Friday, April 22, 2011


IT IS FINISHED!  The most powerful words in human history!  What it takes three words to express in English the apostle John records in the single Greek word-tetellestai.  Finished!  Complete!  This is no whimpering word of surrender-no throwing in of the proverbial towel, though one may well imagine that Jesus' enemies and indeed the enemy of our souls believed it so!   No!  This is a victory shout; for in surrendering His will to the Father, in surrendering His back to the smiter and His body to the executioner JESUS IS VICTORIOUS!
Tetellestai-IT IS A VICTORY SHOUT  for Jesus and for us!

In Greek it is an artist's word-the word a sculptor  would use when having put down his chisel he stepped back to admire his work!  Finished!

It is a merchant's word often scribbled atop invoices and shouted in the marketplace to proclaim a debt paid in full!  TETELLESTAI  Our debt paid in full, God's masterpiece of redemption accomplished!

The tense of this verb is interesting though.  It conveys the sense that while it is an accomplished work it is somehow ongoing, leading scholar Richard Niehaus to conclude that perhaps the best translation for John 19:30 is, "It is finished but it's not over!"  Indeed our work has just begun as Jesus gives us the task of sharing the "goodness" of this Friday with a world lost in sin.  Redemption's story demands that we live our lives in such a way that when we are ready to give up our spirits we can say with Paul, "I have finished the race"  and with Jesus, "Father, I have accomplished the work that you gave me to do."

It is finished but  it's not over because to borrow a phrase from a sermon oft quoted by Christian sociologist Tony Campolo, "It's Friday but Sunday's coming!"


Monday, April 18, 2011

Mercy Triumphs

This evening I am posting from my iPad, a gift from some very dear folks at my church. The grace and love shown me at Resurrection transforms me much as the Beast and Belle are transformed. (Spent the past few weeks helping out with CUCA's production of Beauty and the Beast.). Maybe more on this at another time.

Today I am contemplating why it is that when I witness someone do something dangerous or stupid in traffic I get angry and cry out for justice? When someone is late or doesn't come through for me, I want justice. I yell loudly (at least in my head) for vindication. However when I am the perpetrator, the transgressor as it were, I demand mercy.

The cross of Jesus means that "mercy triumphs over judgment". He didn't just pay for my sin. The words of a song from a number of years ago proclaim that the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us were nailed on that cross.

So because justice was satisfied on that cross, I should not be so swift to demand satisfaction for other's offenses. I need to learn mercy and it's triumph, for Jesus sake. Paul reminds us that He is a God rich in mercy. Good thing because I am a person in such need of mercy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Can these Bones Live?"

I have been asking the title question frequently of late, since I am aging and spending time at the gym is not as effortless as it once was!  You may recognize the query as the one the "Son of Man" asks the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 37.  As I have thought about the question I have come to see it as an encouragement for Ezekeil and by extension us to see things differently.

Where Ezekiel saw not just bones but dry bones- not just dry bones but very dry bones, the Lord saw hopelessness and a need for His powerful prophetic word to breathe life. In short, Ezekiel saw a problem, the Lord saw an opportunity, a need that He was fully capable of meeting.  He wanted Ezekiel to see what He saw and to speak life. 

He wants the same from us.  I am by nature somewhat of an Eeyore but I am learning to rebuke the Eeyore within and to ask the Lord to help me see through His eyes- to see the prophetic, life-giving opportunities that surround me everyday.  Even very dry bones can become a vast army when we acknowledge along with Ezekiel, "O Sovereign Lord, you know!"  He does know and He does care and He will breathe life even into very dry bones!