"It is Finished"
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
As we reach Holy Week we move from Jesus’ triumphant entry into the gates of Jerusalem, through his arrest, crucifixion, and His resurrection on Easter Day.
As Christians , we live and study the Passion of Christ , having heard it throughout our lives with theological commentary and our own sense of understanding and wonder. As with many stories, and especially with one of this magnitude, we may fix it into our beliefs and occasionally search for new meaning.
The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) recall the arrest, torture and crucifixion of Jesus in similar ways; the horror, humiliation and final words of Jesus
abandoned on the cross. The Gospel of John stands alone in telling the Holy Week story in a different light. John tells of a Jesus in charge of His Triumphant Glory from Palm Sunday right through to his final moments on the cross.
The synoptic Gospels tell of Jesus carrying the cross, severely beaten, stumbling and falling down unable to carry the cross any further . John states “Jesus went out bearing his own cross” implying dignity and majesty, fully in charge, fully facing and carrying out the final moments of his Divine Mission.
“It is finished” is the sixth and penultimate utterance from Jesus on the cross. To most ears these words sound obvious; Jesus is stating that his life is over. John however, hears this as a statement of accomplishment by Jesus affirming the culmination of His ministry doing God’s work and ushering in God’s Kingdom.
Moving briefly from the Gospels to contemporary theologians, some see the symbolism of the Crucifixion as the death of the human ego leading to the inevitable rise, triumph and joining of human and divine spirit. Many modern spiritualists (Eckhart Tolle and others) as well as Eastern mystics speak frequently of taming the ego. If even Jesus, as both human and Divine, would offer up his ego and physical existence in exchange for love of God and all creation, how can we in much smaller ways give up pieces of our own for greater love of all?
One thing is clear in all four Gospels; Jesus is always increasing everyone who comes into contact with him. Whether he reaches us through his preaching, his example to his disciples, his healing of individuals, seeing the full value of all human life no matter social status, raising Lazarus from the dead, then increasing the world as He shocks it to its core.
Prayer: ”Dearest Jesus, you who were willing to do anything, truly anything even to giving up your own life for the increase of divine love throughout the world, help us in our daily living to increase those around us; in the most uneventful situations and in the most meaningful”. Amen.