John 19: 28-30 (MsgB)
Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.” 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. After He took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done…complete.” Bowing His head, He offered up His spirit.
If you’ve been following along with this blog series on leadership, you’ll note that I just skipped a good portion of chapters 18 and 19 of John’s Gospel. Now before you jump to conclusions, let me give you the method to my madness.
Our original goal with this blog series was to scour through John’s Gospel looking for clues on how Jesus viewed the themes of leadership. Thus far, I hope that you will agree, we’ve been blessed to find an abundance of Christ-centered wisdom we can readily apply to our lives and ministries here in the 21st century.
But, as I see it, chapters 18 & 19 of John’s Gospel are not about us, but are exclusively about Jesus and His passion. Words written to draw us into the God-Man Jesus, who dies so that we all might have life. Nothing John writes in these two chapters is really about us, nor should it be. It’s all about Jesus. Now and forever more.
Yet before we move quickly on to John’s closing chapters (20 and 21), allow me, my dear reader, the liberty to linger here just a moment on verses 28-30 of chapter 19. I like to call this moment John describes here as ‘the center of all time’.
Let me explain.
As I see it, this exact moment when Jesus states, “It’s done…complete,” the entirety of God’s creation has now reached the unique center. The end of all things, yet the beginning of all life. When Jesus bows His head in death, we’ve now reached the very moment God the Father had been planning for from the very beginning of time. And while Satan is dancing a victory dance in the pits of hell, believing he has beaten the Almighty’s Son, God is in heaven, applauding His Son’s amazing obedience. Obedience that will rock the demonic powers of death and darkness to their very core. Obedience which shifts the seats of power on planet earth forever.
In this split second of time, what we earth-bound creatures will come to define as Friday afternoon of Passover, 33 AD, all heaven and earth comes to a screeching stop. A world that was rapidly spinning toward the abyss has now been rescued from certain disaster. At approximately 3 PM on that afternoon, you see, the entire universe we call home experiences a blow so severe, it actually rivals the fiery moment described in Genesis when God spoke the words, “Let there be light!” In this brief moment of time, Jesus has now completed the entirety of God’s master plan of redemption. A plan for restoring the entirety of His creation, ripping it back from the hands of fleshly dominions and demonic powers, and placing it all under the power and authority of His Son.
Now, that changes everything. A game-changer, as our generation would say.
And because of this one moment, everything in our world is now different. And for those of us who are called by His Name to serve as pastors and shepherds, we’ve now reached the center of our universe. Everything you and I do for God, the work of ministry that expands the ‘good news’ message and ministry of Christ to a lost and despairing world, is now under the dominion and power of Jesus alone.
Let’s be clear here. When Jesus says, “It is finished,” He means it.
There will be no new work done through our human hands that will add to what Jesus has done here. No additional ministry, outreach, or church planting will accomplish anything more in this human realm. Nothing we do for Christ, or in His Name, will equal or come close to the work Jesus completes on this Friday afternoon in 33 AD.
We would be wise, as leaders of His church, to never forget the ultimate power of this amazing moment of time.
It’s the center of time. The core of all we do. The power source for anything and everything done in His Name.
Because He dies, we now can live. Because He has completed His ministry, we now can go and do those things He asks us to do. Only because of His completed work, does our work have any meaning or purpose at all.
Amen and Amen.
My prayer: Lord, I’m speechless when I reflect on the power of this one unique moment in time. I bow my head in reverence, laying down my crowns of achievement, humbling myself in the shadow of Your wings. You alone are the One that changes everything. It’s Your act of complete obedience on the Cross that allows me to live and minister in Your Name. Thank You, Lord. For Your name’s sake.
My questions to ponder: Have I done anything in the name of ministry that detracts or de-values the awesomeness of this one moment in time when Jesus states, “It is finished”? How can I elevate this moment in my life and the lives of those I minister with? What will help all of us focus more clearly on this unique moment, knowing it’s this slice of time that changes everything, now and forevermore?
Pastors…plan now to join us for our first SMALL GROUP RETREAT for BUSY, 3-B PASTORS. August 17-18 in Cedar Rapids. Click here for more details.