“It is finished.” These were the last words of Jesus on the cross. We read in John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” This is holy week, so I thought I would write a blog on the cross. These are reassuring words to hear. Men, “it is finished.” The work for your salvation, God’s great rescue plan for you, is finished. God did, through Jesus, what you will never be able to do for yourself; that save yourself. Remember that! You can never rescue yourself from yourself and your issues. That means you can stop working on your personal “spiritual improvement projects.” Oh, how hard this is for men. We want to pay our way, we want to achieve, and we want to figure so way out of our mess. But get this! What Jesus did for you on the cross of Calvary, is pure gift. That is the rub. We have a difficult time receiving.
I have prayed for many men personally over the years. Usually after a session of soul talk, it comes down to dealing with some issue of sin in the life of man. That is, there is a barrier between the man and his ongoing relationship to Jesus. One of the images I use to help a man “dump his backet” is that of standing at the foot of the cross. I will suggest that we go together to the foot of the cross. I ask the man to visualize Jesus dying on the cross for him. I ask him if he can see his sins being taken by Jesus on the cross. Then I say to him, “Can you give your sin habit or pattern to Jesus.” I often quote I Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sin in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righeousness; by his wounds you have been healed” ( I Peter 2:24)
The take away from this blog is simple. When you look at Jesus dying on the cross for you he did all the “heavy lifting” for you. But there is a part you must play. You need to come to the foot of the cross in humble repentance, thanking Jesus for what he has done for you, and cry out for mercy. Men, there is a place to go with your guilt and shame. It is at the foot of the cross. You don’t have to carry the load. I have found that men including myself, are not good at dealing with our guilt and shame alone. If you have a hard time “dumping your bucket of stuff” find another man. Make confession in his presence. Then have him declare that you are forgiven and released. We are not good at forgiving ourselves. It helps to hear the words from someone else. “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23).
One more thought. If you find your self dealing with misfortune or some impossible situation, it is easy to fall into self-pity. Men usually have a hard time admitting self pity, because it seems to be a sign of weakness or failure. But self-pity if it is not taken care of, can turn in self-hatred. One of the practices in dealing with self-pity is to view Jesus on the cross. He suffered and agonized for you as an innocent man on the cross. But that was not only a man on the cross, but it was also God. Yes, God suffers for you. So there is a place to go with your suffering, discouragement and self-pity. Bring it to Jesus. He understands. We read in Hebrews, “That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself – all pain, all the testing – and would be able to help where help was needed” (Heb 2:17-18 – The Message). There are times when the only thing a man can do is “stand in his pain” at the foot of the cross. It is a great help to know that Jesus is suffering with you.