What do Jesus’ last words mean for us? What do they mean for your marriage?
“It is finished!” These are the last words Jesus spoke before committing his spirit into the Father’s hands.
Mathew’s Gospel tells us that immediately the veil of the temple, the veil that separated God from his people, was split open, torn in two from top to bottom.
As I thought about the Easter story this year, the significance of the immediate juxtaposition of these two events struck me.
What Was Finished?
What was Jesus referring to when he cried out, “It is finished?”
There is an overwhelmingly amazing list of what Jesus accomplished on our behalf through his death and resurrection. The immediate rending of the veil tells me that foremost on God’s heart was making a way for us to come to him, freely, boldly, naked, and unashamed.
As I studied Jesus’ last words, I discovered a fascinating homonym in the Hebrew of the text. The word for “finished” (Kalah) sounds just like the word for “bride” (Kallah). It’s almost as if Jesus is saying with his dying breath, “There is now nothing that can block the intimacy between us, my bride. You and I are one. I’ve taken care of every hindrance.”
Earning Intimacy with God
Despite Jesus’ assurances to the contrary, we often feel the need to earn our way into God’s presence. The veil is torn, that pathway is open, the invitation into intimacy is loud and clear, yet we hesitate. We haven’t behaved well enough. We haven’t followed all the rules. We haven’t read our Bible or had long enough quiet times or whatever other criteria we use to disqualify ourselves.
But none of that matters.
Walking in intimacy with God is ours by right because Jesus died to make it so. It’s not only our right, but it’s God’s deepest desire and longing. Consider the lengths Jesus went to in order to have us as his bride.
Earning Intimacy in Marriage
In marriage, we often make our spouse earn intimacy with us. We watch and wait for our spouse to meet our needs before we open ourselves up and invite them in.
For example, a wife might withhold sex until her husband meets her emotional needs or does enough around the house to help out. What she fails to realize is that by opening herself up sexually to her husband, she’s actually more likely to have her emotional needs met or the get that extra help she needs.
In the same way, a husband might shut down emotionally when he is feeling sexually neglected or when he feels disrespected. He is missing the truth that by opening up to his wife emotionally, he makes it much easier for her to be open to sex and makes it more likely that she will act respectfully toward him.
“It is finished” speaks to the permanency of the intimacy Jesus bought for us. Just as we strive to live in the reality of that permanency, so too should we strive to make intimacy in marriage a fixed and permanent state.
There are no guarantees, of course. People, including your spouse, have free will. Yet, Jesus laid down his life before ever know whether we would respond to his invitation to intimacy with himself. Are we willing to make the first move, to openly give ourselves over to our spouse without knowing how they will respond?
Intimacy is Yours
This Easter I want to remember that the new covenant Jesus bought for us is a direct parallel to the covenant I have with my wife. Intimacy is ours. Period.
To love her as Jesus loves me is to let there be no hindrance to the intimacy we share. I am to offer my whole self to her, emotionally, spiritually, sexually and in every other way, without hesitation or reservation, without making her earn it.
I am wholly hers. She is wholly mine. That’s how we are to live.
Think about the things you allow to become a barrier to intimacy with your spouse. How might you lower or eliminate them so you can belong fully to him or her?