosia
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 11:09

Oldest Greek rendition:

καὶ φωνήσας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Πάτερ, εἰς χεῖράς σου παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμά μου. τοῦτο δὲ εἰπὼν ἐξέπνευσεν.

Latin rendition:

et clamans voce magna Iesus ait Pater in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum et haec dicens exspiravit

The word later translated into the Latin spiritus in Greek is πνεῦμά, which in Hellenistic Greek primarily meant: "breath", "life", or "inspiration".

In Latin before the NT, there is only one single word describing "breath", "life", and "inspiration": animus (hence our word for "bringing back to life" is re-animate and not re-spirit).

The Latin spiritus historically mirrors only the "breath". Only in later periods was the meaning of "soul", "spirit" or "life" added as meanings for spiritus, we know this because in older Latin texts they would use the word viva for life. It is thus a less accurate translation than animus, certainly around 70-100 CE.

It is thus arguably better to translate Luke 23:46 as "into your hands I commit my life".

  • 2
    Not so. The Greek word psuche has a broad meaning covering 'soul' and 'life'. Pneuma covers the meaning 'spirit' 'breath' and 'wind'. They are different concepts. Your 'translation' is a mistranslation.'Commit my spirit' is the correct translation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 13:21
  • So during the 1st century. Philo argued to use Πνοή, rather than πνευμα, Philo for example explains that, pneuma when used in the context of "breath" is for the light breathing of human men while there is a "stronger" word, pnoē. If seen in the context of the 1st century, "life" is the most appropriate translation since pneuma is used and not pnoē.
    – Codosaur
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 14:32
  • 2
    Pnoe is used by the apostolic writers for a specific purpose. It's usage in the Greek new testament writings indicates a separate concept to pneuma. I have no idea who 'Philo' is. I am only interested in apostolic authority - those chosen by Jesus Christ to document his revelation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 15:02
  • Ty Nigel, was wondering when that would come up.
    – Steve
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 9:46
  • 1
    Jesus was not resurrected from the dead until the third day, and it was 40 days later that he ascended to heaven as a spirit being. So what spirit left him when he died.? Codosaur is correct, "into your hands I commit my life". +1 Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 20:58

This is an interesting revelation about Jesus. Jesus was a man - we know from other verses that he was not immortal before his resurrection.

We see from Stephens's dying words, he committed, entrusted, his spirit to Jesus (now ascended)

Jesus did exactly the same thing - entrusting his sprit also to a heavenly being, his Father. This speaks of Jesus mortality - and his expectation to be raised again.

Certainly, he could not raise himself anymore than Stephen could. The Father raised Jesus - as attested by over 30 verses to that effect. Jesus said he had authority (John 10:17-18) to live again - because he was without sin, thereby not being under the authority of sin and death. Rom 6:9 speaks of him having death as a master while he was still mortal - but not after his death!

Jesus was raised because death could not hold him - he was without sin; death has no power over him. He defeated death for all by his victory over evil, pride and idolatry.

2 Tim 1:9-10 ...God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

John 11:25,26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Why did Jesus commit his spirit to the Father at death?

This passage corroborates that he was a mortal man just like us. Yes, he is the son of God, and the last Adam, but this speaks of the human Jesus, born ~4BC, received the holy spirit at his baptism and it remained on him from then.

But at his death, Jesus surrendered his spirit to the Father - not His so-called 'eternal self' or the HS. This speaks volumes about who Jesus was and is!

To who else could it go, but back to the Father who gave it. Jesus was dead in the earth until the Father raised him to new life - as the firstborn of many brethren Rom 8:29

Rom 6:4- ...as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

Jesus was a man like us - only without sin, dependent on the Father for everything including life.

  • Thanks for sharing your wonderful midrash of Luke 23:46 with biblical context! שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 13:32
  • 1
    Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again. This is the sign that Jesus said (speaking of his physical body) would be shown to justify his cleansing of the earthly temple. It is active voice ... the subject (Jesus) performs the action (the raising). He is not like any other man in this way: He has life in Himself ... the same kind of life that God the Father has ...and is able to raise Himself and those who believe. I am the resurrection, not I will be resurrected. Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 12:51
  • So your Saviour didn't really die and you remain in your sins - well done! You spend so much time with voices and tenses and fail to recognise the complete farce that has deceived the church with a God/man hybrid who can allegedly die and not die all at the same time, and who overcame nothing because he was invincible. I'd say 'give it a rest', but I know you mean well and are just doing your best. Somehow, I got to wake up from the mythology and lies and can hold the bible before creeds. And don't have to wonder about the made up dogma anymore. It's wonderful!
    – Steve
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 13:12

Are there other verses that help understand why his spirit went to the Father?

Psalm 31:5 Into Your hands I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD, God of truth.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 before the dust returns to the ground from which it came, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Spirit comes from God and returns to God. It is related to the breadth of God.

Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath [H5397. נְשָׁמָה neshamah] of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
from nasham
NASB Translation blast (2), breath (15), breathes (1), life (1), persons alive (1), spirit (2), who breathed (3).

Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

At the moment of death, Jesus's heart stopped. His breathing stopped but his breadth/spirit continued in the Father.

Why does Jesus commit his spirit into his Father's hands at death?

Because that's where it belongs. It came from the Father and returned to the Father.

  • Tony Chan. Jesus was not resurrected from the dead until the third day, and it was 40 days later that he ascended to heaven as a spirit being. So what spirit left him when he died.? (Acts 1:3, 9) Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 20:48
  • If Jesus became immortal why does he disguise himself as a Gardner and eat - Luke 24:39 - "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have". Also had HS before baptized Matthew 1:18-20 - “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…” everyone has spirit - 1 Corinthians 2:11 - For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 14:06
  • @anothertheory where do you get your idea of being immortal means you don't eat? Jesus has a body, powered by spirit not breath, made everliving not able to die anymore, he is a risen, transformed human like we will be when we are raised - he's the firstborn of many brethren. He was never not a human and will always be. (Rom 8:29)
    – Steve
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 9:02
  • @user48152 - Immortal was not my word, but, when you die you become a spirit and cannot die again - Rom 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 1 Pet 3:18 ‘For Christ also died for sins once for all… so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit’. Jesus in Luke 24:39 a spirit has no flesh and bones like he has clearly implying that he is not a spirit/ghost and eats. (many more examples). Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 11:33

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