Thursday, January 29, 2009

21 Days of Consecration - Day 19, John 19 - "It Is Finished!"

I'll admit to a little apprehension about reading today's chapter. I have thoroughly enjoyed our 21 Days of Consecration but as we approached the Cross I felt less than enthusiastic. I wasn't looking forward to reading the details of the One I loved being led as a Sheep to the shearers to be brutalized and victimized for my sins. I had enjoyed reading His teachings, His dialogues with the disciples and His prayers to the Father. I had fallen in love with Him all over again. And I didn't want to see Him go to the cross. (Maybe that's how Peter and the disciples felt when they said, "May it never be!")

But when I opened the pages and began to read, a sense of calm came over me. This was necessary. And it was good. Here are several things that really jumped out to me:
  • Jesus' innocence was repeatedly proclaimed (18:34; 19:4,6) demonstrating His purity. He was thoroughly examined and proclaim perfectly pure, the unblemished sacrifice.
  • Jesus was shown to be the King of the Jews on multiple occasions (19:3,11,14,15,19-22) though not in the sense of a political king that they expected. But He came to rule the hearts of men.
  • All of this happened to fulfill Scriptures (19:24,36,37). This was not fate, nor happenstance. There was a specific purpose for all of this.
  • Jesus was in complete control the entire time (19:11,26-27,30). He willingly laid down His life to set the captives free.
When I finished the chapter, even though we haven't gotten to the resurrection, I knew the work had been accomplished. When I heard Jesus proclaim, "It is finished!" I saw that Jesus died as a Victor and had completed what He came to do. And if you recall, He came to set the captives free!

This past Sunday we dealt with the topic, setting the captives free. Those who were here will remember we distributed half-sheets of paper with prison bars on them. As I ministered, I encouraged everyone to write the names down in the open prison door on their paper, as a reminder to pray for them. We also gave those who wanted to do so the opportunity to bring a copy and place them in the "bars" up on the platform. We assembled those names and yesterday sent them out to the Prayer Team. I also had Jenni take the papers back out to take a picture of them in the "bars", which you can see at the left.

On the 48 sheets that were turned in were over 270 names (not counting the ones that said "and family"). Truly there are many captives, who we love so much, that we want to see set free. And this is possible because of what we read in John 19. "It is finished!" That's the cry from heaven. That's the response when anyone falls to their knees and asks for forgiveness for sins. The work has been done. Now they must walk it out and walk in it.

Let's continue to pray for the captives in our lives, that they will truly be set free. We love them. That's why their name is on the list! And God loves them - that's why He had us put their name on the list! So let's do our part: Pray Unceasingly, Love Unconditionally, Share Appropriately. And God WILL do the rest!

Blessings,
Nathan

P.S. This Sunday is going to be a Consecration Celebration! You'll have the opportunity to share what God has done in your life during these 21 Days of Consecration. And we'll close with communion - it's going to be "off the hook!!!" I can't wait! Let's finish strong!
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