After this, Jesus, knowing[a] that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
~ John 19:28 - 30
Have you ever noticed that when Jesus says, "It is finished," that he isn't necessarily talking about himself?
I think for many of us we miss that important detail. Obviously those folks that were standing in the shadow of the cross, witnessing his death, and recording his final words, didn't recognize that he was simply referring to a chapter.
For some, hearing those words can bring about many thoughts. I was listening to someone share with me recently that he felt as if God was "done with me."
It was an overpowering feeling that he had because of some things that had occurred in his life. "Everyone else in my life is done with me. I just assumed God was, too."
What if Jesus' final words was him crying out, "It is beginning!"
For a society that is scared to death to talk about dying, or to recognize that death is the welcoming of eternity, our understanding of dying might look much different if we truly saw it as a new beginning. The physical death that Jesus experienced is an image that we all struggle to understand, although with the world's current environment, we seem to have daily illustrations that demonstrate what humanity is capable of unleashing on one another.
Jesus, as he prays in the garden, asks that "this cup pass from me." (Matthew 26:39) The cup is the reality of the death that he will soon experience, and the events that were about to unfold. It is about an ending.
On any given day in my ministry, I may encounter the words, "it is finished," while holding on to the reality that no one is saying, "I am finished."
As I have shared before, we are Ecclesiastical people filled with many chapters, that contain both beginnings and endings. All of which, are very important. I'm grateful that Jesus didn't declare, "I am finished!" His words remind us that at no time are any of us completely finished, and that God is never finished with us!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.