17 August 2017
Reading: Jeremiah 23-25; John 19
28 Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.” 29 A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. 30 After he took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done … complete.” Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit. (John 19:28-30 MSG)
In his account of Jesus’ crucifixion, John gives careful attention to the fulfillment of prophecies about the death of Jesus, the Messiah. He emphasizes more than once in his gospel that he is writing so that the reader will believe – believe God’s word and believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior.
It really struck me that even in the agony of crucifixion, Jesus was driven not by the survival instinct, not by the hope of rescue, not even by a martyr’s death wish, but by submission to and full cooperation with what God had planned and foretold through the prophets. He was fully committed to the will of God for himself and for all time.
The other men crucified with him were instinctively using every bit of strength in their legs to push themselves up so that they could take one more gasping breath. Jesus, as soon as he saw that everything purposed by the Father – everything written about his crucifixion – was complete, “offered up his spirit.” Jesus completed the task, then stopped.
Can we be so clear on God’s purpose for our lives that we understand and accept unfolding events as part of the fulfillment of his plan? Can we be so free of the instinct to achieve for ourselves that when we have completed the assignment God has given, we simply stop? I’m not implying that we stop breathing or stop working, but that we learn to draw the line and say, “Task completed. Stop! Rest! Celebrate! Now, Father, what is the next assignment? When do we begin?”
Father, I really need help with this one. It’s hard for me to see the finish line. It’s hard to know when a job is really complete. I’m afraid I end up doing a lot of things that aren’t on your list and that I tend to keep things going after it’s time to say, “This one is completed.” Please teach me how to be so clear on your purpose that I not only know what you want me to do, but that I also know when it’s done. Amen.