Come with me back in time. Come back about 2,000 years. Straddle the centuries and sit with me here on the side of the hill of the crucifixion. Watch with me as the sun sets on Friday evening after having witnessed the events of the last 24 hours. Sit beside me here on this hill called Golgotha.
The crosses behind us are empty now. The onlookers are all gone. John. Mary. They’ve all left. All three bodies have been taken down and laid in their graves before sundown in accordance with Law.
Can you feel the stillness in the air?
Can you hear the quiet?
I can hear the murmuring down there in
the city. Some people are trying to make sense of what just happened.
Scratching their heads. Asking questions. Some are arguing. Some are
hiding in fear.
What are you hearing?
Others, perhaps most, are carrying on with business as usual as if nothing happened. Another day. Another trouble-maker put to death. End of story.
Yesterday at this time, I was in the Upper Room watching the Last Supper sitting on the floor in a corner away from the table. I am just an errand boy. I traveled with the twelve. I was the one who ran to the market to buy the wine and the bread. John, son of Zebedee, was one of my best friends. I envied him. I envied him as his head was nestled in the arms of Jesus. I envy him as the only man to ever hear the heartbeat of God.
"This bread is my body…" Remember that? Jesus dipped a piece of bread, his body, handed it to Judas, looking deep into his eyes, into his soul, into his future, and sent him on his way to do what must be done. Oh, you should have seen the looks on the other disciples’ faces. Dumbfounded. Confused. Scared. I could hear what they were whispering.
Can you imagine?
After the meal, the disciples sat and
listened to more teaching. "I am the way, the truth, and the life” he said. I am. He took on the name of his father, YHWH. I am
who I am. I am who I will be. I am the heart of the Father.
Then we headed down the stairs and out
in to the night. "I am the vine…" Wow. I haven't even started to chew on that one, but I know there is a feast awaiting me in that short, simple metaphor.
That was only yesterday evening. It seems so long ago.
As we walked through town, we heard a woman in labor. And just as a woman's anguish isforgotten the moment she gives birth, he said so will our sorrow turn to joy. Right now, the sorrow is overwhelming me. Darkness has returned to Golgotha. Hand me my cloak, will you? The night chill is closing in around me.
And then the prayer in the garden, the
betrayal, the trial, the conviction, the walk up to this hill, the
crucifixion, the darkness at midday, the death, the sealing of the
tomb. It's too much. I can't take it all in. It is too much to bear.
Lord! Where have you gone? What does this all mean? What did you mean when you said, “It is finished”? Is that all there is? Are we just supposed to sit here being nice to each other until you come again?
It can't just be that. There must be more. Much, much more.
I have been told that through Jesus' death we all have been redeemed. We have been re-purchased, bought back. The ransom has been paid. The Accuser, Satan, can no longer stand before the throne of God and point out my sins. All my former transgressions have been paid in full. They are forgotten. I have a clean slate. Tabula Rasa. There is no judgment scroll with my name on it. I am free.
Oh, I am so free. I am free to continue
to sin, or to turn and follow Him. I am free to love the Lord and
love my neighbor, or to turn my adoration toward my self, my
accomplishments, my needs, my worldly desires. I am free to take my
direction from Him, or from some other worldly modern god. I can
declare Him King of my life, or declare that I have no King but
Caesar ... or choose a tasteless, lukewarm neither-hot-nor-cold purposeless mixture of the two.
Sitting here after witnessing all that I have over the last 24 hours, how could I worship anything other than Him? Why, why, why ,why do I continue to dip a little toe into both worlds rather than plunge my full passionate attention into my Christ who died for me?
Oh, my dear friend. Yes, it is finished. The human role Jesus played in the redemption of
Creation is done, except for one little detail. He left me his Spirit. He lives on through me … if and when I let him. He is eager
to do even greater things than he did on earth through me, as soon as
I get up and allow him to steer me. The getting up is easy. Allowing him to steer this stubborn, stiff-necked horse is the hard part, isn't it?
The redemption of Creation will happen. It will happen whether I participate or not. But why would I want to miss out on the joy of all joys -- that of working arm in arm with the Creator to shine some healing light into a dark corner of Creation near me?
Yes. It is finished. Jesus’ work on
earth is done. The rest is up to you and me. The rest is up to us.
Here take my hand. Let me help you up. It's cold. Let me give you a hug and warm us up a little while I pray, OK?
Lord. Make us your servants. Just as you
have made us in your image, help us be a reflection of You and your Love in
everything we do, everything we say, and every interaction we have with