THE Red-Letter Day
Have you ever sat and read in the New Testament ONLY the words in red, Jesus’ words? For a completely new perspective, I challenge us to do just that. I know context is everything, but let’s step out of the exegesis (interpreting the scriptures) box for a brief moment, to get an amazing snapshot of Jesus. His love, His compassion. His strength, and His authority.
Without all the narrative, those stand-alone red words pack a powerful punch, knowing they are Jesus. There are dramatic statements, strong commands, tender words and authority unlike any before Him. “Let it be so…” (Matt 3:15) “It is written…” (Matt 4:4) “Get up…” (Matt 9:6) “Take courage it is I…” (Matt 14:27) “Quiet, be still...” (Mk 4:39) “Come forth …” (Jn 11:43) “Don’t be afraid just believe...” (Mk 5:36) “What do you want Me to do for you…” (Mk 10:51) “Who do you say I am…” (Lk 9:20) “Then neither do I condemn you…” (Jn 8:11) “I am…” (Jn 18:6).
These are just a few. But there is one more that stands out among the rest. Here I do want to set the context. Jesus is agonizingly set between two thieves. His feet and hands are nailed to a wooden cross. There at the foot of the cross, many mocked, some cried, and I am confident there were those in complete silence. After the vinegar water was given to Jesus, He said, “It is finished...” (John 19:30). He then bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
“It is finished.” (Hang with me, this is GOOD God stuff!) The word in Greek is amazing! Stand back and take in the whole Technicolor filled screen. I don’t think even Steven Spielberg with all his creative genius could convey the scene that was unfolding upon humanity. “It is finished” (Tetelestai). “To bring to an end, to fulfill. What is done corresponds to what has been said, ordered or commanded.” (“Not My will, but Your will be done” – Jesus, Lk 22:42). It is accomplishing something not merely to end it but bring it to perfection for its designed goal. Bring it to perfection for its designed goal! Jesus. It signifies the successful end to a particular course of action.
Grammatically in the Greek, it is a crucial word; it is in the “perfect tense.” Meaning, the action was completed in the past with results continuing in the present. Basically, “This happened, and it is still in effect TODAY.” One might say, (so I will) “The gift that keeps on giving.” This is different from “past tense” which points to an event, declaring “This happened – nothing more – the end.” Head hung, shoulders slumped, nothing to see here, we’re going home.
NOT our Jesus – He is our NOW God!
It is finished! Then, now and forever.
As Jesus said this, His blood flowing down His forehead, from His hands and His feet. His sacrifice, His action, now eliminating the debt owed (by you and me). May we take careful notice, Jesus didn’t say, “I am finished.” That would imply He was a mere man and die defeated. Instead, He declared “It is finished.” When He died and with His resurrection power, He left no unfinished business behind. He successfully completed the work He came to do. Please note (this is HUGE) when Jesus rose from the dead and the stone was found “rolled away” it was NOT so He (the Son of God, Who walked on water. Who spoke to the wind and waves and they obeyed) could get out. It was so mankind could get in! Get in and see “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying” (Matthew 28:6, NLT).
God doesn’t waste a detail. Jesus’ redemptive work: His hands nailed, redeeming Adam and Eve reaching and taking what was forbidden. His pierced slide, Eve was taken from man’s side, she, the first to respond to deception. His feet nailed, (the devil thought he had Jesus with this one). God’s curse to the serpent – hostility between serpent and Eve’s offspring “He will strike your head…” (Gen 3:15) WELL. Jesus did the striking indeed! (regardless of His confined feet).
As the pages turn from Genesis to this very moment, the culmination hits THIS important time and place. Jesus rises from the dead triumphantly (Happy Easter) the bridge back to the Father is perfected – He engages and commissions the disciples, returns to heaven to reign forever.
Does it end here? No. Now we the church, with the authority given by Jesus Himself, as inspired by Holy Spirit carry on with the red-letter dramatic statements, strong commands, and tender words.
Move over Easter Bunny, here comes the risen King! Let’s all stand to our feet! Raising our Hallelujah – “It is finished!” Relationship offered; relationship restored.
May we live each day as a red-letter day!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)