In contrast to the “very serene, alive, white pure place” AbbyA described in her blog yesterday, I want you to imagine the opposite. I want you to imagine a dark, dingy, dirty prison cell. The cement floor is cold and clammy, and the cement walls are filled with crevices, filth and small creatures you’d prefer to not think about. As you lay on your filthy, stained, uneven mattress, you stare at the rusted iron bars, believing they are the only thing that separate you from freedom and happiness.
But one day a prison guard comes by to personally visit you and tell you that you have been bailed out. You watch as he takes out his skeleton key and inserts it into the lock. You can hear the click of the lock as it turns to its unlocked state. You see the guard slide open those rusted iron bars, and with a flourish of his wrist, he let’s you know you are free…
Yet you remain. Paralyzed. Sitting in the filth and excrement of your past, allowing it to immobilize you and imprison you and rob you of your present and future.
In chapter 19 in the book of John, the disciple John describes a similar scene of someone who looks like they were about to be robbed of their future.
28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”
Almost two thousand years ago, to everyone, including many of the disciples that had followed him, things did not look good for Jesus. He who proclaimed to be the Son of God who came to save the world couldn’t even save himself. He was beaten brutally by the very people whom he came to save and left to die on a cross like a common thief. Things definitely did not look good for Jesus almost two thousand years ago.
For those who put Jesus to death and heard Jesus’s final words, “It is finished,” they probably would have whole-heartedly agreed that yes, it was finished. It was over. He/Jesus was finished.
And for those people, for their limited perspective, yes, it was over.
But we know now, don’t we? We know that the only thing finished was death….hopelessness…
So as you sit in your personal mental prison cell, what is imprisoning you? Hurt? Bitterness? Disappointment? Do you feel so overwhelmed by your pain that even though the door has been left wide open for you to walk into freedom, you prefer the familiar pang of your pain?
To you who feels hopeless…to you who feels unworthy…to you who feels empty…to you, I say, “It is finished.”
You have been bailed out. You do not have to remain where you are. You may feel that things are hopeless…but two thousand years ago, things also looked very hopeless.
But we know the truth…It was not finished…Life had just begun.