It Is Finished.

Okay, this post came straight from church yesterday. Pastor Benson, through the Holy Spirit, gets the credit for this one. As you know, yesterday was the celebration of Easter. There were two things that were shared that might, if I let it, revolutionize my life through my thinking. After all, the Word says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let’s be transformed.

It is Finished has always been the banner of Easter with his burial and Resurrection as they highlights of the account of God redeeming man; however yesterday, I saw the finish before those words were uttered. Read John 19 below to acquaint yourself with the text. We know the God is always the main character, but pay close attention to the supporting characters.

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

It is Finished typically focuses on Jesus’ death and the benefits bestowed to believers as it should; however today, I want to look at what God did to set up the events after Jesus died. I will not take the time to identify the prophecies that God was fulfilling through the account listed here, but we should note that John identifies prophecy that was fulfilled when he wrote “36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” The point of that is to verify the truth of what happened with Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection as well as His impending and imminent return.

There were many characters listed in the account above, but I want to focus on Joseph and Nicodemus in their role for It is Finished. It was submitted by Pastor Benson that the only way that Jesus’ body could have been requested and granted was by people of “high”-class or stature which Joseph and Nicodemus were. We know that both Joseph and Nicodemus were secret believers in Jesus but believers nonetheless. Joseph was rich and a prominent council member. Nicodemus was also was a member of the Jewish ruling council. Because of the amount of spices Nicodemus provided for Jesus’ burial, we know he was not hurting for money either.

To accomplish It is Finished, we have to change our mindset. We often think God is here for us, but it really is the other way around. We are here for God. Let us consider what we are told in Acts 17.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

God marked out the time and place for Joseph and Nicodemus. God had given them prominence, position and placed for His purpose not theirs. We often miss the boat on this. I have prayed that God would bless me with positions for my family. While not bad, it is not the best. God wants us to be consumed with what is best not what is good. What seems good is often the enemy of what is best. Remember, Peter did not think it was good that Jesus suffer and die, but Jesus rebuked him for being the enemy of what was best. From Judas to Jesus, It is Finished could not have been accomplished had God not put people in place to accomplish His will.

Joseph and Nicodemus were put in place, so God could accomplish His will just as He had foretold it. On the surface, it appears that Jesus was placed in Joseph’s tomb as a matter of convenience. “Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” Jesus was placed in the tomb because God chose the time and place for Joseph to serve in completing His will.

From Judas to Jesus, It is Finished could not have been accomplished had God not put people in place to accomplish His will. Did you know that not only did God create each one of us, but He put us in this world in these times and in a particular place of His choosing? None of this is by chance or error. We may not be happy about God’s choice of timing or place. God loves us and has a plan for each of us which He wants to work out in our life. For this to happen we need to allow God to be in control, to surrender our lives and futures to him. To pick up ourselves, family, life and possessions and go somewhere else may be contrary to God’s plan for us. On the other hand, it’s possible that His plan may be to send us to another place. He moves His people from place to place all the time so that His purposes may be achieved. However, it’s God’s prerogative to take the initiative, not ours. When we are in God’s will, His hand is upon us. When we move out of His will, we become targets for the enemy. Rather than being unhappy or even fearful about where we are and casting around for other options, perhaps we should be praying: “Father, You have placed me here at this time. How do You want to use me? How can I be available to You so that You can work out Your purposes in this place at this time in my life?” (from seeds)

At the appointed time, God will say It is Finished about our lives. The question will be whether we spent it accepting His purposes and plan or trying to seek our own. Life is so much more freeing when we recognize that God has not only chosen the time and place for us to live, but He also has put people in place for us to accomplish His will in our lives just as He did for Jesus. We should glory in that.

Prayer: Father, it’s not a mistake that I am living in insecure times in a place that’s difficult and sometimes frightening. Please help me draw my security from You and not from the place where I live. Show me how I can be Your instrument of peace and healing here and now, how I can shine with Your love and joy and how I can share the good news of who You are with those around me. Amen.


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