Jesus has the final word on the cross
Regular contributor Jane Clamp has been reflecting on the Easter story, and her thoughts have been turning to the final words of Jesus on the cross: “It is finished.”
I wonder if you know someone who always has to have the final word? In any argument, they are the ones who fire off the comment to close down further discussion – made all the more effective if it’s accompanied by a flouncing from the room and a slamming of the door.
Throughout the three years of His public ministry, Jesus pointed ahead to the day we would come to know as Good Friday. Around Him pressed the crowds, in the constant search for a better life: one that included physical wholeness and peace of mind. He prayed for them and sight was restored, deaf ears could hear, and limbs regained function. Those that were healed went away rejoicing that their today was transformed, and their tomorrow would be a brighter one.
Day by day, Jesus demonstrated that earth’s limitations would not have the final word. Those of us living with illness and difficult diagnosis still need to hear this today. His entire ministry challenged the messages of the world: you’re stuck with your problems, your body is bound to fail at some point, the slate cannot be wiped clean.
One particular story (from Matthew 8) illustrates the point well. When a leper came to Jesus one day, he said, “Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean.” Note, he didn’t say “if you are able”. Jesus’ track record had proved that time and again. But the leper was perhaps asking, “Would you do it for me? Even me?” The answer was an unequivocal yes and he received his healing.
But there was much more to come. Not only did Jesus overcome sickness and disease, He would go on to banish the most final of final words: death. Only the bereaved know the absolute desolation and devastation that follows the loss of a loved one. It’s a sense of terminality that no other experience can match.
Surely no one comes back from the dead – and if they say they have, we struggle to accept their story. Nevertheless, on the third day, following His death on the cross, Jesus rose again. The leap from life to death and back again was no problem for the Son of God.
Death had tried to have the last word but had been decisively over-ruled. The God who had broken from heaven to visit this earth had smashed through the gates of hell to save it.
On the cross, Jesus declared the words that closed the discussion on death once and for all: “It is finished!” and we can respond in this rallying cry: Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Image by Megan Hall from Pixabay
Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a devotional on the subject of miscarriage, published by SPCK in August 2018. A member of the Association of Christian Writers, she writes for local and national radio. In her spare time she is an interior designer and musician.
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