If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It is FINISHED!



The Sixth Word of Jesus on the Cross
“It is finished” (John 19:30)


Perhaps no other statement of Jesus on Golgotha’s hill mean so much to me as “It is finished.” I spent weeks contemplating why that is true, and decided the answer is best illustrated by my life with my two fathers.

My first father – his name was Al -- wouldn’t stay out of other women’s beds. He finally left my mom, my sister, and me when I was four, and never paid any attention to us afterward. When I was 18, I asked my paternal grandparents to set up a meeting for us at their house. I wanted to ask him why he left us. Without even blinking, he looked me straight in the eye and simply said, “Because I wanted to.”

Then there was Tommy. He married Mom when I was twelve and adopted me and my sister shortly afterward. I remember him for his explosive temper. We never knew what would set him off. He never hugged me, rarely spent time with me. Never went to one of my ball games or youth activities. I don’t remember him even speaking a kind or encouraging word to me.

But despite how my two fathers treated me, my sister, and Mom, I know I would have followed their examples and grown into the kind of man that they were. The allure of drugs and sex without responsibilities wooed me; and I gladly followed. I lived for the moment because it was always ‘my’ moment. I didn’t care about my future because I chose to live only one day at a time. The future could wait until I was ready.
The future.
Oh, what a future I would have created for myself – were it not for God and the work He did for me Calvary.
Because of the years I lived in sin and rebellion, I didn’t know Scripture called me a child of the devil – but oh, what a devilish child I was: “ . . . the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil . . . . By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious, anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God . . .” (1 John 3:8-10)

But when Jesus finished His work on Golgotha He gave me the right to become a child of God. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of]blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

Oh, I love to remember it! To me – the one who repeatedly spit in God’s face, who led others into mortal sin, who even killed his child in an abortion clinic – Jesus offered my penitent soul the right to be called a child of almighty God.

When Jesus spoke His sixth word, I do not believe He spoke them in a whisper. I do not believe Jesus spoke those words with a sense of defeat, as if to say to His Father, “I did my best. I did all that I could do. It is finished.”

No, I believe Jesus lifted His face toward heaven and shouted with such a voice of triumph that even the centurion stopped what he was doing and in amazement looked at Jesus who had just shouted with a voice of triumph:

It is FINISHED!

I don’t think anyone on earth knows the full extent of what Jesus meant when He said, it is finished. But I will tell you in personal terms what it means to me.  

When it was finished, Jesus set me free from the fear of death: “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

When Jesus declared, “It is finished”, His blood ransomed me from the devil’s grip and set me free. (John 8:31-44; Galatians 1:4)

“It is finished.”

My sins earned me God’s wrath, and like the sword of Damocles, it hung over my head. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

But when Jesus said, “It is finished” God directed His wrath I so worthily deserved, onto Jesus’ body. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”  (Isaiah 53:5-6)

“It is finished.”

Yes, no longer lost. No longer a prisoner. No longer a child of darkness. When Jesus spilled His blood on Golgotha and said, “It is finished” He meant it. His work of salvation was finished. And no power on earth or in hell could – or can – change it.

Because, it is finished.

People have told me God is a myth, a fable created by the weak, the desperate, the superstitious, the ignorant. But those who say such things have never met my Jesus, have never felt His presence so close you can almost hear His heartbeat, have never heard Him whisper: “Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you. I have done it, and I will carry you; I will bear you and I will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

I know who I was and where I was headed. But God changed my life. From the inside out He recreated me. And when I confessed my sins to Him – some of which were very dark and very evil – He cast them all as far from Himself as east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)

People ask why I am so passionate about God. How can I not be? He has never stopped loving me. No matter what I did, where I’ve been, and even at my worst, His love for me has never diminished one iota. And Jesus reached out His nail-pierced hand and pulled me from my trajectory toward certain self-destruction. He saved my life even when others might have thought my life not worth saving.
Best yet, I have seen it again and again that what He did for me, He wants to do for anyone. My Jesus has never refused the desperate cry of any penitent. All you and I need to do is thank Him, and offer Him our lives in growing obedience.

Won’t you do it now? For the first time, or the hundredth time won’t you do it now?

4 comments:

James polamz King said...

This is great! Thank you Rich!!!

Rich Maffeo said...

Thank you, James.

Cathy said...

Amazing Love - how can it be that My King would die for me!!!
His Love set so many of us free. Bless you, your family and your ministry here at Ashwood Meadows.

Rich Maffeo said...

Thank you, Cathy . . . and to your and your whole family as well.