Taken from the book “Finisher” by Chris Estrada
The Original Finisher
I played a lot of basketball growing up, I’ve got a great love for the game! (Yes it is my expert opinion that Michael Jordan is the best. Ever!) I remember our practices in high school were no joke. We had two hour practices and spent 1 hour running plays within our formation and the other doing nothing but running drills. It was brutal. We had people from the football team, track team, even from our cross-country team try out and quit within the week because of the amount of running we did. We did lines, down and backs, 9 seconds, bear crawls – I was convinced these we’re demonically inspired ideas to get us game ready. Then there was always that one kid who never made it across the line in time, which earned our coach’s response, “You didn’t make it, do it again!”
I remember we had gone long and hard that day, and of course the same guy doesn’t make it back in time (Needless to say, he wasn’t our favorite teammate). Coach shouted his usual, “You didn’t make it, do it again!” I paced back forth on the baseline agitated while giving my coach the dirtiest look. We locked eyes and he responded, “You got a problem Estrada?” I quickly shriveled back, “ Nah. No problem coach. Ready to go sir!”
After we all made it across the line in time, coach would call us over, and without fail, at the end of every practice he would say, “You want to know why I make you run so long and hard? Why I train & condition you this why?” I genuinely wanted a response, because some practices felt like attempted murder! He answered, “Because I want you to finish the game exactly how you started the game!”
God never wants you start strong and finish weak, he wants you to finish each assignment the same way you started it – full of faith, joy, and devotion. I don’t know anyone who carried a bigger reason to finish strong than Jesus did.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, or everyone sinned… For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one Man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousnessbrings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:12, 15-19 (NLT)
The mission was clear, clean up the mess created in the garden and recover what was lost – the opportunity to have intimate relationship with His creation. It would cost everything, but the reward would be even greater. It would take 30 years of hidden & obscure preparation and only 3 years of public work. Maintaining a holy awareness to complete every prophetic word spoken about him. There was no room for error or passiveness. The Book of Romans says his one act brought humanity into right relationship with God the Father. His one act triggered a chain reaction that is still transforming lives today. I believe God has entrusted you with the same opportunity and your one act of obedience what just be felt in your lifetime, but will be remembered through your life lines. Jesus knew he only had time for thorough follow through. His intensity to finish strong is heard in statements like:
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
You have to wonder, did Jesus ever feel like quitting? Did he ever feel so conflicted about his purpose? Was he ever perplexed to a point of settling and consider using, “short cuts” to completing God’s will? There have been some who have said this happened in the garden as He is praying with His disciples, just before he is arrested.
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
Luke 22:41-44 (NLT)
As sweat turned to blood and the full weight of man’s sin starting to press on him, he began to sense undeserved sorrow fill his soul, ultimately making him feel like he was dying (Matt 26:38). A condition known as Hematidrosis, when someone encounters an extreme level of stress, their sweat will turn red from blood mixing with it, while at the same time experiencing the feeling of death.
Jesus’s request to have this cup pass has been misinterpreted by many. Earlier that night, Jesus had just participated in the Passover meal of the Jewish people (Luke 22:15-16). A meal they would eat to remember how God delivered them out of Egypt. During the celebration, Jesus lifts his cup twice (Luke 22:17,20), traditionally during the Passover there are four cup lifted to drink from. The next time Jesus references a cup, the third time, is in what we just read in Luke 22. The third cup is known as the cup of redemption. Jesus makes his request for this significant cup to pass because he realizes this cup wasn’t full yet. Jesus is not asking, “May I quit now?” He is not asking for a pass on Golgotha, to find some way around the cross, to escape the plan of God. No way! This is the hero of the world. Such suggestions are non-sense. He was praying this cup of suffering would pass because he knew he wasn’t suppose to die in a garden, but on a cross. The problem started in a garden, but it would be finished on a cross. Jesus hadn’t been betrayed, bruised, beaten, mocked, found guilty when innocent, pierced, & crucified yet. This wasn’t a plastic cup from Wal-Mart, this was the cup of redemption! The strategy for complete redemption would have been incomplete if he would have died in the garden of Gethsemane. Dying then would have resulted in a failed mission because it was only half of the assignment.
Jesus lived with such a divine focus. Only going half way was never an option for him. This is not Jesus’ attempt to show us how to finish even though we might be weak He was showing us how to counter the thought of quitting and the feelings of passiveness with intense obedience to finish strong. Jesus was always aware of what needed to be done to break the chains of sin & death off of humanity, just like we’re aware of what it will take to live out the dreams inside of your heart.
Friend, your destiny will never go on sale! You’ll never find it on clearance, marked down, and there will never be a lay-a-way plan. The price will always be the price. Driven by an unstoppable love and an unwavering joy, Jesus saw his assignment through to the end. We are called to live in the same manner as him. I say, “Rise! I call the spirit of a finisher to the surface, for strength to push pass the comfort of excuses, and for super-natural determination to live like Jesus did and to finish your days as he did. You. Will. Finish!”
Buy this book and other resources by Chris Estrada by visiting: www.chrisestrada.tv