"It is finished."
These were the last words Jesus' few but faithful disciples at Calvary, at the foot of His cross, were to hear from their Rabbi.
Many had fled in fear of facing the same death for being associated with Him.
Few stayed...John-the disciple that Jesus loved-stayed, and at Jesus' word, became Mary's son. Mary, the mother of Jesus, stayed at the foot of the cross. Knowing well before His birth, what He would have to suffer. But could she truly comprehend the total agony she would have to watch her son face hanging on the cross, knowing He was fully God at the same time?!
One denied Jesus three times, when only twenty-four hours earlier, he swore he would never do such a thing.
"It is finished."
The fulfillment of every prophecy of old. The completion of the rescuing of mankind.
Luke 4:18-21:"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
These were Jesus' words in the synagogue, directly quoting a prophecy of Isaiah.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Living He loved, dying He saved, buried He carried sin as far away as the east is from the west.
The three nails, one in each hand, the last pierced through His feet, were like heavy stakes, more than tiny nails today.
He took them for me.
For me? How can this be?
Once we were separated from God, an inconquerable barrier of sin. Sacrifices were made in former days, to atone for sins. Offerings of fire, smoke and spices rose for Yahweh to praise, and ask for forgiveness and from Him.
Then Jesus came; completely blameless...fully God, fully man. God's only Son.
Sent to earth to not just teach man about the Lord, to prophecy about times to come.
But to die.
To die for what? Why?
Not only to die, but to rebuild the temple in three days. To conquer sin and death. To vanquish it for all eternity. When religious leaders tested Jesus when He had been teaching in the synagogue one day, Jesus told them He would tear down the temple and rebuild it again in a mere three days. It had taken over forty years to build this temple, and religious leaders scoffed at Jesus' words. These religious leaders did not remember the prophecies of old where Isaiah proclaimed that the Messiah would speak in parables.
Jesus did not speak in literal terms when He spoke about the temple. He spoke about His body being broken for the sins of all mankind; the act of an ultimate sacrifice to take away God's wrath and bridge the great divide between God and man.
The blood that would not stain but wash clean, white, our sins in God's sight.
This was one of His many prophecies that He would be killed, and then rise again.
He would walk on the earth after three days, the spotless Lamb of God, fully God and fully man; bearing the scars that took away our, MY, sins!His is the ultimate sacrifice. He was the perfect, blameless Lamb of God, sacrificed for the forgiveness of all of mankind's sins.
Fully God, fully man.
How can this be?
He is the Great High Priest, whose name is Love. Just as He prophesied, He is now sitting at the right hand of God, making intercession for us by showing His Father the nail wounds in His hands. The holes in his feet, His pierced side.
Everyday, we should be aware and thankful of just how great Jesus' sacrifice was to reconcile us with the Father. Not just today, Ressurection Sunday, but everyday, we should allow the radical freedom His death and ressurection brings to change our outlook, actions, thoughts and words, our very lives, from our selfish ambitions to doing God's work.
Not because we need to earn God's love, favor and grace, but out of gratitude for what Jesus did for us, widely celebrated in varying ways on this day.
Christ the Lord has risen today, alleluia! the old hymn goes.....if I might close with words not my own, but words from a new 'hymn' we sang today to celebrate this blessed Ressurection Sunday.