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Passion Week Meditations - Friday, Pastor Brad Nelson

John 19:30 “It is Finished”

This second to last utterance of Jesus on the cross points to the completion of mankind’s redemption. He had finished the purpose for which he was sent. Jesus’ earthly existence had been about doing the will of his Father, and finishing His work (John 4:34). At the very end of his life, Jesus had finished the course God had given him to run. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Like Jesus, we too have a course to run in this life. God has a purpose for your life. There is a unique work for you to do. At the conclusion of our time here on earth our goal should be to have finished our course. Like Jesus, and the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:7), we want to be able to say we finished. Many start the race, but not everyone finishes. There are a multitude of reasons for not finishing - too hard, we get distracted, we face opposition, our priorities change, our motive was bad to begin with, we’re running the wrong race, we fall and don’t get up. It’s not how we start that matters, but how we finish.

One of my favorite Olympic stories is from the 1968 Games, and is about a man most people have never heard of, John Stephen Akhwari. Akhwari finished last in the Olympic marathon in 1968, not because he was outclassed, but because he had fallen early in the race and sustained a significant injury (dislocated knee, and badly hurt shoulder). Despite his pain he preserved and finished his race. When asked by reporters after the race why he kept going, Akhwari's answer was simple but profound, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

How’s your race going? Are you fulfilling, and finishing, God’s purpose for your life? If not, it’s time to start running. Make doing the will of your heavenly Father, and finishing His work, the driving force in your life. At the end of our time here on earth may we be able to utter the phrase spoken by Jesus, “It is finished.”

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