The word “amen” is often uttered after prayers to signify that it is over. It literally means; let it be true, or truly – and is intended to be used to express that the person who spoke the prayer believes that God has heard it, and He will answer it, according to His will. For 33 years, Jesus has been living a prayer. His every word, action, teaching and healing has been an offering to God, His Father, with whom He has been in constant communication. Today, in this spot, on this hill is where the prayer will end.
The charge was blasphemy. Claiming to be like God. The accusers were motivated by fear, jealousy, and a greed for power. The trial had been illegal. Held in the dark of night, with no eyewitnesses, and no one to plead His case. The sentence was death, but it could not be carried out through typical means, since Passover was now in session, and so a foreign governor, with no skin in the game except his own, was brought in to do their dirty work. The execution would be immediate, death on a Roman cross.
In an attempt to get him to recant, and appease their wishes, Pilate had had Him flogged, forty lashes with a whip laced with shards of glass, metal and even hooks. It had not worked. He remained silent, and stoic, as though knowing what faced Him was inevitable. As He sat in a cell, and appeared before the crowds, they had mocked him, spat on Him and placed a crown of thorns upon His head – all the while crying out with jeering voices – “behold the King of the Jews.” Given the choice they freed a murderer in His place, and their voices joined in a haunting chorus; “crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify!” The same people who had celebrated the coming of their King just 5 days ago, now celebrated His death at the hands of those they hated most.
And so He picked up His cross, the weapon by which He would meet His end, and carried it through the narrow streets now crowded by a different type of parade. Through the gates and just outside the walls to the “place of the skull” He drug it, stumbling and falling, and needing help along the way. And there, on a hill overlooking the Holy city of His chosen people, He literally laid down and offered Himself, as a sacrifice for them.
John 19:23–29 (ESV)When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
His purpose has been completed. He is hanging on a tree, held – not just by three nails, but by the sins of all mankind. His cup is empty. He inhales His last, and with His final breath He utters the end of His life, the end of His calling, the end of His prayer. “It. Is. Finished.”