Scriptural Gem for March 2016

In John 19:28-30 we read: 'Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit' and in 1 Corinthians 15:12-17 we read: 'And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

Above we have Jesus’ statement, "It is finished," that He made while still on the cross contrasted with what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18, especially: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith... and if Christ has not been raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Over time, the cry “It is finished” has become the focal point for many Christians. However, if we leave it at that, we might subconsciously leave Jesus on the cross. In fact, when asked about the gospel message, a common answer is, “Jesus died on the cross for our sins”. If this were the case, Paul would have written, “If Christ has not beencrucified, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” Instead, Paul reminds us that the fullness of our hope lies in the resurrection, not the crucifixion.

How then are we to understand Jesus' statement “It is finished”? Simply put, the Father gave Jesus a very specific task to complete on the cross and it was, in fact, completed. However, the cross was a means to another end, not an end in itself. If we cling to the cross and do not receive that resurrection Life of Christ into ourselves, strangely enough, Paul says that we might as well “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” (1 Corinthians 15:32)

Many things still had to take place after Jesus said, "It is finished.” He was buried, He rose again on the third day, and He appeared to many people over a period of 40 days. Then He ascended, but not before instructing his disciples to "…wait [in Jerusalem] for the gift my Father has promised... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses…." (Acts 1:1-9) The story actually “ends” where God Himself comes and indwells them and us by His Spirit. At this point, we can truly say, "It is finished!" for we may be one with God again.

Where are you, my friend? Are you still there at the cross (wonderful as it is!) contemplating the fact that your debt has been paid, that His blood was shed for you, and “standing” on that as many Christians do? Or are you feeling His nudge even now to move on to that which it facilitated—oneness with Him? He is standing there, waiting to embrace you and indwell you, to give you His Life! Open the door to Him, and indeed, it will be “finished”!