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“It is finished!”

July 1, 2013

As he so often does, Jay’s comments leading into the lesson ‘set the stage,’ giving us something to compare or contrast with what will follow.
His comments had me thinking of all that has transpired in the past few decades and how the Cross is therefore such a magnificent counterpoint. There is an ancient Chinese curse (or so I’ve been told) that says, “May you live in interesting times.” We certainly do live in such times, perhaps more than any previous generation.
• Since terrorists turned airliners into guided missiles, the threat of such recurring has impacted our daily lives in ways we’d never imagined
• A war supposedly arising from those events in 2001 (not exactly what Stanley Kubrick envisioned I’m sure) continues with the toil in suffering and death incalculable around the world and at home
• Succeeding generations in this country moving further and further from what many have thought as foundational truths
• Political ‘leaders’ who no longer lead leaving our country wafting as a dandelion seed in light and varying winds, blown in different directions by public opinion or the spinmeisters in our nations’ capitals.
• Evolving viruses and bacteria that seem better able to resist the best that medical science can develop to combat them
These and more have many bereft of hope and fearful of what each day will bring, but an event that occurred two thousand years ago in an isolated, unimportant part of the Roman Empire is a hinge upon which all of history (His-story) turns.
• For many years the importance of the execution of this one person was recognized in the way that we told time
o B.C. for those years prior to the coming of this person (Before Christ)
o A.D. from the Latin Anno Domini which means Year of Our Lord
• Somewhat recently those who would seek to hide the influence of this person introduced a new way of annotating each year
o B.C.E. for Before Common Era
o C.E. for Common Era
• While Jay taught, an idea came to me to reclaim that reminder of that ‘hinge’ event that can introduce hope to a hopeless world for all the “…whosoever wills…”
o B.C.E. for Before Christ Exalted
o C.E. for Christ Exalted
His victory that day shines into our present day with all the radiance of Heaven to tell us that no matter how dark the night we live in now, a Day is coming that will forever banish darkness, death and disease from even our memories…forever!

Perspectives on the Cross
God the Father
• The Father’s hand was working ‘behind the scenes’ fulfilling in what happened that Day words He’d given to prophets of an earlier time
o “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” John 19: 24 citing Psalm 22:18
o “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’” John 19: 28 citing Psalm 69:21
o “Not one of his bones will be broken.” John 19: 36 citing Exodus 12:46
o “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” John 19:37 citing Zechariah 12:10
• Jesus amazed the Roman procurator who thought he was in charge that Day by telling him that any authority he had was given to him, not by Caesar, but from God (vs. 11), casting all blame upon Caiphas for delivering him to the Roman authorities, but God’s hand moving in the events preceding this ‘trial’ clearly intended this to occur
• The righteous wrath of the Father against all sin of all time was absorbed that Day
o Propitiation occurred with Jesus’ victory that Day, placing an period forever at the end of sin’s sentence in humanity’s life
o Under Torah, atonement was made throughout the year and annually during the observances surrounding Yom Kippur, but these sacrifices atoned for sin by covering them temporarily with the blood of innocent animals placing, at best, a comma or semi-colon at the end of each years’ sins
o In the Cross there is an complete absorbing of all sins of all time with no further need of any sacrifices
God the Son
• Many prophets, teachers, and philosophers have spoken throughout the ages and much of what they had to say had great import, affecting millions of lives
• Of all that was written, all that was said, the three most important words ever spoken were said by Jesus that Day, “…It is finished…” John 19:30
o This was not the resigned sigh of someone who had dared greatly and lost
o No whiny, pleading complaint about impending death from being mistreated by those who didn’t understand
o No, this was a paean of victory, announcing to all that His mission was completed in total
• Under Torah, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies once every year with the blood of sacrifice during Yom Kippur to sprinkle it upon the mercy seat
o Each high priest who entered did so with trembling limbs and, once he’d completed the task he’d come for, left to the safety of the outside

