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May 2, 2019, 8:49 PM

It Is Finished.

        Luke gives a comprehensive and vivid portrayal of the story of the crucifixion. But we have to remember, what he wrote was a compilation from several sources. John was the lone disciple present at the foot of the Cross that day on Golgotha. He gives us a level of detail of those final moments that none of the others were there to witness. And he gives us Jesus’s final words in his Gospel 19:28-30, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to His mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished.” And He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.”


          What did He mean when He said, “It is finished.”  We have the luxury of hindsight and the ability to understand Truth from the distance of time and revelation, but with those final words and Jesus’s handing over of his mother Mary to the care of John, to them at that moment in time His life had ended. It was over. All He had taught; all they had worked for; the time; the sacrifice; the commitment; everything was gone; dead on the Cross in that moment that Jesus breathed His last breath.


          The pain. The loss. The disappointment. Mary watched as her son died a brutal death. The disciples were left without a leader; without their teacher, their rabbi, their mentor. The man the disciples had walked with for three years hung dead; lifeless on that Cross. Left empty, lost and without hope. Then a spear thrust into his side just to prove what those present already knew; that their Messiah was dead. He was taken down and placed in a tomb purchased by Joseph of Arimathea and the stone rolled into place . Darkness. The end. For all intents and purposes in their minds it was over; just as he’d said, it is finished.

          But what did Jesus really mean? The word in this verse, “finished,” is actually from the Greek word, “tetelestai,” which also means “paid in full.” But the unique way it was written is that the tense of the word indicates both a point in time it was complete – that day on the Cross - and that it would also CONTINUE to be complete or finished.


            Up until the time of Christ’s death, there was a system in place where sacrifices had to be offered for sin. It was complicated and difficult and too often it was just an action to get by, not one of real repentance. The blood of animals was required as a sacrifice for all types of sinful behavior. It was the only way people could be made right with God; forgiven. But Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of all mankind. He was the sacrificial Lamb of God. His blood on the Cross was the absolute and final atonement for our sins.


            "It is finished proclaims that all the work the Father had sent him to accomplish was now completed, particularly His work of bearing the penalty for sins. This means there was no more penalty left to be paid for sins, for all Jesus's suffering was 'finished.' (John 19:30, ESV Study Bible)


            People sin every day. They did, then and we do, now. And that sin costs us dearly. It separates us from God, it sets up a barrier, it leads to further drifting away from what we know to be right, and ultimately leads to spiritual death and despair. But the hope that we have because of Christ’s death on the Cross and His great sacrifice on our behalf is this: He completed the work for us. He paid the sacrifice in full on our behalf. No other payment is needed. All we have to do is accept His great sacrifice and recognize Him as Lord of our life.

          And this is the essence of what Christ came to do. He came to “finish” God’s work of salvation in us. He came to “pay our debt in full,” the entire penalty for our sins. Jesus came to save. He came to rescue us, a people without true hope, to give us everlasting life and freedom from sin that we can only find through Him.



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