Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finally Finished

"I have glorified you on earth. I have finished the work you have given me to do." John 17:4

Spoken before the crucifixion, as far as Jesus was concerned, He'd completed all He'd been commissioned to do. How so?

I've heard it said that since Jesus had already settled the matter in His mind that He would die to redeem mankind, it was as good as done. This doesn't, however, align with the struggle He endured in the garden before His arrest. His request for another alternative was denied. Only then did He totally submit to His Father's will. If Jesus wasn't talking about His death in John 17:4, what did He mean?

A familiar bible story centers around the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Weary from traveling Jesus stayed behind to rest while the disciples sought out provisions. Presently a woman came to draw water. A routine request for a drink turned into a theological discussion. Upon the disciples' return, the woman left to tell her neighbors about the extraordinary man she'd just met. So excited, she left her water jar behind at the well, which was unthinkable.

For a man to request a drink from a woman drawing water was socially acceptable. Unless he was a known holy man or sage, for him to engage a woman unaccompanied by her husband or a male relative in a conversation was unheard of. Leave the Master alone for a few minutes and there was no telling what kind of trouble He could get Himself into. His actions left the disciples speechless (verse 27). Obviously Jesus wasn't thinking clearly. Perhaps the lack of food was having an effect. The disciples urged Him to eat.

"I have food you know nothing about..." Jesus declared. A quick glance around the area produced no evidence of anything remotely nutritious at hand. "my food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work." John 4:32, 34.

In context, the Father's work was to share the good news of man's reconciliation with God, and to announce the arrival of His kingdom on earth. In John 17, this had been accomplished. Not only had Jesus covered all of Israel and the surrounding area with this too good to be true message, but He'd also trained twelve others to carry on the work after He left. His job was done.

So, if this is the case, what did Jesus mean when on the cross He said, "It is finished." John 19:30?

When asked by His disciples to be taught how to pray one thing Jesus said was: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Matt. 6:10

In other words, earth is supposed to be a reflection of Heaven and the disciples were to pray that this would be so. Rev. 13:8 describes Jesus "as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."  This sacrifice took place in Heaven before earth ever existed. What was already done in Heaven was now in manifestation on the earth. It was finished.

How about you? How would you describe earth as a mirror image of Heaven? What does this tell you about God's meticulous attention to detail? How does His determination to ensure that things on earth align with what is in Heaven give you hope for your situation? Can you rest in the knowledge that He has a plan and is in control?

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