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John 19:30. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.”
I know of a congregation that locks the church doors after the Good Friday service. They change the message on the answering machine: “Christ is dead. There is no church.” They turn off the lights and shutter the windows. For the hours between Good Friday and sunrise on Easter morning, they live into the hopelessness of a world that does not know resurrection.
In those hours after Jesus died on the cross, the disciples must have been bereft, numb with grief, bewildered. This man, their friend and teacher, was supposed to be king, lord of all, yet he died a thief’s death under the blazing sun on Calvary.
How would life today be different if this were the end of the story? If, after Jesus drank from a sponge of sour wine and said, “It is finished,” it was?
Just when it seems all hope is lost, God the Son rises, conquering death, changing the story forever. I wonder: At times in our lives when we feel like we’re in the last chapter, when it seems we’re at the bitter end, could God have in mind an unexpected twist?