Among the last words from the cross is the declaration, “It is finished.” I don’t think I can possibly know all that is meant in those words pushed out against the onslaught of unspeakable darkness. And, frankly, my fascination is somewhat less theological. What I am wondering is how it could be so.
Truth be told, I can think of at least a couple or three other things that Jesus might have done before finishing up for the day. Clearly, there were a few more sick to heal, a few more outcasts to embrace, a few more lepers to restore to fellowship, a few more lessons to teach, a few more demons to cast out… In the five porches surrounding the Pool of Bethesda alone there was still much work to be done – and He could have swung by a cemetery or two on His way there or back. But no. Finished!
Apparently His agenda was something other than what I think it ought to have been. And, for His agenda – learned from His Father – the word is finished. (I suspect, by the way, that His agenda is still other than I think it ought to be. Which may explain why “finished” is not a word to describe many of my days.)
What kind of life must Jesus have lived in order to be able to say those wonderfully final words? My guess is that a life that ends the final day with those words is a life that ended each day with those words.
You don’t get to finished on the final day without each day until then being finished. Jesus lets us know, probably from experience, that each day has enough trouble of its own – it doesn’t need trouble imported from the future or the past. Each day’s trouble must be dealt with that day – no carry overs.
I can’t help but wonder if it was the awareness of His death that enabled Him to live with complete focus each day to the extent that at the end of each day, it was finished. Not simply over or ended – finished. What was necessary to be done, done. No remainder.
In this Lenten exercise of contemplating the day of my death, I am challenged by how much of each of my days is taken up with something other than that day’s challenge. The result is that I can rarely say that it is finished. Over, done, ended, run out of, exhausted – all those and more. But rarely, finished. I want to learn from Jesus how to live each day. Period. I suspect that will mean more things left undone than are done. Perhaps that is the way to finish. My life will end finished to the degree to which each day until then ends finished.