44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 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. 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Thoughts: One scientist estimated that the last breath of Jesus (or anyone) probably released 0.5 x 6 x 10 to the 23rd molecules. Just the 10 to the 23rd is a ridiculously large number—10 with 22 zeros after it. A trillion trillion molecules. Enough of these molecules were released and scattered into the atmosphere that it is mathematically probable that we are breathing at least one of these molecules right now that came from Jesus' last breath (cf. http://www.stpaulsfay.org/id413.html). The affect of Jesus' last breath, however, is not just that we breathe it now. The greatest affect of Jesus death is that he died as a sacrifice in our place. The significance of it was seen in darkness at noon (like an eclipse) and the curtain dividing the presence of God from the unclean in the Holy of Holies was torn in two. Even a hardened Roman centurion knew this was not an ordinary death. Being aware of the significance of Christ's death is important in Jesus' own words who described it as a "ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45); as a sacrifice (Jn. 10:15,18)' and as a means to escape eternal death (Jn. 3:16). His was not just an ordinary life. His teachings were not ordinary teachings. His death also was not an ordinary one.
Prayer: Lord you are a part of who I am. I give myself to you today because you have given yourself to me.
John Calvin Abridged: Although in the death of Christ the glory of the Godhead was concealed and as Paul said was "emptied" (Phil. 2:7). Yet even in the crucifixion some hints are given of Christ's future glory. The obscuration of the sun, the earthquake, the splitting of rocks and the rending of the veil occurred as if heaven and earth were rendering homage to their creator. Darkness aroused them to consider their rejection of Christ and the astonishing design of God in Christ's death. I do not think the darkness covered the whole earth, but because it covered Judea it pointed the whole world to this miraculous event. The last cry of Christ shows us the intensity of his sorrow and that he, being separated from the Father, was bearing our judgment and wrath. That Christ commends his spirit to the Father shows his faith is still entact. When the centurion, who was an irreligious man, commented that he was righteous, he affirmed his previous claims of being the Son of God. While the disciples fled, the women were there as witnesses to all these things.