"When he had received the vinegar, Jesus said, 'It is finished'; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." - John 18:1—19:42
Today's reading, John 18: 1 – 19: 42, is a long one. It is John's account of Jesus' passion. On this Good Friday you might want to find a time to read it all through slowly, and to sit with this story.
As you do, you may notice Jesus' final words from the cross, which are different in John than in the other gospels. "It is finished," said Jesus. John wants us to understand that despite the injustice and agony of the cross, Jesus was not a victim. His life was not taken from him; he gave it. He was not a passive victim; he completed his work and fulfilled his charge.
Can something similar, if in a lesser way, be true for us as well? We do not control all that life brings to us. Can we, despite that, be "in control" of our own lives, giving them rather than having them taken? Can we claim our own lives, even embracing their hardest times, and live our one precious life fully? As we do, we are not alone. There is One who goes before us.
Lord, when I am tempted to play blame games, grant me the courage and grace to claim my own holy life and to live it wholly. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.