Lenten Reader | Day 39

It Is Finished

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:28-30
It's easy to look at the end of our Scripture reading today and feel a strong sense of loss as Jesus says, "It is finished." With that, He bows His head, and it's over.  
That's what His followers believed.  
His mother, too. Everyone did.  
With those words, Rome quashed the rebellion it saw as a threat. 
Think about the rush of feelings after Jesus died on the cross. Indeed, those who wanted Him dead felt full of themselves. Many onlookers likely felt conflicted, having watched Jesus enter Jerusalem a few days earlier with much fanfare. Now, He was dead - suffering the death traditionally reserved for hardened criminals. 
We, as Christians, resonate with the sorrow of family and followers. They watched as He was charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The horrifying death He suffered as they tried to process what was happening in front of them. 
They had no idea of what was about to happen.  
We know the end of the story. Joy arrived in the morning as the stone was rolled away, and Jesus was in Heaven.  
From those seemingly final words comes a significant and never-ending truth: Now that Jesus has died and risen again, we can stop striving to make ourselves clean. Instead, we should see ourselves as sinners needing the grace that Jesus provided through His sacrifice.  
By surrendering our lives to Jesus, we enter God's family.  
Because Jesus finishes the death sentence, we can pray to God directly and boldly. We no longer need a high priest or other intercessor.  
We have an invitation into a new covenant with Him. Everyone has that invitation, regardless of their past. 
Christ died for you, for me. He paid the price of our sins - once and with finality.  
From the sorrow of His death to the joy of His resurrection, we feel the emotions felt by so many at that time. But we also receive the grace that Jesus provided through the cross, which is the best news.  
Mike Throne