“LORD, into Your Hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Is Jesus dying on the cross when he says this?

Jesus states this as he leaves his physical body as it died on the cross. How do we know this?

Luke 23:46 continues with:
Having said this, he breathed his last.
The Book of Mark states:
Then Jesus cried out loudly, and his spirit passed. (Mark 15:37)
The Book of Matthew states:
After Jesus called out again with a loud voice, his spirit departed. (Matt. 27:50)
The book of John states:
And he bowed his head and released his spirit. (John 19:30)
So we find clear evidence from all four Gospels that the spirit of Jesus left his physical body at the time of death.

So what is the "spirit" of Jesus? It is the person Jesus - the soul - the person - the personality. As did Jesus, each of us is wearing a temporary physical body. When that body dies, the person - the spirit - the soul - leaves the physical body. This is why at the time of death, the physical body becomes lifeless. Because the spirit-person leaves the body at the time of death.

In the verses above, "spirit" is being translated from the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma). This word means, according to the lexicon:
"the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated; the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides; the soul; a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting"
These are all describing the self - the spirit-person. For example, "The vital principle by which the body is animated" means that the physical body is only alive due to the presence of the spirit-person, who "animates" the physical body. This is also the soul, according to the above definition.

Thus it is not as if we each have a soul: Each of us is a soul.

How do we know that Jesus' body died?

We know from the Gospels that indeed, Jesus' spirit-person did leave. His physical body became lifeless. This fact that Jesus' physical body was lifeless is confirmed when the soldiers went to break his legs and saw that his body was without life:
But when they came to Jesus’ body and saw it was dead already, they did not break his legs. (John 19:33)
This and other verses confirm that Jesus' physical body was lifeless. Jesus - the spirit-person - had left this physical body.

Jesus repeatedly confirmed that we are not these physical bodies:
And don’t fear those who can kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. (Matt. 10:28)
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41 and Mark 14:38)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (Matt. 6:25 and Luke 12:22)
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life." (John 6:63)
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:6)
In the above verses, we find clear evidence that Jesus taught that we are not these physical bodies. Rather, we are each a soul, spirit or spirit-person. Whatever you want to call us, each of us is temporarily occupying a gross physical body.

This can be compared to getting into an automobile and driving it away. When a driver sits in the driver's seat and drives the car away, the driver occupies the car. The driver does not become the car. At any time, the driver can stop the car, get out, and walk away.

In the same way, the spirit-person is released from the physical body at the time of death.

This understanding awakens a new paradigm regarding the concept of resurrection.

What is resurrection?

The resurrection that Jesus referred to in his teachings was the moment of death, when the spirit-person would rise up and leave the body. In fact, the very word "resurrection" means "to rise."

As Jesus taught, there were two types of resurrection: The resurrection "of the living" and the resurrection "of the dead." (Matt. 22:31-32)

There are two types of resurrection because, at the time of death, the spirit-person can be carried up to the spiritual realm to return to be with the Supreme Being. This is the resurrection of the living.

Or, should we reject our relationship with the Supreme Being, the spirit-person may leave his body and remain in the physical dimension - by occupying another physical body. This is the resurrection of the dead. It is a metaphorical use of the word "dead" - meaning spiritually dead. Meaning when a person's relationship with God is "dead."

This is precisely why Jesus offered himself ("my spirit") to the Supreme Being at the time of his body's death. He was giving himself to God. He was committing himself to God. He was dedicating his life to the Supreme Being.

This kind of dedication or commitment is the only kind that can last. Many will dedicate their lives to becoming wealthy, or to having a family, or to their occupation or their nation. These types of commitments may impress us, but they are all temporary. Once the spirit-person leaves the physical body they are all left behind. The commitment cannot be sealed because these are all based upon the temporary physical body.

But making one's commitment to loving and pleasing God is a permanent endeavor. The commitment continues after the body is dead and decomposed, because the spirit-person lives on to continue that dedication.

This commitment to God is also the goal of life. To surrender oneself to the Supreme Being is our ultimate purpose in life because we are God's children, and we were created to love Him and serve Him.

Committing ourselves to God with love is by definition, life. This is the mainstay of the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of all the Prophets.

Why did Jesus choose these particular words?

Jesus was actually quoting a verse from one of David's Psalms. Jesus was giving tribute to David's commitment to God. Here is the verse with those leading up to it:
In You, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for You are my refuge. Into Your Hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God. (Psalms 31:1-5, NIV)
As we can see, Jesus' statement, "Into Your Hands I commit my spirit" is a direct quote from David's Psalms.

This means that Jesus is feeling the rest of what David is saying. He is taking refuge in the Supreme Being. He is taking shelter in God.

This is not out of the blue. Throughout Jesus' ministry, he indicated his loving commitment to the Supreme Being:
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do what pleases Him who sent me and to complete His work." (John 4:34)
"By myself I can do nothing; As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
"For I have descended from the spiritual realm not to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
And he went a little farther and fell facedown and prayed, “O my LORD, if possible, please let this cup be taken from me – yet not what pleases me but what pleases You.” (Matt. 26:39)
So we see from these and other verses that Jesus had committed his life to loving and pleasing his beloved, the Supreme Being.

We find throughout the Gospels that Jesus was exchanging a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This was what his life was about. And he illustrated this with his focused commitment to teaching us about our lost relationship with the Supreme Being.

Even in the face of being persecuted, Jesus continued to teach those around him how to come to know and love the Supreme Being. Even his most important teaching was this very principle:
“ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)