“It is finished.” (John 19:30)
What does it mean, to be finished? It has a different meaning to different people. For ambitious Pilate, having Jesus finished, over-and-done with, was a relief to say the least. Who wants more trouble? It is enough that they had to govern a people whose values and beliefs were so much different than those of Rome. But to have an insurrection on your hand will not go down that good with Rome.
For the religious leaders, getting rid of Jesus, was a necessity if they wanted to keep their hold over their people. Jesus was a threat to them, not only because of his teachings but also because of the following He was gathering around Him. Claiming to be the Son of God, was very unsettling for them. Backing this claim with his healings and other miracles spelt danger for their status in society. Who would want to live with such a time-bomb in his backyard? Get rid of Him as soon as possible before the Passover and the people will calm down and they will get back to normal. You know what? They will eventually forget all about Him.
For the disciples and other followers, finished was their dream. He had told them about this moment, He tried to prepare them for the worse but they chose to ignore Him. They chose to keep hoping that what He had spoken about will not happen. When it did and when they were faced with the reality of his arrest, his trial and his crucifixion, they shrunk in the darkness of the night and when He really needed them, they disappeared, they ran away, they were scared to death. How could He be the Messiah? There is no more hope of a triumphal Messiah. They have hoped in vain. Now everything was wrecked and lost. The struggle was over and lost. All their aspirations were over.
The day before, during the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus has said to His Father: “I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.” (John 17:4) Jesus knew that He has fulfilled his mission on earth. He has obeyed the will of the Father. Even to die was to obey. His “It is finished,” meant that He had done what God the Father had ordained. His mission is accomplished. In reality neither Pilate not the Jewish leaders were “finishing” Him. They were not taking his life, but it was He who was giving His life, because it was necessary to die. But make no mistake, the darkness did not overcome.
The Light, Jesus (the Word-made-flesh) battled with darkness and although it seemed that darkness prevailed, the Light was and is still in charge. The rulers did not take his life from Him; but it was He who was acting in obedience to the plan of God the Father.
In our hour of death, like Jesus, we might cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And Jesus will answer us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe also in me. I am with you always because you are mine. You are not simply a sinner but a redeemed sinner, redeemed by the shedding of My Blood. Come home to me. You have reached your objective. Your mission is accomplished. It is finished.”
- How shall we meet the darkness in our life?
- How shall we prevail when we are so fragile and weak to overcome sin?
- How shall we deal with the suicide of a loved one?
- How shall we face the dark reality of a dying child?
- How shall we come to terms with the death of a son or daughter, a brother or a sister by a drunk driver?
- How shall we live in an environment where the silent cry of a lonely neighbor is ignored? How shall we live in a society where things and commodities are more valued than children?
- How shall we live in a world where wars are fought and innocent people are killed in the name of peace or religion?