A simple phrase. Spoken when all seemed lost. A man dying, breathing his last. The hopes and dreams of many quietly slipping away as the sun steadily crept toward the horizon.
It is finished.
Words which topple kingdoms. A phrase which brings hope to many. In a single moment, a love so great was poured out like an ocean. A compassion so huge it would probably eclipse the sun. Hope. Life. Power. Redemption. Reconciliation. All from a single phrase.
It is finished.
A man who entertained the greatest of suffering to bring many home spoke these words in his final moment. He gave the power to all to stand under the onslaught of the greatest enemy. The battle won. The enemy defeated. Death got a taste of its own.
All because he first loved us.
A little while back, I was struglling with some serious life problems. (I think you have all gathered as much from pervious posts.) I reached a crossroad. A fork in the path. Left or right? Do I sit patiently and wait? Do I pursue? Do I choose to act on the promises I whole heartedly believed the Lord had made to me? Do I move on? Where is the line between inactivity and waiting on the Holy Spirit? Is he telling me to wait? Go? Did he already answer my questions and I missed it? There were too many questions and no one had the answers. The more people I asked, the farther from the truth I got. I prayed long and hard and was met only with a huge question mark. It was hard. I honestly had no idea where to turn or where to go.
Then one Wednesday night, I met the answer like a fullback meeting an inside linebacker. It was a collision. Like a train. Or something.
I had been attending a campus ministry called Wesley for a couple of weeks. Never in my life have I been in a place more filled with the power of the living God. It was in this place where I learned God was truly real. Truly alive and very much in control. On this particular night, the speaker walked on stage and mentioned he didn’t have much to say. He said he just wanted to read the story of Jesus’ last few moments on the cross. As he began to read, I found myself getting lost. It was like I was there, on that hill, watching my savior breathe his last. I could feel the heat. Smell the sweat and tears of those around me. I could hear the Roman soldiers throwing dice at his feet. Then the moment came, Jesus looked toward heaven and with his final breath whispered, “It is finished.”
Something in my brain exploded. It is finished. The answer to all my questions, doubts, and concerns. Whatever was in the past was done. Over. And for the time being was no more. It was truly finished. At first, I felt only sadness and heartache. But, if we continue to follow the story, it was only after Jesus breathed those final words did the party truly begin. His work on the earth was done. All that was left was to celebrate. And celebrate he did. He got up from the grave and gave us all the chance to enter into complete fellowship with him. Jesus had made a way. His work, his life, his purpose was to bridge the gap between fallen creation and perfect God. The end was the beginning. And so it was in my heart. The end of one season brought the beginning of another and I will never be the same.
When Jesus spoke this phrase, he was giving us all authority in heaven and under heaven. The power of the enemy had been defeated and a direct line between us and the creator had been established. How often do we sit and ponder over past blunders and mistakes? Our minds our like broken record players or when iTunes gets stuck on repeat. We relive hurt, defeat and failure over and over and over. Maybe Jars of Clay says it best. “I’d rather feel the pain all to familiar then be broken by a lover I don’t understand.” So, instead of living under the power of the Cross, we live under the hurt of the past, hoping time will heal. But as I said before, it never does.
So, I have a proposition. Why don’t we stop worrying about the past and move on to new life? You see, the story doesn’t end with, “It is finished.” Nope. It’s really only the beginning. There could be no resurrection if a death didn’t happen first. I believe the same is true in our own lives. Somethings must die so new things can come alive. When they do, trust me, you will never be the same. I know I’m not.
This may be harsh, but I hope and pray we all experience a death to something in our lives so we can party at the resurrection. I have come under the impression, bad leads to the discovery of good, pain to the discovery of love, and death to the discovery of life. I will even go as far as to say finding new life is worth the pain before it. I would not trade the place I am now for anything in the world and I wouldn’t have gotten here without traveling through the pit first. As Momma always says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
So, let the journey for life begin. It is finished. It is the beginning.