The Last Prayer of Jesus


At his death Jesus surrenders his Spirit back to God: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (pneuma)" (Luke 23.46). Because pneuma has the same duality of meaning as the Hebrew ruach, the last prayer of Jesus can equally well be written in English: "Father, into your hands I commend my breath." And as the Gospel points out in the very next sentence, that is just what Jesus did: "Having said this, he breathed his last." In the Greek text of this sentence, the word "breathed" (exepneusen ) is derived from pneuma. It means literally "he breathed out his pneuma".