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Sixth Sunday of Lent - Palm Sunday

Seven last words

Word Six – Triumph


It is finished. John 19:30

Today Jesus rides TRIUMPHANTLY into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowds are  shouting “HOSANNA to the KING”.  By the end of the week, they will be crying out “CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!”


So why the change of heart? What did they hear that could change their minds about who Jesus was? Did they give credence to ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories? Were they afraid of what the Romans could do to them?


Along the way to Calvary, the crowds gather, and they shout even jeer at Jesus. At Golgotha they challenge him to provide proof that he is the Son of God.  Instead, he says “It is finished”.  What does that mean? /uw


What Should We Learn from "It Is Finished"?

It Is Finished (John 19:30) by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson (Jesus Walk)

When we meditate on this Sixth Word from the cross,

what should we learn for our lives?

This is what I see.


1. We Are to Live Lives of Purpose

First, we are to live lives of purpose. Unless Jesus had a purpose, a mission to complete, the words, "It is finished" would have had little meaning. He wasn't speaking of his earthly life that was finished - in fact, his life has no beginning and has no end. Rather, he is speaking of that which the Father had instructed him to do.

 

Our lives may not be so clear, so purpose driven as Jesus' life. However, I believe that one of the signs of maturity in our lives is to discern our spiritual gifts and abilities, and then order our lives so as to maximize what God has given.

 

Jesus told the Parables of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27). In each case, success for the servant was to "trade with" what the master had given him in order to produce the largest possible outcome for the master, given each servant's unique talents, time, and circumstances. The reward was to hear the master say,


"Well done, good and faithful servant ... enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21, RSV)

2. We Are to Live Lives of Focus

Second, living lives of purpose requires us to focus on our priorities. Instead of living scatter-shot lives, we are to aim carefully at the target and make our shots count. This requires focus and discipline. It means saying "No" to some choices so that we can say "Yes" to opportunities that are even better.


3. We Are to Live Lives of Obedience

Third, to be able to say, "It is finished," as Jesus did, our lives must be marked by obedience. Jesus is God, but in his earthly life he willingly obeyed. "He humbled himself and became obedient to death" (Philippians 2:8). Paul put it this way:

 

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Obedience is the opposite of independent action. It means living in obedience to God, not to ourselves.


4. We Must Be Willing to Suffer to Achieve God's Purpose

Finally, to say "It is finished," we must be willing to suffer to achieve God's purpose for our lives. We continue in the sunny summer days as well as the stormy winters of our lives. We don't give up just because things are difficult. We are willing to suffer whatever is necessary to complete the Father's plan for our lives.

When our lives are over, we want to be able to say with St. Paul,

"The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

And with Jesus to say: "It is finished!"


Prayer

Gracious God.

I've wasted much of the momentum of my life

because I've tried to go in so many directions.

Please corral me so that I will focus on your purposes

and your direction for me,

that I might finish this life well.

In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

 

Reflection

  1. A purpose-driven life – what has been the underlying purpose for your life’s journey?

  2. What have you said “NO” to instead of ‘Yes’ that made the greatest difference – the ‘road not taken’?

  3. ‘Obedience is the opposite of independent action.’ How has been reflected in your decision-making?


It is Finished - Matt Papa




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