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Kindness Korner

"It is Finished"


“It is Finished!”
Thirty three years later the carpenter’s son was dying on a wooden cross at a place called Golgotha. There is no evidence that Joseph was still alive, or that he was present, as was his wife, Jesus mother, Mary. As Jesus came to the end of his life he breathed out a sentence that is incredibly important. He said, “it is finished.” It would be natural to consider this to be about his being alive, that his suffering was over, but it was a lot more than that. When Jesus said those three simple words he was announcing that the whole complicated, meticulous system of sacrifices and rituals that were designed to obtain forgiveness was now over. Jesus had paid the price.
All religions, more than anything else, have majored in laws, systems, practices and rituals designed to satisfy God, or the gods. Paying for sins committed, offering some kind of penance to protect oneself from God, or the gods, was what religion was all about. (This is not totally unknown today, even in Christianity). Meanwhile Divinity was above it all, enjoying heavenly satisfactions, while always threatening to punish, or harm, the people on earth if they neglected their religious obligations. Religion was about keeping the gods happy, or obeying God to avoid damnation or tribulation.
Jesus death on the cross cancelled the need for that anywhere in the world. “It is finished.” Jesus paid the debt of humanity in full, for every human being. The world is changed.
It is reasonable to conclude that God in Jesus had something else in mind than to have people preoccupied with rituals, sacrifices, laws designed to keep God from punishing them. When Jesus death was planned, and then carried out, it was a supreme act of love for humanity. It also signaled that there was something else that God/Jesus had in mind for civilization. The sacrificial system had played an important role in keeping people God-conscious, and God serving. But it had deteriorated into rituals and activities that had lost much of their meaning. The sacrifices and rituals had become nearly meaningless for positively directing lives. So God took care of it. “It is finished.”
So the religious system was turned upside-down. All of this included a powerful new revelation about the nature of God. Rather than understanding God as threatening, punishing, angry, and demanding payment for sins, while enjoying the pleasures of being above it all, the incredible bottom line of Jesus death and the ending of the sacrificial system is that GOD IS LOVE. God loves people. What will we do with that?
A new agenda was another part of Jesus mission. What now if religion is no longer what it was?


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