Jesus said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
That was the last words Jesus said before He died. In fact it was more then what Jesus said, it was a declaration, a firm confirmation, a final verdict – “It is finished”.
In our concept of “finished” – race to a finished line, completion of work on date-line, project done.
Jesus declared His completion point. There and then Jesus draws the line – it is finished. What was it Jesus set to accomplished?
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
I believed this was the 1st or one of the initial sermon preached by Jesus. Today let’s try to join the dots and see if we can comprehend all that Jesus had done for us and more.
From the very beginning of His ministry Jesus had his heart set for the poor, but why would Jesus mentioned “proclaim good news to the poor?” Isn’t it common sense to provide materials need to the poor? In fact Jesus did feed the multitudes.
Jesus knew there was something else, something more desirable the poor wanted. Jesus saw deep into the hearts and souls of the poor and noted all those grievances, broken dreams and imbalance of justice.
Jesus’ heart was full of compassion when He said to Judas –
For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:8)
Jesus was never against the poor, it was Judas who missed the point. Since the days of old, God’s heart have been to the poor and needy especially those who struggles to make ends meet –
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Jesus saw among the poor, many who hearts were crying to God. Many among the poor had dreamed of coming to the temple to worship and present offerings to God as well. The good news for the poor is that they can be satisfied without money and without price. How is that possible? Jesus had open the way and made it possible for the poor to enter the kingdom of God without price and without money. Jesus has done it and He said “It is finished”
Jesus came to “proclaim liberty to the captives”. When you are held captive you lost your freedom, you cannot even choose how you want to live. If we look at the world we live in today, politics and social movements have done much in addressing the abolition of slavery and enforced labor, but we still have more to do.
There is a kind of “captivity” which only Jesus has the power to set us free – the captivity of our souls and minds. In the beginning God created man with all the capacity to love God and love people. But sin captivated man’s heart and we live in this cold dark world where love for God and man are lacking.
Jesus broke that power of sin and gave us the liberty to love God and love people. Jesus came to warm the hearts of the captives with the unconditional love of God.
In Japanese society that industrial atmosphere had captivated people’s mind and will, people are going into overdrive. The look in their eyes – many Japanese are looking forward to that beach holiday but the Japanese yen which the people loved and work for does not have the power to set the people free.
Today is the day and now is the time to worship God, because that is our primary freedom as man and woman. God had never intended for man to work for money, it was man’s choice.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
That key to unlock “the prison cells of our mind and will” is to choose who we want to serve instead. In the beginning when God crated humanity and all that was on earth, there were no bondage and no captivities – all that man needed to continue in that freedom and liberty was to serve God by yielding our hearts and minds to the will of God. When man chooses to serve himself instead, we locked ourselves into our own cold, dark, selfish world.
Jesus has given us that liberty to serve God, and He said “It is finished”
Jesus wanted to give “recovering of sight to the blind”
When humanity lost sight of the truth and reality of God’s love, we become blinded to acts of grace and justice and eventually losing our path to eternity
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
Can we see the truth of what we are seeking? The lawyer was seeking to justify himself, and in doing so blinded himself to his neighbors’ need. Jesus the true light of humanity exposed his error and we saw that lack of kindness among ourselves.
Jesus wanted to give to us that “recovering of sight to the blind” so that we can walk on the correct path to eternity. Jesus have shown us, make known to us, revealed to us the way and the truth to the Father leading to eternal life, and He said “It is finished”.
Jesus came to “set at liberty those who are oppressed” – God ordained the Day of Sabbath so that man may rest. Oppression can happen in various shape and forms. Obstruction to worship God can be a form of oppression. I believe thus far the most complicated and complex form of oppression is when people are hindered by religious demands to freely worship God.
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 13:10-17)
Imagine this woman been coming to the synagogue all these 18 years expecting to meet God, and what had the ruler of the synagogue done? Do you know the Levites and priests are to serve the people on behalf of God, channeling the blessing of grace and forgiveness from the Lord to the people?
The Sabbath was to illustrate freedom and rest. The woman who was healed she glorified God and the people rejoiced. Remember people who are oppressed don’t dance around and rejoice till they are set freed from oppression. Jesus has done it and brought joy to the oppressed, and He said “It is finished”.
Jesus came to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The same year Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, resurrected and ascended, He became the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).
Since the days of old, people had invoked the Lord’s favor based on their covenant with God. When Israel sinned against God and was delivered into the hands of their enemies, there comes a time when they remembered their covenant with God and repented and called upon God to bless them again.
Our basis of receiving the full blessing of God rest in our covenant relationship with God, and in Jesus we find our covenant with God.
There is something very special and very important in this covenant Jesus had provided for us. In the history of humanity, every covenant God established with man – from Noah to Abraham to Moses to David to Solomon, every covenant had to be sealed with blood. This new covenant Jesus establishes for us with God was sealed by His own blood.
Remember when God called Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt, they celebrated their first Passover and God said ““This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”. (Exodus 12:2) The whole nation was to change their colander and start their new year from that month and that period they first celebrated the Passover.
Jesus is our Passover Lamb – that year Jesus sacrificed His life and blood for the sins of the whole world, for the whole of humanity, Jesus sealed this new covenant for us. That year is a year of new beginning for everyone and everybody, for every nations, tongues and tribes.
Jesus has done it for us, and He said “It is finished”.
Our life will never be complete without Jesus.
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