Sunday, April 24, 2011

It Is Finished

Like many writers, I have lots of incomplete articles that have been started on scraps of paper or filed on my computer. Those unfinished pieces won’t bless anyone unless I make the effort to get them published. Not completing a writing project or not sending it out is similar to addressing a birthday card for someone and not mailing it. Or, telling a hurting friend, “Let’s do lunch sometime,” and not following through. All good intentions, but if we don’t stick a stamp on the card or set a date on our calendar, that’s all it will be – a good intention. Unless carried out, our intentions won’t bless a soul. The words and actions that God wants us to say and do to minister to others won’t happen if we don’t make the effort.

After years of working on my first book (over 30 inspirational stories that at one time were only half-finished pieces), I distinctly recall the moment when it was finally completed, edits and all. I remember saying out loud with a huge sense of relief and accomplishment, “It is finished.” I was acknowledging that after years of accumulating story ideas, and months of writing, my efforts had finally culminated into a finished work.

Two thousand years ago Jesus spoke those same words as He hung on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Those three words, spoken right before He died, acknowledged that the law had been fulfilled and grace was being ushered in. Jesus was making a statement that He had accomplished what He had set out to do, what had been prophesied that He would do, and what the Father wanted Him to do, since the beginning of time. His work on earth was completed and the scriptures had been fulfilled, up to this point. (The plan of redemption, however, was not complete until three days after His death on the cross, when Jesus was raised from the dead.)

In speaking those words, Jesus was stating that He had finished the task at hand. During His short life on earth, He had suffered a lot; however, He chose to endure it all, including the cross, not for Himself, but for us.

I can’t help but wonder; what if Jesus had chosen not to finish the work of the cross? What if He had chosen to settle for the easy way out; or for just “good intentions”?

This Easter season, let the finished work of the cross spur you on to finish what you have started for the Kingdom. Spend some time alone with the Lord and ask Him to set your priorities. He will nudge you to do what is eternally important. “Finishing” is all about obedience. Whatever it is, don’t delay in doing your part to fulfill the great commission.

Jesus kept us in mind when He finished the work on the cross. We need to keep Him in mind as we finish our work for Him.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

In Him,

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