on Matthew 27 :50
Yielded up the ghost - Αφηκε το πνευμα, He dismissed the spirit. He himself willingly gave up that life which it was impossible for man to take away. It is not said that he hung on the cross till he died through pain and agony; nor is it said that his bones were broken, the sooner to put him out of pain, and to hasten his death; but that himself dismissed the soul, that he might thus become, not a forced sacrifice, but a free-will offering for sin.
Now, as our English word ghost, from the Anglo-Saxon gast, an inmate, inhabitant, guest, (a casual visitant), also a spirit, is now restricted among us to the latter meaning, always signifying the immortal spirit or soul of man, the guest of the body and as giving up the spirit, ghost, or soul, is an act not proper to man, though commending it to God, in our last moments, is both an act of faith and piety; and as giving up the ghost, i.e. dismissing his spirit from his body, is attributed to Jesus Christ, to whom alone it is proper; I therefore object against its use in every other case.
Every man, since the fall, has not only been liable to death, but has deserved it; as all have forfeited their lives because of sin. Jesus Christ, as born immaculate, and having never sinned, had not forfeited his life, and therefore may be considered as naturally and properly immortal. No man, says he, taketh it, my life, from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again, John 10:17, John 10:18. Hence we rightly translate Matthew 27:50, αφηκε το πνευμα, he gave up the ghost; i.e. he dismissed his spirit, that he might die for the sin of the world. The Evangelist St. John (John 19:30) makes use of an expression to the same import, which we translate in the same way: παρεδωκε το πνευμα, he delivered up his spirit. We translate Mark 15:37, and Luke 23:46, he gave up the ghost, but not correctly, because the word in both these places is very different - εξεπνευσε, he breathed his last, or expired; though in the latter place, Luke 23:46, there is an equivalent expression - O Father, into thy hands, παρατιθεμαι το πνευμα μου, I commit my spirit; i.e. I place my soul in thy hand: proving that the act was his own; that no man could take his life away from him; that he did not die by the perfidy of his disciple, or the malice of the Jews, but by his own free act. Thus He Laid Down his life for the sheep. Of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:5,Acts 5:10, and of Herod, Acts 12:23, our translation says, they gave up the ghost; but the word in both places is εξεψυξε, which simply means to breathe out, to expire, or die: but in no case, either by the Septuagint in the Old, or any of the sacred writers in the New Testament, is αφηκε το πνευμα, or παρεδωκε το πνευμα, he dismissed his spirit, or delivered up his spirit, spoken of any person but Christ. Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, etc., breathed their last; Ananias, Sapphira, and Herod, expired; but none, Jesus Christ excepted, gave up the ghost, dismissed, or delivered up his own spirit, and was, consequently, free among the dead. Of the patriarchs, etc., the Septuagint use the word εκλειπων, failing; or κατεπαυσεν, he ceased, or rested.
on Matthew 27 :50
Cried again with a loud voice - He cried, "It is finished," John 19:30. It was in the height of his agony, probably attended with deep groaning, and uttered amid sorrows which were never else experienced in our world. It finished the work of atonement, made the way of salvation possible, rolled away the curse from guilty people, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all true believers.
Yielded up the ghost - This, though a literal translation, is unhappy. It means resigned his spirit, or "expired." The same phrase is used by the Septuagint in describing the death of Rachel. Genesis 35:18.
on Matthew 27 :50