John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It has always struck me that Jesus’ death was a deliberate act on His part. That said, it certainly was not suicide! It was exactly as He Himself had said: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18) He could have done what the Jewish leaders, the soldiers, and even one of the men crucified with Him, had taunted him Him to do, calling angels to rescue Him. (Matthew 25:53, Luke 23:35-37) However, He knew why He was on that cross, and He wouldn’t let anything keep Him from fulfilling His purpose. Sometimes we take “finished” to mean simply, “over,” and think that Jesus was just saying He didn’t have to suffer any more. The Japanese, however, is much more definite, and accurate, by using a word that means “completed.” In that moment, Jesus completed the salvation of all mankind. That’s not to say that everyone is automatically saved, as much as we might like that to be the case, but that salvation is available to everyone who will repent and believe, without any exceptions. The devil does all he can to hide that fact from people, because it is at the same time his total defeat, but it is our glorious privilege to proclaim it to all who will hear and receive it. There is nothing we can do to add to that salvation, but our grateful, faithful obedience will add to our rewards, as Jesus expressed in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and is mentioned in many more places in the Bible. However, every bit of the “heavy lifting” was accomplished for us by Jesus on that cross.
This reality is fundamental to all mankind, and I must not let my familiarity with it blind me to its magnificence. That’s the grave danger of the psychological reality of familiarity breeding contempt. Not only at Easter but throughout each year, each day, each minute, I need to be aware of what Jesus has done for me and respond appropriately. I have a long way to go to meet that goal fully. Like Paul, I need to “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12) Tomorrow I will have a special opportunity to proclaim the message of salvation, and I need to make full use of it. Rain is forecast, so I have no idea how many children, and perhaps their parents, will come for the program and Easter egg hunt we will be having in the afternoon, but we will be having the Facebook Live broadcast of the morning service, and one of those who regularly receives a CD of the service is not yet a baptized believer. I don’t know how God might use the words He speaks through me, but I’ve got to be fully available and submitted to Him, so that as many as will may be saved.
Father, thank You for Your plan of salvation, and for including me in it. Thank You that in Your economy it was indeed completed 2000 years ago on Calvary. May I be a joyful, useful instrument in that, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!