Updated: Jul 13, 2022
John 19:28-30 (MSG)
"Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, "I'm thirsty." A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to His mouth. After He took the wine, Jesus said, "It's done...complete." Bowing His head, He offered up His Spirit."
Before Jesus proclaimed that "It is finished," He perfected the act of completion. Laying hands on someone and commanding sight, then sending that same person away to wash his eyes, without going with him to make sure that everything turned out OK, is completion. Taking a few loaves of bread and some fish and turning it into an order for 5,000+, without actually going around Himself to distribute the food and make sure that this was really going to work, is completion. Walking into the room of a dead girl and telling her parents that she is only asleep without checking her pulse, is completion. The lead up to Jesus finishing His days as a mere mortal were filled with acts of completion. As followers of Him, we too, must be seeing our acts of faith to completion. So, how do we do it?
Completion is, in the simplest form, finishing something. When Jesus said this, His physical body was dying. He had endured whips, thorns, beatings, strain, a trial, public humiliation, rejection, accusations, and of course betrayal. This was how He finished, this was His completion. Not exactly the painted picture that we typically hang upon our perfectly decorated walls. Jesus knew that in the physical realm, the story of His humanity would end with pain and sadness. He knew that there wouldn't be a red finish line with crowds cheering on His completion in this world; because His eyes were set on the TRUE realm, the spirit realm. This teaches us the heavy importance of TRUE completion, one that we are not always able to see this side of heaven.
Beginning a stance of faith takes a type of courage and resolve that draws something TRUE from within those who move into that first step. When we begin this 'way' of life we tend to see ourselves making the whole journey to completion, no worries no problems. We can see the romance in the beginnings of knowing the Word of God (the TRUTH) at face value. We fantasize what it is going to look like when we get everything we set out to get on a physical level and all of the credit that goes along with those items. We see ourselves as faith giants, with a few minor successes under our belts and we even do things as many of us have been trained to do things - little by little, not taking on something that is too big for our current faith size. But what if we are suddenly thrust into a situation that requires our faith size to jump from toddler to a men's plus size over night? How would we possibly be able to see such a gargantuan faith step to completion?
Galatians 2:19-20 (NASB)
"For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."
The Apostle Paul was on to something much bigger than what He could have possibly imagined with his own finite human mind. He actually wrote about being a person who not only found a 'new' life in the covering of Jesus and His obedient and selfless sacrifice; but more specifically in Galatians 2 (above) he is writing about the fact that because of Jesus, he (and us) is able to live life to completion, just as Jesus did. Just as Jesus. As if we were the embodiment of Jesus Himself. As Jesus was not subjected to the natural laws of the world. As Jesus feared not a single thing, even death itself. As Jesus saw the completion of the promises made to Him by the Father - of the salvation of humanity.
It's hard to complete something when we don't exactly have all the details, the materials and/or the understanding of just what that completion is meant to look like. We've established on multiple occasions that God's thoughts and ways look nothing like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and so following those TRUTH lines we must conclude that the method and the outcome aren't going to be what we had in mind when we began our faith quest. This isn't to say that we aren't going to see that which we KNOW that God promised to us, in fact in all examples of people seeing things to completion - the results and the journey (in hind site of course) are much better and so much more different than what anyone could have even imagined they would be. There is a 'movement' (if that is the right word for it) that tacks on a slogan that has actually been around for multiple decades, it reads "God+Nothing" and ultimately it equals a TRUTH that we talk about in these blogs a lot - don't add anything to God, to His Word and to that which He tells us to do. He doesn't need our help and in most cases, our 'help' more often than not keeps things backed up. But this slogan is missing a major ingredient in the equation, US! We must be obedient to the Word, we must trust God in all things and with all things, we must stand our faith ground even when we are beaten, humiliated, rejected, accused and betrayed, just as Jesus was. We are the walking and talking embodiment of Jesus and just as Paul's lightbulb turned on one day to this TRUTH, we live as Jesus lived and if we aren't - what are we doing here then?
Luke 14:25~28 (TPT)
As massive crowds followed Jesus, He turned to them and said, "When you follow Me as my disciple, you must put aside your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers~~~yes, you will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you'll pay to be considered one of My followers. And anyone who comes to Me must be willing to share My cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be My disciple. So don't follow me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it?"
In our transformation from death to life, darkness to light and sinners to the forgiven, our starting point is the moment we become newbies in Christ, His disciples. This is our first and ultimate step out of the boat into faith. This is where we all equally begin. Strengthening ourselves as we continue living out this new found walk of faith gives us the endurance and the fortification of the knowledge of God to see our lives complete and eventually come to it's full completion. We know these things the same way we know that we can let that call from a family member g0 to voicemail because we're going to see them later, no big deal. But then it becomes a big deal when something unexpected inserts itself into the equation and we wish we would have taken that call. Well that example was a little too close to home! Equally, the relationship between God and the life that we live IS this close to home. See, we are already on the (naturally speaking of course) CRAZY SIDE of the street! Every day that we wake up and say a prayer - we are talking to someone WE CAN'T SEE or HEAR (regularly)! We are already on the water, and it's about time we all started acting like it. 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 (NASB) "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord - for we walk by faith. not by sight."
Good people can easily lose their way if they are attached to and following too closely to the doctrines of man and not the TRUTH at the very heart of who Jesus is. Jesus had great crowds following Him and rather than beefing up His itinerary and making sure that the crowds liked what He was saying (catering to the mob); He warned them about losing focus (meant for Him) on things that were (are) pretty massive in their lives, because in His estimation they would not being able to make it to the end. Essentially, Jesus is cluing us in to His thoughts (God's thoughts) on the physical realm and all that we experience by using our 5 senses; His call is for us to drop the physical things for Him, to not lean on these things we can see and hear, but lean on Him; anything or anyone, if they get in the way of following Him and obeying Him, His way is for us to die to the pursuit of these things/people. Why? Because things/people have a tendency to get in the way of walking by faith and communing with our Father.
The finished work that Jesus spoke out just before breathing His last breath was less the type of completion that we have experienced after doing something that took time and sweat, and grit to accomplish; actually, it was more in line with being in the midst of a battle and seeing a weakness, an opening to take that blind spot and swoop in to claim victory. The completion of His work/purpose on the planet as a human came because spiritually, the enemy had just been defeated, it had already happened and THEN He breathed His last breath.. Was Jesus a time traveller? It would seem that way, but what really took place to complete His work was a spiritual win (death) FIRST and then the physical followed. It sounds confusing because (as we all know) He actually died a physical death - and that's the clue. Remember, Jesus pointed us in the direction of dying to the pursuit of the physical things of this world. We will leave this blog with Paul's eternal assessment of what true discipleship means, together with a challenge for each one of us to (more than ever before) live by faith and not by sight all the way... to completion.
Colossians 2:20 (NKJ)
"Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations?"