From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” … And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split…..When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:45-46; 50-51, 54 (NIV)
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:28-30 (ESV)
The final moments. Forsaken, not abandoned. A curtain torn. An earth shattered. It is finished.
We have come to our final destination. At the cross on Golgotha, Jesus’ work is done. In his birth, our hope. In his life, our salvation. In his death, our redemption.
For those of you who have been either participating in or following our Lenten fast these past seven weeks, may our final day of fasting together be like our first – a day of repentance, to change the course of our lives, to accept again the glory of the cross, to appreciate the cost of the gift we are freely given.
We have undertaken this journey to find ourselves. My prayer is that this has been a season not just of reflection, but of renewal. Stand firm on the promises delivered that day on that little hilltop outside of Jerusalem. Live in the confidence that his work guarantees our life. Hear his call. Obey and live abundantly.
“In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes. I bargained for salvation and they gave me a lethal dose. I offered up my innocence, I got repaid with scorn. ‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm.’” – Bob Dylan, Shelter From the Storm