I paid a visit to the Riverside sector of the London church on Sunday. I had been invited to preach on the topic, “The Prayer God Always Answers”. I was delighted to see old friends like Dayo, Adrian & Maureen, and the Cheng clan – Will, Lorna, Steve & Candace. The food after the service was just what a hungry preacher needed too!
A bonus encouragement for me was Paul Bateman’s communion talk. He used the passage in John 19:16-30, focussing on the section,
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 NIV)
Paul talked about our total national debt. A difficult number to take in. Something like a trillion pounds. What does that look like? If the hall was filled with a million piles of a million pounds, that would cover it all. What if we were asked to pay it back personally? We all laughed at the absurdity of the thought. But isn’t our debt to God bigger? Not only bigger, but worse in so many ways because it is the debt of sin against a holy God. Not only a debt. A debt-crime.
The passage above says that on the cross Jesus came to the point where his earthly work was ‘finished’. The Greek word (tetelestai) carries with it the idea of paying a debt off in full. The cross finishes paying off our debt to God – a debt we could not pay. That is the reason we take bread and wine to remind us of this fact, and refresh our gratitude for God’s grace.