This week I have been wrestling with what three little words have impacted humanity the most. Without a doubt, “I love you” ranks pretty high on this list. Giddy teenagers whisper it back and forth over late night calls, parents lovingly state it to children, and partners cling to it during difficult times. Clusters of “three little words” serve a different place within the daily rhythm of our lives. They are sprinkled in amid the steady ebb and flow of our daily routines, and when placed together they can shape the direction of our day, our relationships, and our hearts.
I would have to imagine that for the disciples that gathered around Jesus they would have heard Him utter numerous “three little words”. I wonder if they would have paused to reflect upon the gravity of each instance, or if like you and I, they were so embedded within normal routines that they would have also become normal to hear.
On one day however, three little words would have caused time to stand still, the earth to tremble, and the heavens to pour. Imagine with me for but a moment; the streets are crowded with angry gatherings of people who are pushing and shoving for prized positions. Positions that granted a perfect view of a cross being drug down the street. Pharisees clustered together, some with angry expressions and others with shame. Scared disciples sprinkled amid the crowds, sick at their stomach by what is unfolding around them. A mother’s knees giving out, and the strong hands of John, the beloved, holding her upright as the metal clanking of nails rose above all their words. In your mind, where are you standing in that crowd? Are you in the back, trying to stay away from the stench of death? Perhaps in the middle, with the angry crowd pushing up around you from every direction. It is easy for Christians to cling to the symbol of the cross. We sing songs, preach sermons, and testify about resting within the shadow of the cross. However, on this specific day and at this specific time, would you find yourself standing at the foot of this blood stained cross, as its shadow shelters you from the scorched sun, as your Jesus hung upon it?
He would not have yelled them, for they were words spoken for His Father to hear, but they commanded such authority that even time responded. Those at the back of the crowds would have only heard the words of this world. Those in the middle would have only felt the rejection of this world, and those in the front would have not understood the meaning to this world…but all would have felt the impact of these words. After the yelling, after the clanking of the nails, and after the screams of a mother, a quiet voice would have whispered; “it is finished” (John 19:30). Three little words that radically altered the course of humanity. Three little words that would personally change both your life and mine; “it is finished”. Absolute, non-negotiable, and unconditionally binding; “it is finished”. In one perfect moment, you and I were purchased from this world and solidified into His, because “it is finished”.
The most beautiful part of this story is that for many of us, we would have chosen to stand in the back, safe from the horrors of the cross. However, if you pause long enough, and lift your eyes upon that cross you can hear a magnificent song of praise unfolding around you….
“blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood!
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my savior all the day long!
This is my story,
This is my song,
Praising my Savior,
all the day long!”