Thanks overlapping remind us that Jesus' last words, "It is finished," welcome us to a community of belonging.

Feeling isolated in a connected world? Jesus’ last words, “It is finished,” offer hope! We can live in a community and connect with others.

Are you sure it is finished? Are We All Stuck on an Island?

Imagine a world where every day is a battle for survival. You trust no one, everything is scarce, and violence is a constant threat. This wasn’t a scene from a dystopian novel; it was the reality for Hiroo Onoda.

In 1974, he was a young Japanese officer stationed with his men on Lubang Island in the Philippines and they were still fighting a battle started in World War 2. In 1945 they received the order, “Defend the island and never surrender.” If only someone would have told them, “It is finished,” the war is over.

Hiroo Onoda was stationed on this island in the Philippines. Without hearing Jesus' last words, "It is finished," life can often feel we are isolated and alone.

Onoda and his men continued their guerilla warfare for three decades. They dismissed leaflets dropped by airplanes as Allied propaganda. They dismissed news from Filipino locals as well. Onoda continued fighting and killed or injured hundreds of locals after the war was over. 

He and his soldiers were unpersuadable. Authorities knew the soldiers would not quit unless a commanding officer relieved them of duty. In 1974 his former commanding officer traveled to the remote island to find him. The commanding officer dressed in civilian clothes, found Onoda and convinced him to lay down his arms 29 years after the war had ended. Their story is a stark reminder of how isolated we can feel, even when surrounded by people. We need community.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like we’re on our own islands. Social media can create a curated reality, hiding the struggles of others and fostering feelings of inadequacy. We scroll through endless feeds, yearning for connection while feeling increasingly alone.

But there’s good news. The message of Jesus offers a lifeline in this sea of isolation. His final words on the cross, “It is finished,” can be interpreted as a declaration that the cycle of separation is broken. We are no longer condemned to lives of loneliness and suspicion.

Finding Connection in a Disconnected World

Jesus stands within a tradition that teaches us the way to connection and community.

  • Shared Humanity: Genesis 1:27 reminds us that we are all created in the image of God. Regardless of background or belief, we share a common bond. Recognizing this shared humanity can foster empathy and understanding and prevent us from making enemies of others.
  • Love Over Domination: The world often operates on a “dog-eat-dog” mentality. Jesus, however, preached love and service. By putting the needs of others before our own, we can build bridges of compassion and connection. Jesus said, “No greater love has anyone than this that they would lay down their life for others.” (John 15:13). In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, a sign of service, and commanded that they also take up the standards of service over self.
  • Community, Not Isolation: Jesus surrounded himself with a diverse group of disciples. He valued community and encouraged his followers to do the same. Finding a community of faith or like-minded individuals can combat isolation and provide a sense of belonging. Finding a community that will allow a diversity of beliefs is also a gift as you are allowed to be yourself as you process your faith.

The world may feel like a collection of isolated islands, but Jesus’ message offers a path to connection. By recognizing our shared humanity, practicing love, and embracing community, we can break free from our isolation and build a more connected world.

What are your thoughts? How do you combat feelings of isolation? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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