Friday, April 10

It is finished!

I got to do one of the homily segments during the Good Friday/Tenebrae service at the Lutheran Church of Guam. I had three minutes and squeezed in three points, in addition to my key point (Okay, maybe I went four minutes).

My assigned portion was John 19:30 -- "It is finished." I couldn't have done it without props -- a trophy and three signs (and a small flashlight to illumine the props).

In a nutshell here is the flow:

"It is finished" can be seen as a word of defeat ("I'm folding, giving up...") But that's not what the gospel is saying. This is a message of victory. Jesus is crossing the finish line and accepting the trophy.

Key Point: "It is finished" means that Jesus was the victor not the victim.

But what is it that is finished?

1. Journey to the cross (battle with the faithless, religiously smug establishment, forces of evil). The gospel accounts have this gravity pulling the flow of the story to the cross. The cross was the plan from the beginning.

2. Agony of the cross -- Jesus stayed the course even through his death -- remained faithful to his calling and his Father.

3. Grip of the cross (death and sin) -- cross as symbol of all that is evil in the world. It's not until after the resurrection that the cross becomes a symbol of hope. (If I had more time I'd have liked to develop this more to talk about how the cross frees us and heals us.)

"He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed."
~ 1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)

What is finished? The Life -- lived according to God's plan -- and the CROSS.
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