Summary: May is the month of college graduations. All across this country young men and women have completed their college educations and now have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.
May is the month of college graduations. All across this country young men and women have completed their college educations and now have the opportunity to walk across the stage and receive their diploma.
On every college campus, there are some young men and women who are walking across the stage and receiving their diploma that just barely made the grade to graduate. And then there are some young men and women who excelled academically. What we can say about the first group is that they finished; and what we can say about the second group is that they finished well.
Today in our sermon series, we come to the last phrase that Jesus uttered from the cross. It comes from john 19:30 and it just three little words: “it is finished.” And notice Jesus does not comment how he finished, we must decide in our own hearts, how Jesus finished. Did he just finish, or did he finish well? How you answer that question may make the difference between heaven and hell in your life. The writers of scripture want to help guide you to the right answer and so they tell you that Jesus finished well. In fact, let’s read our scripture for today, right now. It comes from Hebrews 12:2.
HEBREWS 12:2 (NIV)
2 let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of god.
I believe the writer of Hebrews is telling us that Jesus did not just finish; he finished well. He is not just the author of our faith but the one who made it perfect. I would say that is finishing well. He did not go to the cross kicking and screaming fighting death but went willingly for the joy set before him. I would say that is finish well. He completed everything that needed to be done and is now sitting at the right hand of the father. To be sitting means that he finished well.
Let me just tell you some other reasons, I believe that Jesus finished well. When Jesus breathed his last breath, every old testament scripture that talked about him was fulfilled. When he finished, there was no need for any more sacrifices of lambs and goats because the perfect sacrifice was offered. When he finished, there was no longer a need for the Levitical priesthood because he became our high priest. When he finished, the devil became a defeated foe. When he finished, our redemption was made complete. When Jesus breathed his last breath, there was not one more thing left to finish; his work on earth was done. Have no doubt in your mind, Jesus finished well.
And do you know that we are called not just to finish the Christian life but to finish the Christian life well.
Colossians 3:23 (niv)
23 whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the lord, not for men,
So, the question that we must ask ourselves, what will it take for us to finish well?
To answer that question, I want us to go back to the old testament to the Israelites as they traveled through the wilderness to the promised land. I think it is fair to say that for the most part, the Israelites who started the journey from Egypt did not finish the journey well. In fact, only two of that original group were able to enter the promise land, Joshua and Caleb. And about those two, it is fair to say that they finished well.
I just want to take one of them, Caleb and see what it took in his life in order to finish well.
Four verses tells us all we need to know:
Numbers 14:21-24 (niv)
21 nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth,
22 not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times--
23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.
24 but because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
The person that finishes well refused to compromise his or her convictions because it is the minority viewpoint.
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit
Twelve men went into the promise land. Twelve men who were supposedly men of faith and who trusted in god went into that land to spy out the land. But they let some giants in the land prevent them from proclaiming to their fellow Israelites that the land was just as god had promised…a land flowing with milk and honey.