On my own, I chose Saying Number Six.
Here’s what I arrived at.
It is a compilation of thoughts I have absorbed over the years, but a couple of lessons from Sathi Achen and KC Achen figure prominently in this particular piece.
Once again, It was an amazing experience for me as it was last year.
Gave a little. Received back a lot.
This aside, a single blog page wouldn’t be enough to cover my gratitude to these men of God and Cloth, (many more than the ones that are mentioned here), who have given me so incalculably much along my journey and formation:
Intellectual men (sorry, for now it’s only men), with advanced educations in Biochemistry, Biology, Psychology, (boy, do they ever need that! even more than scripture perhaps), and Mathematics and Literature and Accounting, Business and Information Technology, from corners far away from the dusty hills of Judea: men who sacrificed so much relinquishing lucrative careers and more, to tell the 2000-year-old story of a Judean man’s Sacrifice.
That faith alone is the proof.
The sixth of Jesus’ sayings on the cross was: ‘It Is Finished’. That He could talk at all at that point seems miraculous.
In order for something to be ‘finished’, it has to ‘start’ first.
So when Jesus uttered, ‘it is finished’, what was it that got started?
It is, what got started with the Creation, the Paradise, the Man, the Woman. Sin. And Punishment.
and what was finished: Redemption. Of the same man and woman. From sin and punishment.
The term ‘Original Sin’ can be assigned many interpretations.
At its base, it’s forbidden sex.
At its core however, it is man willfully turning away from God. Man had everything, he walked with God daily, heck, he even had a partner he gave up his ribs for.
And yet, he risked everything and chose an alternate path.
God, in His disappointment and sadness, (as God always is: sad and disappointed when His creation turns away from Him) ‘punished’ humankind to hard labour, painful childbearing, and with the experience of death.
Some may reject the term ‘punishment’. I understand it as, one having to face the consequences of one’s actions.
But, that is not the end. It is the beginning.
Right after issuing ‘The Curse’, in His next breath, God gave us an ‘out’. He said to the crooked creature: ‘Her Offspring shall crush your head’.
The child the woman bears in pain will save the world. Great gain is achieved only through pain.
The Great Transformation from Eve to Mary is now complete.
One disobedient and the other, in complete submission.
One that caused The Fall. The other that gave us the Redeemer by answering God’s Call.
From illicit relations, to Immaculate Conception.
In Genesis 3:15, God curses the serpent, “man shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
One of my dad’s sermons that still rings in my ears as though it happened yesterday, he exclaimed, ‘the serpent can only tug at our heels. But the offspring of the woman, ‘sthreeyude sandathi’, would crush the serpent’s head’.
Note that a male is not mentioned here. The child of a maiden.
So it was the death of sinfulness. Jesus’ victory over evil.
We get to choose love over hate. Eternal life over certain death.
We’re offered a second chance. The option of a New Life.
It’s significant to take note in context, the hour at which Jesus was executed.
According to the Gospel of Mark, just at the precise time a lamb was being slaughtered, in the Jerusalem Temple on the ninth hour of Passover for the atonement of sins of the Jews, is when the crucifixion took place.
Not just any old lamb, but a chosen male, baby lamb, a lamb without blemish. In Malayalam, it is called, ‘oonam-illatha kunjadu’.
The young, and sinless one gave it up for us.
The Law was rewritten.
A new Adam and a new Jerusalem were born.
Salvation came from the Jews, but it is no longer something exclusively available to just a few. It is for mankind.
All of us now belong to the Chosen Tribe. The Chosen One from the Chosen People chose us.
Built into Jewish synagogues of old, is a section called the Holy Of Holies. Only the high priest, typically a Levite, of the priestly tribe, is allowed to enter this inner sanctum.
In the other world’s great religion, its oldest really, the Hindu temples also have a similar place in their Ampalam or Mandir, called the Sree Kovil (House of God), where God resides. Only Poojaris of Brahmin descent, again of the priestly class, have access to this space.
So that is what transpired on The Cross.
When the curtain tore in the temple, that separation between man and God was overcome. now you and I can enter the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, the Sree Kovil, through that tear.
Found only in the Gospel of John, the Greek word for the saying “it is finished” translates into ‘tetelestai’, an accounting term that means “paid in full.”
Not coincidentally, ‘Kalah’ is the Hebrew word uttered by the rabbi as he sacrifices the baby lamb in the temple. ‘Kalah’ means, ‘it is finished’.
What started in Genesis 3:15 was finished in John 19:30.
The companionship that was lost in Eden is now restored. We have full communion with God. All we have to do is choose it. it’s free for the taking.
It is what is called Grace.
That final offering of atonement by the shed blood of the Lamb is what was finished.