Monday, January 10, 2011

It is Finished--John 19:29-30

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Of all the Scriptures God gave me to accompany my one word – Finish – this one convicts me most.  In last week’s verse I learned that God is not glorified in unfinished tasks.  In this Scripture, I learn that God does not leave tasks unfinished.

In Psalm 69:21 David writes, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  In John 19:29, this prophecy is fulfilled, when the soldiers offer Jesus vinegar to quench his thirst. 

I believe he knew every prophecy that had been written about him, and he knew when they were fulfilled.  It almost seems to me that he knew this was the last one and his task would be complete. Drinking this vinegar was the last thing he had to do before he “gave up the ghost.”

I’ve always liked that phrase, “gave up the ghost.” What a picturesque way to say, “He died.” But when I think about it here I realized that Jesus is the only person who ever lived who actually had the power to “give up” his life.  He knew he had FINISHED the job he came to do, and He chose that moment do die.

We’ve often heard that he could have called ten-thousand angels to remove him from that Cross.  Likewise, I believe the decision of when to die was entirely in his hands.  He could have chosen any moment before then to be relieved of his terrible pain.  But he waited, just until the job was FINISHED.  He had suffered unspeakable pain for sins not his own.  He had fulfilled all the prophecies, right down to this tiny one.  His suffering was FINISHED.  The plan to purchase man’s redemption from sin was FINISHED.  His task was FINISHED.

Jesus came to earth that first Christmas with a task ahead of him that would be the hardest and most painful any person had ever endured.  Perhaps there were moments he loved his job, when teaching little children, when his disciples truly understood his teachings. Perhaps there were times when he hated his job.  This must have been one of those times. 

Jesus did not put off his awful task or dawdle to complete it once he started.  He faced his horrible ordeal head on, and FINISHED it as quickly as he was able.  Since His great task was to buy my pardon, I am so glad he did FINISH it. I am so glad he didn’t call those angels. I am so glad he chose that moment to die and not the one before.   

I worked hard last night to clean a very messy kitchen, but as I look about I see things I left undone:  a pan not washed, a counter not wiped, a table covered with papers.  I am convicted.  I am doing a poor job of applying My One Word.  I am certainly not the finisher that Jesus was.  With his help, I know I can change that.

Later this week, please join me as I review a wonderful little debut novel, Rocky Mountain Hero, written by a new friend of mine, Audra Harders.

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