"When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he gave up his spirit." (John 19:25)
Triumphal entry; a week of growing controversy and tension; the Last Supper; Gethsemane; betrayal; arrest; questions; denial; trial; abuse; crucifixion; death... - finality.
It is finished. Completed; achieved; accomplished; consummated; fulfilled. This statement was, in effect, Jesus's last deep breath, the kind you take after the completion of a long an arduous task; the successful conclusion; a compact benediction.
Christ's ministry here on earth had been remarkable to the extreme. His three years of public service were so crucial that he had spent a full thirty years in preparation. Thirty years! Thirty years of preparation for Immanuel - God incarnate; the wisest, most complete, perfect human ever to walk the face of this earth.
Terrible as it was, the statement "It is finished" was an exclamation point, an affirmation that the Son was completely successful in his mission. Because the moment Christ died the possibility of my redemption was born.
Sometimes I wish that Adam and Eve had not set the ball rolling in terms of rebellion; I like to think that I would have been different, and that people like us would not have had to leave the Garden. But I know it is not true, that it wouldn't have been any different if it had been me, that my particular predilection toward disobedience would - quite quickly - have severed the relationship God intended.
I'm not sure if I would have been deceived like Eve, or if I would simply have been defiant and contemptuous of God without any prompting. But I do understand that I have equal share in the guilt, and that I am fooling myself if I think I would have handled things any better.
What Jesus accomplished on Good Friday, when "It is finished" echoed through the enormity of time, was to open the door for me, and to present me before God as if I actually were worthy. In fact, because of Jesus, I am worthy; we all are. And for us, this life of redemptive grace has only just begun.
PRAYER: Thank you, God, for giving us a new beginning because of Jesus. Thanks for restoring us to the possibility of relationship. Amen