“After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,* Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine.* So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” (John 19:29-30)
It was done. Jesus took on every ounce of pain, every insult hurled at him, every bone crushing lash, every nail from the cross, every humiliating thing that the Father placed on his broad shoulders he took on for our sake.
It is finished and the world has been redeemed and re-created.
It is finished. His earthly mission to come and redeem us has come to an end. And isn’t redemption simply the re-creation of the world? He came to re-create us into his divine image and likeness. He did this to vanquish sin once and for all. He withstood every last ounce of pain and perfectly fulfills the will of the Father. This is why he is exalted on that cross because of his fidelity to his Father. And Jesus desires the same from us: that we follow the will of the Father.
The cross on this day is an example of how to live our lives: completely for the other. If we want to get to the New Life of Easter Sunday then we have to pass through the sacrifice of Calvary. In order to reach the true life that God wants for us, we have to imitate our Lord: die to ourselves and rise to a new life with him. We have to crucify our old self with all its faults and sins to the cross…and there it dies.
Being a Christian is simply being like Christ, living like Christ, and yes, sometimes suffering like Christ with the hope that one day we will be living with Christ in the presence of the Father forever. When we give of ourselves totally to Christ and die to ourselves, we receive the same promise that Jesus gave the good thief: “this day you will be with me in paradise” because like Jesus and that good thief, we all long to be in the arms of our Father.