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Reflections on Our Saviour’s Seven Words from the Cross – Word Six: Finished

April 14, 2017


“It is finished.”
(John 19:30)

In the Greek, this is indeed only one word: tetelestan. It’s the word that people would write on a bill after it had been paid. The bill is dealt with; the price has been paid. It is finished. Jesus has been poured out completely, every ounce. His mission of loving to the end (to the last, and to the uttermost) has been accomplished. All that darkness and death clamoured to extract from him, Jesus has given. When I think of Jesus saying these words, I think of a master artist like Leonardo da Vinci standing back and looking at the completed Mona Lisa, and saying, “There, it’s done.” Who would presume to try to take a paintbrush to such a masterpiece to add or take away anything from it? So, too, with Our Lord’s offering for you and me. All that ever needed to be done for you and I to receive eternal life he has accomplished. It is finished! Alleluia!

Reflection: Jesus has painted a masterpiece and called it “the person who experiences the fullness of life that God planned from before the creation of the world.” If each of us looks at it, we’ll see looking back at us the person we most long in our hearts to be.

Our position is such that we can be rescued from death and translated into life only by total and unceasing substitution, the substitution which God Himself undertakes on our behalf.
(Karl Barth)

What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”  “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real  you don’t mind being hurt.”  Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”  “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” “I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled. “The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
(Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit)

[As Jesus’ beloved disciple,] I am called to live, I am called to pray, “close to the breast of Jesus”. There is no one and nothing between me and the heart of Christ. The Gospel of John uses the same image to express the mystery that there was no one and nothing between Jesus and the Father. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” (John 1:18) … In Holy Week I can take to heart what it would cost to allow myself to experience fully this intimacy which already mine. Closeness to Jesus at the Last Supper was not a matter of affectionate reverie. The heart whose beat the beloved disciple could hear was pounding in anticipation of arrest, degradation and death by torture: Jesus “was troubled in spirit”. The conversation he was uniquely placed to have with Jesus was about the treachery of one of the twelve. Abiding with Jesus meant standing by the cross with Mary and the other women, exposed to the full horror of his brutal execution. To live close to the heart of Jesus would mean living in contact with the joy and the agony of Christ. It is not possible to have one without the other.
(Martin L. Smith, A Season for the Spirit, pages 148-149, alt.)


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