It is Finished
Bible Reading: John 19
John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
“It is finished!” Through the annals of history, have three more precious words ever been uttered? A man’s dying words are said to have a powerful import. Have there ever been more significant “dying words?” In three words Jesus founded a message of hope, in the forgiveness of sins, which has resounded through the centuries.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote concerning this matter: “The Son of God has been made man. He had lived a life of perfect virtue and total self-denial. He has been all that lifelong despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His enemies have been legion; His friends have been few, and those few faithless. He is at last arrested while in the act of prayer; He is arraigned before both the spiritual and temporal courts. He is robed in mockery, and then unrobed in shame. He is set upon His throne in scorn, and then tied to the pillar in cruelty. He is declared innocent, and yet He is delivered up by the judge who ought to have preserved Him from His persecutors. He is dragged through the streets of Jerusalem which had killed the prophets and would now crimson itself with the blood of the prophets’ Master. He is brought to the cross; He is nailed fast to the cruel wood. The sun burns Him. His cruel wounds increase the fever. God forsakes Him. ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ contains the concentrated anguish of the world. While He hangs there in mortal conflict with sin and Satan, His heart is broken, His limbs are dislocated. Heaven fails Him, for the sun is veiled in darkness. Earth forsake Him, for “his disciples forsook Him and fled.” He looks everywhere, and there is none to help; He casts His eye around, and there is no man that can share His toil. He treads the winepress alone; and of the people there is none with Him. On, on, He goes, steadily determined to drink the last dreg of the cup which must not pass from Him if His Father’s will be done. At last He cries— “It is finished,” and He gives up the ghost. Hear it, Christians, hear this shout of triumph as it rings today with all the freshness and force which it had centuries ago! Hear it from the Sacred Word, and from the Savior’s lips, and may the Spirit of God open your ears that you may hear as the learned and understand what you hear!” (Charles Spurgeon, “Christ’s Words from the Cross”).
What did Jesus mean by what He said? What was “finished?” The Old Testament includes many types, promises, and prophecies which looked forward to Christ’s arrival, His ministry and His death for our sins. He finished that prophetic work (Luke 24:44). The Old Testament sacrifices anticipated the more perfect “once for all” sacrifice of Christ on the cross (Hebrews 10:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18). He made that better sacrifice. In His death He finished the great work He was given to do by the Father (John 17:4). He had come to do war with the devil, at the cross He triumphed (Hebrews 2:14).
According to Matthew’s gospel upon His saying, “It is finished,” “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). God dramatically demonstrated the practical benefit derived from that which Christ spoke of. The curtain of the temple was symbolic of the restricted access to God, but “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18;Cf. Hebrews 10:19-22). Jesus finished His work so sin-rebels could be transformed into glad-hearted worshippers. An enduring message of hope is bound up in these three precious words! It is finished!
Lord Jesus, how we thank You for Your finished work on Calvary! Though my sins had left a crimson stain, You washed me white as snow. Though my burden was as a mountain of guilt, You worked to cancel out the debt I owed. Your triumph has worked to set me free so that I might know You and love You and worship You. May I be ever mindful that I’ve been set free to serve You, because You paid it all!
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.