'It is finished'
My mother has a sign in her kitchen that reads ‘Now what did I come in here for?’
Forgetfulness is part of the human condition. Written through the Old Testament is the forgetfulness on the part of the people of Israel of God’s kindness and intervention in their history.
The last words we hear from the cross in John’s gospel are ‘It is finished’. Again this is not simply Jesus giving us an update on how he was doing, but words of eternal significance. These words are here for us to remember the completion of the work of the cross. Not only was Christ speaking of the finishing of the physical sacrifice he was speaking of an end to the separation of humanity from God in sin. In Himself He had paid the penalty for sin and made a way for those who would believe in Him to return to relationship with the Father.
Sometimes in life events happen that make Christians feel like that moment in my mother’s kitchen - the sudden death of a friend, the moral fall of a respected Christian figure, the unanswered prayer. Clarity, purpose and assurance of God seem to evacuate in a passable impression of a sinkhole.
My friend and mentor reminds me that the world around us seeks personal peace and affluence. Often, in the church, we find people who import those desires into Christianity, people who are less inclined to hear the radical teaching of Jesus who offers neither as the world seeks them. Some of them have even made their way into pulpits and vicarages around the country. It is easy for us to slip into that way of thinking - as if bad things only to happen to us because God is not fulfilling his part of the bargain.
These words from the cross are an answer to that question ‘Now what did I come in here for?’ They remind us that Jesus didn’t come to bring us personal peace and affluence but salvation. I came to Jesus for salvation in both life and death. I know that I need to be saved from eternal death and I know that I need to be saved in my everyday life.
When I hear Jesus say ‘It is finished’, I know that the love of God can now be poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, the deposit that guarantees our salvation. And I know that nothing can separate me from the love of God for us in Christ Jesus.