“If only I had known…” Have you ever had this thought? Have you ever wished you had known something difficult was going to happen so you could have been prepared for it? I have. I have at times wished I’d done something differently or been able to prepare myself and the people in my life for a challenging experience. But the more I thought about it, the more I wonder…Would I really have wanted to know in advance? If I had, I may have done something differently or sought to avoid something that, in the end, was filled with blessings I wouldn’t have otherwise received. That is often our way – avoiding what is difficult or painful for an easier path.
As we prepare for our Lord’s journey to the cross, it’s important to remember that Jesus fully knew what lay ahead, and He chose to travel that path… for us. The apostle John said it clearly and succinctly, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)
Jesus loved His disciples to the end. Jesus loves us completely, too. He knew what we needed. He knew we needed to have the brokenness of sin that separated us from the God who made us and loves us healed and to have our relationship with Him restored. He knew the cost, and He resolutely fulfilled all the Father had set apart for Him to do.
That’s an important thought for us as we approach the cross and the empty tomb again this year – that Jesus loves us fully and completely and that He is willing to pay the price our sin demanded. As He gave up His spirit on the cross, he pronounced that the price had been paid using the word, τετέλεσται. Our English Bibles translate this word, “It is finished,” but it means so much more than the fact that Jesus was done suffering. It means that the work of redeeming the world from sin had been accomplished.
This fact was announced to the world early on that Sunday morning when the tomb was empty and death couldn’t hold the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Easter is the proclamation that death is defeated, that sin no longer holds the world captive. God has made a way for His people to be restored to the picture in His heart when He made us – a right relationship with Him that spills over into our love for each other.
As we celebrate the gift of new life again this Easter, hold fast to the truth that God knows you completely, and that His love for you isn’t based on a false picture of who you are. It deals with the reality of sin so effectively that you can move ahead. “It is finished” means a new beginning of life in Him that can be reflected to the people around you, so that they can know this blessing, too.
Lord God, we thank You for the blessing of life we have in our risen Savior, Jesus. Let that life fill our hearts and our minds, so that we might be Your instruments of mercy and grace for this world and all the people in it. During these days of conflict and stress, let the light of Your love so shine that we might all live in the peace and joy that Jesus came to bring. In His precious name, we pray. Amen.
God bless you with this gift of new life in the Savior, and may this life and His light so shine in you that the world will know it is for them.
Serving the Lord and His people,
Rev. Dr. Paul Linnemann
President of the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod