Thursday, April 09, 2009

Seven Last Words of Christ (6)

John 19.30      When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I strive to be a perfectionist, and yet I fail miserably at it.  It never fails, after every paper that I have turned in, after every project I have completed, after every sermon I deliver, instead of feeling satisfied with what I accomplished, I always feel that twinge within me that second guesses.  What if I had done that instead?  Should I have added more to this or done less of that?  I wish I remembered to do this or had not said that.  And it never fails that ultimately, I drive myself into a temporary depressed state over unfinished work.  I cannot let it go.

At times throughout my life I have often transferred my “What if’s” to Jesus.  The gospels tell us Jesus began his public ministry around the age of 30 and continued until his death on the cross about three years later.  I hardly can imagine doing everything I possibly would like to accomplish in just three years.  I have at times wondered what if Jesus had more time.  What if Jesus had taken his ministry beyond Galilee.  What if Jesus went took his message straight to the Greeks or even to Rome itself.  Was there something more he meant to say or do before he gave up his life at such an early life?  I’m sure the disciples also held many of these questions in those two days before the empty tomb.

But as Jesus hung on that cross, grasping for his very last breath of life, looking upon his mother, his aunt, Mary Magdalene, and the disciple whom he loved, John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus knew all was now finished.  And as he released his final breath, he proclaimed, “It is finished.”  In other words, he fully accomplished what his Father sent him to do in the sake of the world.  There was nothing else, nothing more, nothing less that he was to do.  

I am comforted to know that through all of my own flaws, faults, and inadequacies, there is one who completes me.  And the assurance is that there is nothing more I can say or do as my Savior Lord said it all on that cross on my behalf, "It is finished."  And for that I am eternally grateful.

Prayer:  Gracious Lord, help me to better know your will for me today so that I can accomplish the work you have set out for my life.  Give me the courage, strength, and discipline through your Holy Spirit to tend to work you set before me.  I pray my work to be finished when it is my time for you to call me to my heavenly home, saying, “Well done.”  It is in Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Wes Brandon is the pastor of Bensalem Presbyterian Church in Eagle Springs, North Carolina.

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