It Is Finished!
My Dear Friend in Christ:
This Easter I want to not just look at the Resurrection, but the Cross. When Jesus will say, what many believe was His last word, “Tetelestai’ (what was probably the Hebrew “yesh kalah),” it has great meaning. The English translation “It is Finished” does reflect the meaning, but what our Lord meant was so much more.
It will, of course, mean His physical ordeal is over. His physical body is now depleted. It has been beaten, hailed, hung, and mutilated and now on the darkest day in history it is over. Our Lord will have given His Spirit to the Father and breathed His last. And it means, as well, that He no longer need bear the weight of my sins, your sins, or those of the world. He has paid the price, a price beyond words to describe; carrying all the sorrows, regrets, remorse of not millions, but billions. For this He came, “to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb.9:26).
Also at an end is His separation from the Father. Our Lord when uttering that sorrowful cry, “My God My God why hast thou abandoned me?” it revealed what we cannot even fathom. A bond, that existed long before time and space were created, was torn asunder. Jesus was bearing what God in His holiness could not behold, the entirety of human sin and evil. But in death the price was paid and the rent was now mended.
It is also the end of our Lord having to empty Himself of His divine prerogatives (Phil. 2:7-8). He has again adorned Himself with “all authority” (Mt.28:18). He has openly confounded evil, for the “Lion of Judah” has conquered (Rv.5:5). Finished is God’s plan of redemption. Only the resurrection remains, awaiting the dawn of the first day of the week, thus the beginning of God’s new creation.
This was all to “fulfill prophecy,” meaning all expectations concerning the “Son of David” and the “chosen servant.” All that Israel was to be is now complete in this the “perfect Son.” All that was spoken of concerning God’s purpose has been met in Him alone. His healings and miracles were to open us to a new world. And always so much more, for this begins something new; the Kingdom of God is now a reality. Our gospels are not so much about how Jesus turns out to be God, but how God became King on earth as He is in heaven. He now reigns from the throne of David, and we still struggle to know what that really means.
What occurred on that small hill outside the gates of the city is the center of history, and the world. Here is an event in which 2,000 years of history cannot diminish. It is the hope of the world, of history, of everything. When “doubting Thomas” finally faced the risen Lord, His confession was the culmination of John’s gospel. But when he said, “My Lord and my God,” it really doesn’t come close to saying all that these events mean.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is so much more than we can as yet understand,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
Christians, civil disobedience, and war: The March letter was at the printer when Russian forces invaded Ukraine, so I was unable to express any thoughts on this obvious preventable “war.” Such ineptitude is found too often in our supposed leaders, which is disheartening and a little alarming. It makes it necessary to view what Paul says in Romans carefully, and as provisional. For Paul says, “submit to the governing authorities…for they hold no terror for those who do right,” and “do right and they will commend you,” things unfortunately change (Rm.13:1,3). In just a couple of years these same authorities will cut off Paul’s head. That political authority is “instituted by God” (13:1), is not always true. Nero, Domitian, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin, and yes, Putin to name a few, were not instituted by God. We must study all of scripture, for Peter and John will say, “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). This was uttered after authorities demanded that the disciples no longer preach the “gospel.” Clearly, we have a higher authority, as do all freedom loving people, to not submit to unjust and unrighteous demands.
Given our distance from these events we might feel immune. However, some injustices have not been that far away, so we need each other, and all Christians to pray as one. Pray now that our “authorities” display above all wisdom, and certainly patience and grace. Not react blindly, but with understanding (see Lk.14:28-32).