The Finished Life

People die. As unpleasant as it is, it’s a fact. Overall, our culture seems mostly inured to this sobering fact. Perhaps it’s explainable (in part) with how movies depict death. If there’s lots of blood splashed across the screen, our brains dismiss it. If the script wanders into sappy sentimentalism when a character dies, we may roll our eyes and chuckle.

Image by TC Perch from Pixabay

But death is real … and none of us escapes its clutches. In solemn contemplation of Holy Week, I’ve reflected on Christ’s sacrifice. The Resurrection may be (for many) a familiar tale, but its substance and straightforward details never cease to amaze.

In a passage (Matthew 16:21-23) I read this morning, I was struck how Jesus summarized for His disciples exactly what He knew was about to happen.

21 …jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

This specific verse reads like a Cliff Notes version. He began to explain (check). Must go to Jerusalem (check). Suffer many things (check). Be killed (check). Be raised to life (check). He began to explain, but beyond the bare bones details of this verse, we don’t have a clue what Jesus said in those conversations! We know Peter reacted and was rebuked (verses 22-23). What about His other followers?

Today, it’s not uncommon for people who know their death is imminent to make preparations:  updating a will, returning to favorite places, seeking forgiveness or reconciliation, reviewing and completing a bucket list. There’s an impulse to finish, and I’ve often heard the admonition:  Finish well!

It would presumptuous for me to define exactly what that phrase might mean for others. For the Son of God, however, just before He died, He declared “It is finished.” As I think about those three simple words, I understand He acknowledged He had finished well. Everything He had come to earth to do had been accomplished.

O, Death! a sonnet

Before they made their final trip down that road to Jerusalem, the disciples had been adequately forewarned what would happen to Jesus! He gave them the full scoop! He modeled the finished life for them … how had they missed it?

I began this post with the statement, People die. Everyday, people die unexpectedly … no final preparations, often enough not even having time for a goodbye. Prepare now to finish well.

Comments Are Always Appreciated!