Finish The Work
[Jesus said,] “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do John 17:4
At the end of life, Jesus could say to the Father, “I’ve finished what I came to do”. Does that mean that there weren’t more sick people to heal, more sermons to be preached, and more disciples to train? Does it mean that every person He cared for had heard His message and responded? Were there no more unchecked boxes on Jesus’ to-do list? Jesus was crystal clear about why He came, and He was certain He had completed His task.
Jesus came to set the Kingdom of God on earth. To fulfill that vision, He needed to accomplish two goals: to provide direct access to God through forgiveness of sins and to leave behind some people who could carry the message to the rest of the world. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus knew that the next day’s events would fulfill the first goal, and as His looked around while He prayed, he looked into the faces of the people who would be filled with the Holy Spirit and take the gospel to the ends of the earthen. His mission was complete.
Can we make the same claim? At the end of each day, week, month, and year and at the end of our lives, can we pray confidently, “Father, “I’ve done what you wanted me to do”? Is that even possible? Yes, it is, and it gives immeasurable satisfaction to our lives. First, we have to align our priorities with God’s and then we need to carry out our tasks in a way that honors Him. When we encounter difficulties (Jesus certainly faced more than his fair share), we keep trusting God to lead us and use us.
“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly king be considered a sacrifice”.
Our question today must be whether or not we will be able to stand before Christ and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant….” Only to those who can make the claim that they completed the work God gave them to do will hear those words. That means we must be able to define what the work is that God has has given us to do. The Bible teaches that we are all ministers. That word is from the Greek for servant. In what way has God called us to serve the kingdom of God? Jesus taught that only those things of eternal value are really worth doing. You see all our accomplishments on this earth that have no eternal value will receive no reward in the world to come. Scripture tells us that Jesus went about doing good and healing the sick for God was with Him. One day He turned to the disciples and said, “The works I do you shall do and greater works than these shall you do because I go to my Father.”
It’s easy to define the work we are called to do for Christ Himself defined it for us. Let’s read Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy), to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].”
Jesus spoke this at the beginning of His ministry to define His purpose and the purpose of the Body of Christ- the church- you and I. If you’re trying to figure out what God has called you to, here it is. Our work is to bring good news- the gospel to those who lack. They may be defined not only as those who lack in the things of this world but those who are in spiritual poverty. You see we could have everything this world could offer but if we die without Christ we are poor indeed. And those we know who die in their sins are broke for nothing but the Second death awaits them. We are called to let every person in the prison of sin, held captive in its grip that the Redeemer has come to release, pardon, forgive and make free. We are called to shine our light so that those in darkness can see their way home to the Father. We are called to lift up, and speak liberty to those who are oppressed, to give them hope of life and healing and restoration. And we are called to tell everyone that they don’t have to wait for some future moment but the offer is on the table now.could
Now Christ only worked in a small region while He was on earth, the tiny nation of Israel. But when He went back to heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to fill and empower every believer so that we the Body of Christ could finish His work and our work. The only question is will we? What will you hear Christ say on that day? I hope we all hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful in a few things, enter into the joy of the Lord.” Let’s finish our work with joy and gratitude that God has graciously entrusted such a great work to us!
Dr. John Thompson