Friday, January 27, 2023
By Zach Porter, Journey Crash Course Guide
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished’. With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:30
This chapter takes place on the “day of Preparation of the Passover” (19:14). Jesus is on trial in front of Pilate, Roman soldiers, and the Jewish people. He is being accused of “claiming” to be a King and the Son of God.
The “day of Preparation of the Passover” refers to the Jewish tradition surrounding the Passover referenced in Exodus 12. There was a festival set up to commemorate the time when God led His people out of captivity from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. During the festival, the Israelites would sacrifice a lamb for each family and spread the blood over the doorways of their homes. This observance signified the time during the exodus when the Lord passed over the homes whose door frames were outlined with lamb’s blood, but brought judgment and death to those homes that weren’t covered by blood.
The Jewish people were to eat the lamb, fully dressed for travel, as a sign of their faith in God, who led them out of Egypt. It was a symbol of preparedness, readiness, and expectedness.
This same attitude of preparedness and expectedness can be found in our verses today. This is the climax of all creation. All of the Old Testament sacrifices, prophecies, waiting and longing led to this moment in John 19. Was the world prepared and ready for their King? Many, if not all, were not ready. Only a few were ready (John, Jesus’s mother Mary and her sister, Mary of Magdalene and Mary the wife of Clopas), but perhaps they still did not quite fully understand. But Jesus did. He knew his time and purpose had come to this point.
As He spoke His last words while hanging on the cross, “It is finished”, all of His preparation was complete. The Greek word for “finished” is tetelestai, which as Charles Spurgeon (an influential preacher in the 1800s) described, “was a Conqueror’s cry; it was uttered with a loud voice. There is nothing of anguish about it, there is no wailing in it. It is the cry of One who has completed a tremendous labor.” God’s preparation for our reconciliation was made complete in Jesus. One final, perfect sacrifice for all.
Done. Complete. Finished. Fulfilled.
As we read these verses, letting the weight of what happened sink in, we can ask ourselves the same questions. Have I prepared my heart to accept Christ, His once and final sacrifice? Am I ready for His reign and rule in my life as King and Lord? Am I expectant to see God’s continued fulfillment of the promises He’s made to me? Promises which include the truths that He is for me, He is always with me, and He will never forsake or abandon me.
May we always have this posture of preparedness, expectant to see God actively moving in our hearts and in our world.
“Has he finished his work for me? Then I must get to work for him, and I must persevere until I finish my work, too; not to save myself, for that is all done, but because I am saved.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Father, thank you for your perfect sacrifice in Jesus. That you loved me that much to sacrifice your only Son, who knew no sin, to take on my sin that it may be put to death. Thank you for your gift of grace and new life that is found in you. I accept all of this that You have done for me as a gift, knowing there is nothing I could do to possibly earn it. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.