Lenten Meditations from the Pastoral Concerns Dept – Day 35 “SIXTH WORD ON THE CROSS: IT IS FINISHED”
[The Pastoral Concerns Department of the Church of South India brings out devotions for the 40 Lenten Days in 2019 beginning from the Ash Wednesday. A group of CSI Presbyters from the five states of South India prepared these devotions and published on this official website of the CSI Synod, Official Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/csisynodcommunication/ and the official WhatsApp Broadcast from the number +91 9840577404. You can read/download the English version of the devotion here. The writer of the devotion presents the same in a video on the day. Watch here Rev.B. Bushan Pavan Kumar, Presbyter, CSI Karimnagar Diocese gives a meditation “SIXTH WORD ON THE CROSS: IT IS FINISHED”
Lenten Meditations- Day 35 (for 15th April 2019)
“SIXTH WORD ON THE CROSS: IT IS FINISHED”
Selected Text: John 19: 30
The cross and resurrection of Jesus are the heart and soul of the Christian faith, not only as the ground of its faith but as God’s absolute work of salvation. For many centuries, the Christian faith has given the cross a prominent place. In symbols and art, in hymns and worship, in thought and creed, and in teaching and preaching, the cross has been the chief emblem of Christianity. The crucifixion of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection gives the cross its truest place in the Christian message. How could the cross which seems to be an abrupt end to Jesus become a sign of accomplishment? To our understanding it is an abrupt end but when we look at Jesus’ understanding it is the beginning of His mission to show an exemplary life to the human kind to be accountable to the one who sent Him/us.
The sixth word Jesus pronounced from the cross is “It is finished” (John 19:30). John’s work has traditionally been regarded as the spiritual Gospel, unlike the synoptics which present Jesus as the teacher and wonder-worker from Nazareth. The fourth Gospel is a theological work meant to lead the reader to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, so that he/she may have life in his name. Jesus is the Word who was with God in the beginning. As the pre-existent one, the Word was operative in the work of creation, and he became flesh, taking concrete shape in Jesus Christ. The Father has sent the Son into the world and this is an expression of the Father’s love for the world. The Son’s work here on earth is to accomplish the task entrusted to him by the Father. At the end of his earthly life Jesus said with absolute truthfulness – ‘I have finished everything I was sent here to do’. Jesus spoke just a word saying, “tetelestai” but biblical scholar A.W. Pink opines that “‘It is finished’ is but one word in the original, yet in that word is wrapped up the gospel of God; all assurance, and the sum of all joy”.
Greed: root of all corruption:
In today’s context most of us are taking life easy. In Genesis 2:28 God blessed them and said to them. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”. God has given us the privilege to be the stewards of His creation. But instead of being accountable to what God has entrusted, humans have started exploiting the creation of God. Some of the so-called evangelists preach about wealth as the highest spiritual value, and prosperity as their gospel. They advocate marketing approach to Christ and Christian religion and give “optimistic” messages intended to make people feel good about themselves. They keep reminding the members to give generously to receive generously from God. Thus, the God of mammon and greed obscures the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Greed played an important role in the fall of Adam and Eve. It is at the root of sin. Greed is the root cause of corruption. It is the root of evil things as Jesus enumerates: “For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intensions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly” (Mark 7:21-22). Greediness leads us to impunity, and the human heart longs for unlimited wealth. Every human being is accountable for what he/she is entrusted with be it work talents, tasks, projects, and so on. In Acts 5:1-11 we see Ananias and his wife Sapphira who have sold a piece of land and laid it at the apostle’s feet by keeping back some of the proceeds out of greed. They lied not only to the apostles but to the Lord. By cheating the Spirit of the Lord they lost their lives. In Romans 14:12 Paul reminds that each of us shall give account of ourselves to God.
The word accountability means to be held accountable, liable, answerable, or be held responsible for what a person has been given. Jesus Christ has set an example to us by being accountable for what he was sent by the Father into this world. He could confidently say “It’s finished” for having accomplished the mission of God. We are also sent by God into this world with different abilities to be art of God’s mission. Having sense of accountability is important for it enhances our relationships with one another and with creation. Even the day of judgement reminds us of the need to be conscious of giving an account of our lives. All that we do with our lives, talents, resources and responsibilities will be brought to judgement. We are not only accountable to God but also to our government and authorities, to our church and society, to the people we serve and those who serve us. Therefore, let us commit ourselves to be faithful and accountable for what we are called for and boldly say “it is finished” like Jesus Christ, with a sense of great satisfaction.
Everything has been done
The Cross is the proof we have won
Forever Your power overcomes
Your life has defeated death
It is finished!
All that You started, You have completed
All that You promised, You have fulfilled
All that You challenged, God You have conquered
As it is written; it is finished.
- Mia Fieldes, Hank Bentley, Aaron Shust
Lord our Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ that even at his death on the Cross he could boldly say it is finished and paid account for his life on this earth. Help us to be faithful stewards of our lives and your entire creation and give a faithful account of our lives as Jesus did. Amen.
Rev.B.Bushan Pavan Kumar
CSI Karimnagar Diocese