S-1256 7SOE/3A 06/05/11, (O) #341; (S) #159; (C) #457
Text: Acts 1:12-26; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11
Theme: “Get-R-Done!” (John 17:3-4)
Question: “What Job[s] are you Working on Now?
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the last Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel lesson: “And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do!” (John 17:3-4).
In Nomini Iesu,
Precious saints in Christ walk into your home, basement, garage, office or shop and you will see projects that you are working on. How many of these projects have you started but didn’t finish? There is not a man or woman alive today who has finished every project they began.
Here is a list of famous people who began projects but never finished them: St. Thomas Aquinas stopped work on his Summa Theologiae in 1273 after a mystical experience. Leonardo da Vinci started a portrait of the Adoration of the Magi, but never completed it. Mark Twain took 20 years to write three versions of The Mysterious Stranger but he did not finish any of them. And right here in our State (SD), Korczak Ziółkowski, 1948 began the work on The Crazy Horse Memorial but he died in 1982 and the project is not completed yet.
Even though, you and I are not famous, we too, have projects that are not complete or will never be completed. When death calls, there will be the unread books, unwritten letters, laundry to wash, meals to cook, places to go, work to do and relationships to reconcile.
This is the nature of the beast we call life. We have every intention to complete the things we start; but we fail either because we procrastinate, lose interest, not sufficient funds or because other things demand our time more. PAUSE.
For this reason even comedian Daniel Whitney, known to most of you as Larry the Cable Guy has this catchphrase: “Get-R-Done!” This is a comedian’s call to accomplish something. That which you have begun, complete! When you do, you will feel better about it. But who of us has actually finished all of the projects that have been given him to do? No one! Study the history of man and you will notice there are books started but not completed, buildings begun, but not finished. There are paintings to do, bridges to build, dresses to saw and everything under the sun that are still not completed.
In 1822 Franz Schubert began writing one of his most famous works, the “Eighth Symphony in B Minor.” After finishing the first two movements, Schubert delivered the manuscript to his sponsor. But for reasons unknown, he never completed the symphony. For this reason, many people label it the “Unfinished Symphony.”
Today, John, the author of our Gospel writer takes us with him into the Upper Room and reveals to us the final moments of Chris before He heads to the cross. In this discourse (which is part of our Gospel reading for today), Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples and us. In the midst of this prayer we hear these words: “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do!”
Here is Jesus: in a few hours, He will be betrayed, taken as a prisoner, beaten up, bloodied and hanged on a cross. And yet He speaks these words. “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do!” Indeed, He is the One and only person who have ever lived who completed the task that was given Him. Jesus is the great composer of the symphony of salvation. However, unlike Schubert, Jesus completely finished His great work. On the night before His death, Jesus announced this fact. He boldly foretold the completion of His great symphony when He prayed, “I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do!”
In less than 24 hours from when Jesus uttered these words, He spoke these 3 words from the cross—“IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30). These are the Greatest Three Words Ever Uttered…By the Greatest Man That Has Ever Lived; for the benefit of all people in the world. In these three words the consummation of all the Old Testament truth and the germination of all New Testament truth are fulfilled once and for all.
There has never been in all of human history—anywhere, at any time, by anybody, were three words more pregnant with meaning and benefits, than these three words given by One Man at the end of His life – “IT IS FINISHED!” These words are spoken for your benefit and mine.
Imagine, my brothers and sisters in Christ what life would be like if Jesus had not finished His work. We would be lost. We would be heading for hell. We would be damned forever and ever. He has commanded us, “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). We daily fail in perfectly loving our Lord and our neighbor. That’s why the Bible says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Indeed, we are guilty of not finishing the work the Savior has given us to do.
But how beautiful it is to listen to Jesus’ symphony! In the first movement, He came into this world and lived perfectly under God’s law for us. He fulfilled the heavenly Father’s command to love Him and our neighbor perfectly. He proclaimed the good news of salvation to all by word and deed.
In the second movement, He was “delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). His death on a cross completely paid the penalty for our sins. In the third movement, He rose from the dead and announced that the Father had fully accepted His work on our behalf. His beautiful symphony proclaims, “Sinner, YOU are forgiven, holy, and sinless in God’s eyes—all because of the work I have accomplished!” PAUSE.
When Jesus spoke these words to His heavenly Father saying: “I have completed the work You gave Me to do!” He meant it. For everything has been completed and done in a way that satisfies the will of the Father. There is nothing that you and I need to do to complete the work of our redemption. There is no need to pay your dues so to speak. There is no need to give more money to the church, or to be present more time in His house to earn His favor and grace. No His work has earned our salvation and redemption and justification. Our need to do all of these things in order to accomplish our salvation is complete. However, our work in this world isn’t done. There is a need and a call for us to “Get-R-Done” in the way we live in love to those around us as we ourselves have been loved by Jesus. PAUSE.
To this day many people wonder what a complete version of Schubert’s symphony would sound like. Some composers have even attempted to finish his work. But they fail because they can produce only imitations of what the great master might have done.
Larry the Cable Guy might try to spur us on, by saying “Get-R-Done!” Yet, we know we can’t because we are not able to, or not willing to, or don’t care to. On the other hand, Jesus doesn’t say, “Get-R-Done!” Instead, He says: “It Is Done!!! I have finished the work! I have completed the task. I have finished my course!”
Saints in Christ, isn’t it wonderful that you do not have to complete Jesus’ work? Jesus completely finished His great work of salvation—for all. Now that is a great symphony indeed.
Please join me in a word of prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank You for enduring the full penalty for our sin. Help us trust that nothing more needs to be added to Your perfect work of redeeming us, restoring us and forgiving us. Amen.”
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA.