When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:30 NIV
I believe that we all have heard, and perhaps have used the phrase, “It is finished.” We may have started a rather large project, and after weeks of hard work, we could say, “It is finished.” Or perhaps we were energetic enough to build our own house. Months of planning and hard work went into this project. Then, after perhaps six months we finally do the final clean-up, and with an occupancy permit in our hand we can proudly say, “It is finished.” Or perhaps we as a church body took on the task of building a new facility with volunteer help. This project took many, many hours of planning and hard work, but then came that special day where everything was cleaned up and we were able to secure an occupancy permit, and as a church body we were able to dedicate that building to the glory of God. O, what joy and excitement were evidenced that day, when that building was dedicated for generations to come! Yet how faint are these examples, when compared to the event that our text is speaking about.
That day, when Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” the greatest event ever known to man had taken place. Never in the history of humankind did something of equal significance take place. Never would anything that great take place in the future. Jesus had just finished the mission he had set out to complete. I would like to draw our attention to three things that were finished that day.
The time of suffering for our Lord and Savior was finished!
With that statement, His earthly pilgrimage as we know it was finished. Certainly, He would still be seen here and there for 40 days after His resurrection, but in a different sense. He wasn’t really seeking out the lost anymore but was busy comforting, strengthening, and equipping the saints for the task that lay before them.
He would no longer have to endure the pain of being flogged, having the crown of thorns pressed on His head. He would not have to carry that heavy cross again, or die on it as a criminal. He would not have to feel the pain of those nails being thrust through His hands and feet. His physical suffering was finished.
His emotional pain had come to an end as well. Consider the emotional pain He had to endure. The pain of rejection went all the way back to His birth. No room for the King of kings! He had seventy disciples leave Him at one time. Then, just before His apprehension, when He needed the twelve most, the Bible says they all forsook Him. And then, hanging on the cross in tremendous pain, His scoffers call out, “If He is the Son of God, let Him down from the cross and we will believe.” They would no longer mock Him. This emotional pain was finished.
His spiritual pain had now come to an end. Going to the cross, He carried your sins and mine. The sun refused to shine, and He noticed that the Father had turned His face from Him and He cried out; “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” He felt the weight of our sins as He died on the cross. But now He knew it was finished.
There on the cross the plan of salvation was finished!
He knew that the prophesies regarding the salvation of all humankind were fulfilled. The oldest prophesy of the Bible was fulfilled. God had promised Adam and Eve a Savior who would crush the head of the serpent. This promise was now fulfilled. That promise had remained alive through 4000 years. Isaiah writes of this event as though he was a live witness. See Isaiah 53:3-7. The words regarding His coming to earth, His life and death were now fulfilled.
There on the cross the Old Testament sacrificial system had come to an end. See Hebrews 10:11–18. The Old Testament system was flawed. It could not set free from sin. The high priest had to enter the holy of holies to first sacrifice for his sins again and again. Jesus brought one sacrifice, once for all humankind, so that all who believe in Him should not be lost but have everlasting life. For that reason He said; “If the Son make you free, you are free indeed.”
There these promises – prophesies – were fulfilled, finished. He carried our sins. It is finished. It has been completed. We can now be free from all bondage. The prophet says He also carried our sicknesses, our pain, our suffering and infirmities. Jesus purchased a full, complete, and eternal salvation. It is finished.
There on the cross Jesus finished the battle with Satan.
He was victorious over Satan and sin (Colossians 2:13 – 15). Between us and Satan stands that old rugged cross. Jesus said, “Now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). Beloved, Satan’s power has been broken. We are dealing with a defeated enemy because Jesus was victorious. He could truly say; “I have overcome the world.”
Satan must now let the captives go free. See Isaiah 61:1. We were captives and could not free ourselves, but He broke those chains and we can be free. Those who had no hope – no reason for living – now have hope in a victorious Savior. Even Barabbas was able to physically go free because Jesus took his place. Since that day, millions have been able to be spiritually free because Jesus brought us the victory.
He was victorious over death. There on the cross He could say “it is finished” because He knew that the Father would raise Him on the third day. See Matthew 12:40 and John 2:19. On that third day that rock was rolled away without the help of man and Jesus arose victoriously, never to die again. He is alive and well. He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. He now controls all things with His mighty Word because He was victorious.
There on the cross, some 2000 years ago, He was able to say “It is finished.”
He was victorious, and with Him we can now be victorious as well. See 1 John 5:4.
Let us ever be grateful for the greatest victory ever recorded in history.
H. Elke, Kelowna (CA)