Aloha Friday Message – March 27, 2015 – Sixth Friday of Lent

1513AFC032715 – Consummation!

Read it online here, please.

Genesis 2:1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.

In Hebrew, that word looks like this: וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ

The Hebrew word for finished is וַיְכֻלּ֛וּ way-ḵul-lū which comes from the root word כָּלָה (kalah) { kaw-law’}. The expression finished here means “consummated” or ” to perform the last act which completes a process, to accomplish, fulfill.” Everything that needs to be done has been done. It is a fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. Whatever can or needs to come next can succeed because the perfect preparation for it has been completed. Remember? The verse immediately before this one says 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31) All the other days of creation ended with “And God saw that it was good.” At the end of the sixth day, indeed it was very good, so good in fact, that God could rest for a day after all the work he had cone creating the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in them. It was the perfect ending of all he had done. Now, with that in mind, let us look at today’s word from the Cross:

John 19:30 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“It is finished.In Greek, this is Τετέλεσται, (Tetélestai) {teh-TEH-les-tie}. Some translations read, “It is consummated,” which is another appropriate translation of the word Τετέλεσται. This expression comes from a Greek word τελέω teléō  {tel-eh’-o}, which also means consummation, or to complete a process all the way through the final step which means everything that needed to be done has been done. It is a fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. Whatever can or needs to come next can succeed because the perfect preparation for it has been completed. Wait. That sounds familiar! So, could it be that way-ḵul-lū in Hebrew and teh-TEH-les-tie in Greek have the same denotative and connotative meanings? Certainly! Jesus was there when the words of Genesis 2:1 were spoken (think of John 1:3aAll things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.)

Jesus had not gone to his death completely unaware of what was happening, what would happen, or what the results would be. He fully understood what was in that cup he asked his Father about in Gethsemane. He completely emptied that cup so that it was fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. He completed that process in the same way that Adam had undone the perfection of creation. Adam’s fall and death came through the use of his free will to disobey. Jesus’ death and resurrection came through the use of his free will to obey. You might think of these two events as mirror opposites. Adam fell and died through disobedience. Christ died and rose through obedience. Eve, mother of all the living, received life through the flesh of the sleeping Adam. Mary, Mother of the Living God gave flesh to Jesus through her conscious decision to be the handmaid of the Lord. The sin which brings death through Adam becomes the death of sin through Christ. Sin is finished, forgiven, and forgotten – conquered by the Lamb of God that was slain for our salvation. But it is not unmade yet. There is still much to wait upon in God’s plan.

There is to be a New Heavens and a New Earth, all arising from a New Covenant arising from the Last Cup taken up by Christ on the Cross. There are some that say that on the night he was betrayed, he and his disciples did not take the Fourth Cup of the Seder – the Passover Meal. It is called “The Cup of Completion.” Jesus’ tasting of the wine moments before his death – in the teachings of those who hold this view – was The Fourth Cup. (Please see this resource for more information.) Rather than the ceremonial Kittel often worn by one presiding at a Seder Meal, Jesus was stripped of his clothing and exposed in ways that were atrociously demeaning to Jews. Yet, he endured all of this willingly. Abraham accepted God’s request to sacrifice his son on the mountaintop because Abraham reasoned that God’s promise was trustworthy and somehow – no matter what Abraham did to Isaac, God’s promise that a host of nations would come from Abraham would be a fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way. Whatever can or needs to come next could succeed because the perfect preparation for it had been completed.

Wait! That sounds familiar! Many generations later, Moses and Aaron would lead the children of Isaac out of Egypt – another fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. Salvation came to the world through the Only Begotten Son of God who is “a Priest forever.” And who was the Priest to whom Abram (before he was renamed Abraham) give a tenth of all his possessions in thanksgiving to God for a victory over his enemies? Check this passage from Genesis:

Genesis 14:18-20 – 18 And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
maker of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.

That crosses back to Psalm 110:4 – The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
 The Apostle Paul writes of this encounter in Hebrews. Hebrews 5:5-10 Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Paul finishes up in the seventh chapter of Hebrews with an astute analysis of God’s fulfillment of his plan of salvation tying it all to Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek. Truly, that plan was consummated when Jesus pronounced, “It is finished.” But, for us Beloved, it all began there!

Jesus’ willing sacrifice made in obedience was the one and only fully-completed, made-to-order, exactly-right process concluded properly and correctly in every possible way that was. Whatever can or needs to come next can succeed because the perfect preparation for it has been completed. Next week we will examine the one remaining statement made by Jesus on the Cross. Until then, I pray you will have a wonderfully transforming Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Vigil.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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