“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
I spent the better part of today trying to come up with my own interpretation of what our friend Yeshua bar Maryam was really saying in those final words. I resisted the urge to research what others thought and self-reflected for a while. I came up with nothing interesting to say about the words themselves, as far as I could tell they mean exactly what you would think they mean. But the implied tone of his statement is something that piqued my curiosity. I realize that although Jesus’ ministry lasted for three years, it took three decades for him to Become capable of preaching gospel. Thirty years of preparing, studying, toiling…living. No one really knows exactly the kind of life he led during those years, but if the Path is the Path for everyone then I imagine he had his share of ups and downs. He had his own Process to master.
And so he did.
He accomplished the primary task of knowing Self as God and God as All — but showed true compassion by delaying complete enlightenment so that he could reach out and show others the way.
This idea became clearer to me when I thought about his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He speaks as if he is separate from God, although completely surrendered: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” I humbly believe that had he allowed himself to continue on in human consciousness instead of completely submerging with All Pervading Consciousness, allowing him to be accessible to the people who needed to hear his message of love, forgiveness, and seeking God for themselves.
So, as he’s nailed to the cross, he completes his human duties of making sure his mother will be seen after and of identifying with and forgiving his persecutors — he takes a drink, says “It is finished,” and finally enters into his hard earned state of Enlightenment. Now, my theories and thoughts on this subject only get crazier from this point on so I won’t trouble you with them today; right now I just want to think about how cool of an exit that is.
I can only hope that when my time comes I’ve done the work (three more decades required…minimum…if I’m lucky and try really hard) to be able to be in that moment with a sense of completion…like the way you feel after a long and tedious project is finally over…”it is finished.”
This got me to thinking about what were the final words of other Masters who once made the realm of man their home:
One Zen master was given cake as a final gift before he passed. He slowly ate it while his disciples looked on. They asked if he had any final words, to which he said “Yes,” they leaned in close to get that last piece of wisdom, and he said, “But this cake is so delicious.” And was gone.
“Empty handed I entered the world. Barefoot I leave it. My coming, My going – Two simple happenings that got entangled.” –Kazan Ichigyo 14th century Zen Monk
“Everything that exists is bound to perish. Therefore be mindful of your salvation.” — Buddha
“Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don’t forget to pay the debt” — Socrates (not as straightforward as you would think, but exactly as mind-boggling as you would think coming from Socrates)