o Jesus had no such trepidation entering Heaven’s Holy of Holies as He entered, not with the blood of animals, but His own as the offering
o Also unlike the high priests throughout the history of Israel, He did not flee from the presence of the Father, but He sat down because that is where He belonged; “…After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1: 3b
• The righteous wrath of the Father had been satisfied…forever that Day and what the world viewed as an ignominious failure, was actually His coronation
o The Romans jeered, mocking the Jews and their ‘king’ throughout the events leading up to and including the crucifixion of Jesus
 Pilate’s comment, “Behold your King!,” mocked the Jewish aspirations for a king to deliver them from Rome
 “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’” John 19:19; here too we see Pilate’s jeering of not only this ‘king,’ but the Jewish leaders as well
o Yes, the Romans jeered, but Heaven cheered at the coronation of the King
The Believer
• As those who have believed, there is a realization that Jesus did die in my place, paying a debt He did not owe to relieve me of a lien on my heart that I could never hope to pay
• With that realization comes an awe and sense of gratitude that throughout eternity I will be unable to express adequately
o Interestingly enough, one of my favorite songs, You Raise Me Up, this version sung by Aled Jones, is on Pandora© right now and that is an appropriate counter point to this lesson

• “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” vs. 37
o All mankind was represented at the Cross through the Roman soldiers, the Jewish religious leaders and crowd
o All of us look upon the One that we pierced with our sin
• While making Provision for all mankind for all time, Jesus also made provision for the care of His mother
o Under Torah as the eldest son He would be the one of the family responsible for the care of His widowed mother
o At this point, none of His family were present, so He spoke to John the apostle (the only one of the apostles who was at the Cross); “’Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” vs. 26b, 27
 Jay pointed out that this was a legally binding contract that the eldest was responsible to perform prior to his death
• Why is Satan mentioned in the lesson; he too had a part to play
o The conniving, twisted plans of the Adversary were working (he thought) as Judas, the religious leaders and the crowd turned from Jesus
o How he must have chortled in glee to see Jesus mocked and beaten, then taken to that bloody hill outside Jerusalem and nailed to the Cross
o There must have been dancing and merriment as well as a sense of satisfaction that finally, “I got Him!”
o Yes, there was partying going on with those who were watching Jesus died, until Jesus said, “It is finished.” To Satan, that was a definite Urkel moment
 Steve Urkel (role played by Jaleel White in the show Family Matters) was a rather clumsy, ham-handed teen who was constantly getting into trouble by his actions
 Whenever something would go wrong (as it often did when he was around), he would always quip, “Did I do that?”
• Satan, hearing Jesus state that the contract was fulfilled, the lien on humanity expunged forever, must have had the same thought as he realized that he was forever defeated and that his plotting and planning had all been part of God’s plan all along
The Unbeliever
• There are only two options for the unbeliever
o They are among those who put Jesus on the Cross
o They are among those who put Jesus on the Cross

• The crowd on Golgotha that day contained representatives of all humanity
o Jews and Gentiles
o John 19:37 has no distinction between Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the Jews and Gentiles in the crowd, the Roman soldiers
o All of us through them do look upon the One we have pierced and must decide what to do with Him
Two men stand out in the crowd; among those who looked upon Jesus’ body as it hung lifeless upon the Cross were Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea, both distinguished men in the community who had been secret agent believers “…for fear of the Jews…”
• As members of the Sanhedrin and looked up to in the community, they had a lot to lose in terms of influence and prestige if it became known that they did believe in Jesus
• Despite this, they chose to be identified with Jesus by going to Pilate and asking for permission to take His body down and prepare it for burial
o Jay noted that once His side had been pierced by that Roman spear, never again would any hand touch Him but those of the ones who believed in Him and loved Him
o His suffering was done, His mission complete
• So ‘Nick’ and ‘Joe’ became instant pariahs in the Jewish community, but lovingly took down the body and placed it in a tomb
o Think of that, here is the end (as far as the world can see) of someone who had dared greatly and failed
o Just as the thief on the cross beside Jesus had recognized Who Jesus was and entered into belief despite seeing with his eyes that Jesus had no visible kingdom or apparent power, so ‘Joe’ and ‘Nick’ saw with eyes of faith and chose to lose a lot to gain everything
o The analogy that Jay used, comparing a dunk tank of water that is a lot of water with the Atlantic Ocean; what ‘lot’ are you holding onto for fear of what your friends or family may think of you if you follow this crucified King? That ‘lot’ is a mere pittance in comparison to the ‘everything’ you gain
John stepped out of the narrative (as it were) in verse 35 to speak to the readers through the ages,
• “He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.”
So, what will you do with Jesus?

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