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April 14, 2017

JOURNEY TO EASTER – The Last Sayings of Jesus: Day 5

Journey to Easter - The Last Sayings of Jesus blog title graphic

“It is finished!” John 19:30 (NIV)                                                              

Have you ever considered how you want to finish your life? Will you finish well? Will you have accomplished the purpose for which you were created? Will those closest to you know you loved them? From the cross, Jesus taught us how to finish well. His declaration would become a crowning word of triumph! Three words in English, one word in the Greek, Jesus would cry, “Tetelesthai” – It is finished!  No single word ever uttered has so changed the history and destiny of mankind as this! Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “I am finished!” It wasn’t the whimper of a defeated man offered in resignation. That’s why He cleared His throat just moments before, so that His voice could be clearly heard by all.  It was the shout of a mighty victor! “It is finished!” Redemption was paid in full! The word tetelestai was often used in Jesus day on business documents or receipts to show that a bill had been paid in full. No further debt remained! It is finished! There was no further work to do!

We learn another lesson of grace in this single word from Calvary. Grace means there is a purpose and an end to our pain. One pastor put it like this, “When you’re living through a bad day, don’t expect to be able to ‘read’ the full dimensions of God’s redemptive plan in the middle of your struggle, but never doubt the certainty that it is in process. His call ‘It is finished!’ is our call to hold firm in this assurance: His sovereign power will ultimately win the day.” I love that! What a reminder that, despite the pain and hardship we may experience, God has a purpose and a plan. Every problem has a purpose. No sorrow is wasted. The Psalmist declared,

“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

We often live in the night where darkness clouds our vision. We walk by faith and not by sight. But, one day, we shall see as clearly as we are seen, for we shall see our Savior face to face! No matter what you may be enduring always remember that joy comes in the morning! There is a purpose and an end!

Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46 (NIV) 

Each saying of Jesus from the cross has taught us deeper dimensions of grace! His final statement came on the heels of the one before. While the previous word, “It is finished!” was one of triumph and victory, Jesus final statement was one of trust.

Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:46 (NIV)

Grace means that we can surrender our problem to God and let it go. Sometimes, it seems that what you’re going through will never end. Everything was normal and then, one day, the worst happened. You feel like you’re living in the twilight zone. Nothing is normal. You wonder, Will this ever end? Will I ever feel the same again? How can I move forward? In moments like these, we need the grace of God to surrender the control of our lives in the Father’s hands and let it go. Because we trust our Father’s love and His strong hands to keep us, we can release our hold on life and place it completely and finally in His hands and leave it there. That’s what Jesus did from the cross. Have you ever said, “Father, into Your hands, I commit my life, my marriage, my career, my children, my future?” Whatever you are still holding on to or trying to control that is beyond your ability to change, commit it to God. Rest in His almighty power and experience the freeing grace of letting it go. None of us can really control our lives, but we can all get our lives under His control. Grace means surrendering all my problems to God and letting them go.