Monday, March 11, 2013

Seven Last Words--Finished


Seven Last Words
“It is finished.”
We have come to the end—well right up to it anyway. After crying out that He thirsts, Jesus is given some sour wine and John says that he died. But John does not record our last two Words, one of which is this declaration. 

What does Jesus mean by it is finished? Specifically, what is the “it?” Certainly it includes His life—His time on earth has come to an end. After thirty some odd years, with the most recent 18 or so hours of insult, abuse, desecration, and dehydration, His body is ready to die. 

But we remember that this death is not just that of an itinerant rabbi who came afoul of the law. No, this is Messiah—one appointed as God’s messenger and representative—God Himself in this case. This then is the end to the planned-before-time-mission. Everything in His life; in fact everything in the history of the cosmos has been leading to this moment. He has been faithful even unto death. That death is now here to mark the completion of this mission. Man now has a way to return to God.

It is also though, the end of God’s self-expression incarnate among us. Incarnated to show us God, and in showing us God to reveal to us our true selves. We are made to live as Jesus lived while on earth, but we forget our making and our calling. We give in to fear, to defensiveness, to taking care of Number One. Jesus’ life showed us that such living is antithetical to our true crafting by God.

And too; and perhaps most importantly, we have reached the end of God’s demonstration of His lavish love for us—for you. Too many times we hear that God had to send  Jesus because we are sinful creatures who are totally depraved and have no good in us. That our sin put Jesus on the cross, and for that we are certainly miserable people.

Nothing could be further from the truth. God came incarnated out of His love for you—that was the whole point. John 3.16 tells us that “God SO LOVED the world….” When Jesus looks at the people He says they are like sheep without a shepherd; this is a statement of compassion, not disdain. Jesus tells us that He has come to do the will of the Father, and in Luke chapter 4, He tells us what that will is—to give sight to the blind, to set prisoners free, and to relieve the oppressed, declaring the Lord’s favor.  This has not been a mission of judgment, but one of love.

Because He really loves you. So much so, that He was willing to die for you, and in doing so, to demonstrate the love God has for you. It is finished; did you see it? Do you comprehend His love for you?
Reflection
Read John 3.16-17, and taste the love of God for you. Roll it around in your mouth and sit with it for a while. What thoughts come to mind after a few minutes of contemplating these two verses? What emotions rise up for you?

What does the death of God for you tell you about how God considers people—even those who might kill Him if He showed up again?

What does it tell you about how you should see those same people?

What do you need to do?

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