It Is Finished

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According to Webster’s dictionary the word crucifixion means, ‘severe and unjust punishment or suffering’. Sometimes in our everyday, comfortable American Christianity, I believe that we tend to forget the cruelty and severity of our Savior’s death.  On this day that we now call Good Friday, the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer breathed his last breaths and cried out “IT IS FINISHED”.  

I will never forget as a young girl sitting in church and hearing my father deliver a message on the Crucifixion of Christ.  I can remember him studying for this sermon and researching for hours on the process and the torture that led up to Jesus’ horrendous death. He poured over commentaries, books from the library, medical journals and articles for days. This was before the internet and movies such as The Passion of the Christ that have helped to show us some of the reality of what Jesus suffered. 

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."   

Isaiah 53:4-5

The time came for him to deliver this sermon and I remember sitting and listening to him explain in a way, like I had never heard up to this point in my life, the crucifixion of Jesus.  There were no videos, no power point slides or images on a screen to emphasize his points.  But as he began to speak and explain Jesus’ death, my mind and heart had images burned into them deeper than any picture could have portrayed.  He began to explain the actual torture and pain that was inflicted upon the physical body of Jesus.  He was graphic in his descriptions of how the beating prior to the crucifixion tore away at the very core of his earthly, yet divine body. 

It felt like the air had been sucked out of the sanctuary and as if no one else was in the room. 

I listened so intently and the only thing I could hear was my father’s voice as he described the very act of crucifixion and how they nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross through his own tears and broken voice. It wasn’t because it was my father’s voice (which I would give anything to hear today), or the atmosphere in which I heard the message.  It was the reality of it all!! The realization of the extreme pain, agony, torture and humiliation Jesus Christ took upon himself for my sin wrecked me in a way I had never felt before.  

I think that we need to take time during our Easter preparation and ponder the reality of our Savior’s pain and cruel death on our behalf.  We smooth over this so often with pictures of Spring and fresh Easter trimmings. Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to welcome the signs of Spring and new life springing forth out from under the weight and heaviness of winter.  However, by remembering our Savior’s “severe and unjust suffering” on the cross for our sins, it causes us to humble our hearts in a way that makes us grateful all over again for the new life that we have in Christ.  

As we ponder the betrayal, beating, bruising and bleeding of our Savior this day, our hearts should be overcome by grief for our sin and the weight that he took in our place.  But we do not live here!! Praise the Lord!! As we look to our Savior’s death we are reminded that we no longer walk in bondage to our sins and bear the weight of their chains.  Because on this day that changed all or history our Savior breathed his last breath and made a declaration for all time that, “IT IS FINISHED”.

Think about: How can I set time aside today to think about the reality of Jesus’ death and the reality that my sins made His death necessary. What must it have been like to be one of his followers and friends and had to have witnessed the crucifixion?

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for finishing it all on the cross for my sins.  Today as I think about your death and the extravagant gift of my forgiveness I am overcome with gratitude for all that you did for me. May I never get over the cross and all that you did for me there and help me to live in a sense of urgency to tell others of the freedom and hope that they can have in you.  

- Meredith Vaughn

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Meredith is wife to Bryan, mama to Carson, Elijah, Luke, Kaylyn and Joel. She has served alongside her husband Bryan (who is the College and Missions Pastor) here at the River for 16 years. She also works at the Cookeville Pregnancy Center as a nurse and loves ministering to women and their unborn babies. She enjoys pouring into young women, camping and being outdoors with her family, cooking, reading a good book (whenever she has time) and bird watching from her kitchen window.

River Community Church