The Gospel reading today tells us that the last word Jesus spoke before he died is It is finished. The Greek word translated as finished in English was used during the time of Jesus to mark a receipt as fully paid. When Jesus said it is finished, it can be translated as it is fully paid. This makes us ask: what did Jesus pay?
The First Reading, referring to the Servant of God, tells us: surely, he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases. Other translations have this: surely, he has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows. Infirmities can mean weakness, imperfection, disease. This Servant bore our weakness, imperfection and diseases. He carried our sorrows. Jesus is this Servant of God and throughout his life on earth, he healed people of their weakness, diseases and he gave comfort and joy to those who are suffering. Our weaknesses, diseases, sorrows, are not from God. These are the result of sin, sometimes, of our own, but most of the time, of the sins of others. But the effects of sin are real and often devastating and lead to destruction and death because this is the work of the devil. 1 John 3:8 tells us: the reason the Son of God appeared is to destroy the works of the devil.
On the Cross, Jesus took on all the effects of sin, the works of the devil, and nailed it with him so he can take them with him to his death. All the effects of sin, from the time of Adam to the end of this world, SLAMMED down on Jesus on the Cross. This includes the sins we have committed and the sins we will commit in the future. Sin separates us from God. and when Jesus took on the effects of all the sins of the world on the cross, he suffered its consequences: a sense of total separation from God. For Jesus, paradoxically, this sense of total separation from God, shows to us his perfect union with the Father's will. This does not mean our sins make us closer to God. We still need to repent when we sin. Jesus is closest to the Father at this point because he is without sin and he took on the sins of the world.
This is the price Jesus paid for our sins. This is what God was willing to do to give us a life of freedom. The Son of God, took on the punishment due for our sins and for the sins of the world, such that the First Reading says, we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. Jesus did not have to do what he did. He is God and his glory is not diminished even if the entire human race is condemned to hell. But he still did, because he wants to pay for our sins so we can be free from the effects of sin.
What did Jesus do when he took on the punishment of all the sins of the world:
- He was wounded for our transgressions. The word wound means to dissolve or break. The word transgression means revolt or sin. Jesus willingly left heaven, taking on flesh, allowing himself to be wounded for our sins.
- Crushed for our iniquities. The word crushed means to crumble. The weight of the sin makes Jesus crumble in his humanity.
- Upon him was the punishment that made us whole. He takes on the punishment due to us, so we can be whole. Since everyone sins, everyone is broken. When Jesus took on the sins of the world, he made us whole.
- By his bruises we are healed. We are healed by his wounds.
Jesus paid the price for us. He took the effects of sin: punishment, suffering and death, so we can be set free and live with him. Jesus destroyed the works of the devil by his death.
But some may ask, if that is the case, why are we still suffering, especially now, with the corona virus, with self-isolation, with people losing their jobs, and families separated? The victory of Jesus does not mean all these will be taken away. His presence leads us through all these to victory. The presence of Jesus IS Victory! We will still have suffering, sin and death. But when we live in Christ, when we accept the payment Jesus made for us, we are assured of his presence through what we are suffering now. When Jesus is present in our lives, we already have victory over all that troubles us.
If you are overwhelmed by your situation today, facing sickness, death, financial ruin, uncertainties, doubt, fear, Jesus calls you to come to him. The Second Reading tells us he knows how you feel because he is like everyone of us, except he did not sin. He calls us to submit to the Father, so we can learn obedience and be made perfect. Jesus paid for our sins. There is nothing you have to do, except to receive that freedom he has won for you. This acceptance of the freedom Jesus gives, requires surrendering your life to him, just as the Psalm says: into your hands, I commend my spirit. Trust in Jesus, he has paid the price for your new life. He has conquered death. He has won the victory.
Lord, here I am. I am overwhelmed by my situation. I come to you boldly, as you command in the Second Reading, confident, I will receive mercy and grace in time of need. This is my time of need. Thank you for paying the price of my sins. And I reject them and resolve to live for you. In your mighty name, come, heal me, lead me to freedom.