“It is finished.” Jn. 19:30
A dear sister gave me the inspiration for this post when she commented on my recent post “Jesus – A Man Of Compassion” saying, “I always love it how Jesus did most of these miracles ‘on his way’ to do something else…” Those words of hers set me to thinking about what Jesus’ goal on earth was…
A goal speaks of an objective, or an end.
It was at the cross that Jesus said the words, “It is finished”; and immediately He uttered them, He bowed His head and died. Clearly, by uttering these words, and dying, Jesus was making a powerful statement – that He had arrived at His goal. He was indicating that His mission on earth had been accomplished.
Throughout His meanderings in Judea and Samaria, Jesus always had a goal in mind. His goal was to arrive at the cross.
In having His body crucified and by His death on the cross, Jesus could say, finally, “It is finished”. Those are very powerful words.
Just as it was with Jesus, so it is with us. Every born-again believer has the same objective and end to their lives as Jesus had. Our goal is to say with Jesus, “It is finished’, and we will not be able to say those words until we arrive at the cross.
That does not mean that we carve wooden crosses and have ourselves nailed on them. The cross the Bible talks about is not something physical; rather, it is spiritual. It talks of crucifying the old man of the flesh. It means death to the mind of the flesh in us. There is a mind of the flesh (the body of sin) and there is a mind of the Spirit. The flesh and the Spirit of God are the two protagonists in the great warfare that we are involved in.
To crucify the flesh and all its worldly lusts should be every believer’s goal in life. We may do many things, but if our aim is not to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow Christ, then we will not have arrived at the goal of our heavenly calling.
Jesus did many wonderful and adorable things during His ministry here on earth. Over and above that He lived a sinless, blameless life; so much so that God on more than one occasion was moved to declare audibly from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mat. 3:17; 17:5)
The crowds also were moved by all that He did. They said of Him, “He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” (Mk. 7:37)
Everyone (except the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees, of course) spoke well of Jesus. Indeed, the Bible also states that when He was growing up, Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luk. 2:52)
We may have all the favor with God and men; but still there is a goal line awaiting us. There are some Christians who are very well-favored by men, even within the church. This is all very good and desirable. But it is not the goal.
There are others, on the other hand, who receive persecution and rejection on account of the gospel. Still, for these it is not the end of the road. God can allow persecution in your life, and still you be unable to take up your cross and follow Christ. You could, for example, harbor bitterness or unforgiveness towards your persecutors.
The crowds may cheer us or they may boo us. God might speak on our behalf or He may choose to remain silent. None of these means we have arrived at our Christian goal.
The end of the matter is when we are sure in our hearts that we are carrying that humble and broken heart in which God can exercise His good will in us. It is not us, really, who are working out that goodness in us, but God Himself. The goal is to make sure, from the bottom of our hearts, that we are daily crucifying the flesh, and dying to self.
That means it is all about you. For the spiritual person, it is a very small matter whether people speak well or ill of you; whether they take notice of, or ignore you. Daily you are looking at yourself and making sure that death is at work in you, and that you are carrying a pure heart. It does not matter that no one seems aware of all the sacrifice you are making. The important thing is that you are carrying your cross and following Christ. Then, and only then, can you have reason to boast before God.
The Apostle Paul set us a precedent in Galatians 6:14 when he wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Many of us think Paul was a great man. True, Paul was a great man, but not in the way we would want to imagine. He was a great man in the way the Lord Jesus was a great man.
The Bible says about Jesus, that “being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Phlp. 2:8-9
Both these men were great in the sense that they walked in the revelation and power of the cross.
In the final analysis, the practical aspects of this death will be worked out in the big things as well as in the small issues in life. But once we have purposed in ourselves to walk that road, then the grace of God will be there to help us take up our cross and crucify the flesh.