From the cross Jesus said “It is finished.” His head dropped and He gave up the spirit. The last thing He tasted was vinegar and then that was it. Imagine being there at the cross with the darkness and the earthquakes and the walking dead. In this epic moment, after 30-something years on this earth, after a manger, magi, and worrying His parents. After gathering disciples, after being baptized and heaven ripping open, after weddings and passovers and lots and lots of walking and lots and lots of healing and teaching and rebuking and reviving. Finally, after it all, “It is finished.”
Does it feel finished to you? I mean, laundry still piles up. By the way, laundry is all Adam and Eve’s fault. We have a saying in our house, “Dishes, dishes, always dishes.” It’s spring. Are you ready for spring cleaning? Do you have cobwebs in your basement that need clearing? Is your lawn mowed yet? Add in all the curveballs you get each week. All the unexpected, unanticipated bumps in the road of life, add it all up and then tell someone “It is finished.” I mean, this was 2,000 years ago and we’re still doing laundry.
So is it finished? Since Jesus died, we have had so many wars. The fall of Rome and the rise of the goths. The Turks overtaking Constantinople and beyond. The crusades and vikings raiding. England versus France versus Spain. Pirates in the Carribean. Mongols and Ottomans. Slavery and Civil War. Not just one World War, but two. Dictators killing millions of their own people. Nuclear explosions decimating entire cities. Billions of lives slain by the sword, ruined by greed, vanity, and selfish intent. Still Christians are being murdered daily for confessing Christ, even today. People are being taken advantage of like sheep. In our civilized society, the news is still filled with atrocities in our own backyard. But Jesus says “It is finished.”
So is it finished? Are we over this pandemic or is there another wave? Will our churches ever recover from the loss of people? We hear that our country is more secular than ever. Where a rapper can sell out his satanic shoes made with actual drops of human blood. Where our kids stop attending worship and those people that used to be here every week, they just stopped coming. Churches that used to be packed every Sunday are just trying to hang on, to pay the bills, to find whoever they can so that they hear about Jesus again this week. Church leadership made up of a handful of people who have been doing it for the past 10…20 years? Exhausted people and pastors who are tempted to grab some pills or a bottle or anything to turn off their brains. But Jesus, He says “It is finished.”
So is it finished? When we have to watch our favorite people slowly dwindle away. When dementia rots away memories. When cancer takes over bodily real estate. And it’s not happening with “people out there”. It’s right in our own home, in our own families, in our own churches. People we love and cherish. Good, loving, faithful, dedicated. We watch them slowly diminish and it really, really hurts. And Jesus says, “It is finished!”
What is finished Jesus? What is it that you came here to die for? Because this world is hard and it doesn’t ever seem to be finished. It keeps piling on the difficulties. What have you done, Jesus? What have you done?
Jesus came into the world humbly. Not with shock and awe. He served Joseph and Mary. He touched and healed the unclean. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He came to do the unexpected. He came to finish what has been nagging humanity since the construction of clothing. He came to make a payment for sin. He came with the massive wealth of God pumping in His veins. Blood more precious than your grandmother’s wedding ring and more impressive than the bank accounts of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and all the wealth of all people combined. It was on that cross that He wrote out the check to purchase humanity for all time. God, in His weakest moment, did what we could never do on our best day. This is a dirty rags to riches story where He dies and you live forever.
When Jesus says “It is finished.” He is declaring that you will never need to work another day in your life. What I mean is, there is no hill to climb to find God. There is no level of spirituality you have to attain, no level of perfection you need to achieve. When He said it is finished, He means you have entered into spiritual rest simply by faith. He has clothed you with an imperishable and immaculate robe of righteousness.
How does this reconcile the laundry and the wars and the church and the pain we experience today? The work of Christ on the cross set something in motion. Part of the plan was finished. The part where Christ came in humility to pay for sin. You see, Jesus has experienced all of this too, even death itself. He walked in your shoes. His heart went out to the sick, the weak, the downtrodden. He wept for friends who died and even for an entire city of people while everyone around joyfully shouted “Hosanna in the highest!” He has known weakness and pain. He endured suffering beyond our mental capacity. That humility, that weakness, that is what was finished on the cross. Not for Himself. Like I mentioned earlier, it was for you.
There is another part of the plan where Jesus will return. Where He will approach the throne of God with you in tow and He will point to His down payment for you, paid for in His blood, and He will tell the Father He purchased you. That He has prepared a place for you. That death has been swallowed up for you. You will see, with your own eyes, angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, countless saints from Stephen who was stoned to death to my friend Steve Kuhl who died in January. You will stand washed by the blood of the lamb and radiant in your new robe. Your sins will be set to fire with the crusty blood on the cross in this old world. And you will live like you have never lived before. When that happens, it will truly and completely be finished.
Until then we struggle with the flesh. We wrestle with a broken world. We drown the Old Adam daily. But we do it all by what was done for us on the cross. Not like people who have no hope. God pokes our fabric of time and gives us a foretaste of the feast to come. We taste what was finished on the cross, redemption and forgiveness and strength for the days ahead. He sustains us in this life. Take heart. Be encouraged. This world can be a rough place but Jesus has overcome the world and in Christ, so have you. Find your rest in Christ because in Him, truly, it is finished.