It is finished.


Easter Message from our Moderator, Rev Ian C Hutton

A Finished Work

John 19:28-30

There have been may times in my life where I have felt like I would never finish my work. Farm work or school work any sort of work often seemed like a mountainous wave in front of me. All I could do was to keep trying – keep plugging away at it – keep pushing on. But it never seemed to end – always something to do.

How is it then that Jesus can say – It is finished! What did he mean? Has he just given up? Is he seeing death as some sort of relief? NONE of those answers is correct. As we come to another Good Friday what we need to do is think about what Jesus meant when he said on the cross: “It is finished”.

1. Knowing v28

The first thing we notice is that Jesus said these words – “knowingly” V28. The significance that Jesus knew all that had happened and would happen is a challenging thought. It means that Jesus knew all that was written about Him is now fulfilled and completed. He knew he would go to the cross – He knew he would be lied about – misrepresented and killed. It means that he knew he was about to die. Yet he allows it all to take place. This was the end of His life humanly speaking

I wonder how much that added to His agony. How would you and I withstand knowing what was going to happen to us. Knowing that something horrible was to happen even though we didn’t deserve it. Yet what Jesus is saying here is that He knows the whole purpose of His life and death it finds its fulfillment here at the cross.

Someone has said: “Others may unconsciously play their part in God’s divine plan but not Jesus”.

Meaning that the bible is full of how God uses others – including His enemies to bring about His purposes. Even though they were oblivious to the fact – yet used by God. Nebuchadnezzar was a man under God’s purpose but didn’t know it. Yet Jesus knew His purpose. He knew what His Father’s purpose was. He knew how much it would cost. He knew it would be excruciatingly painful for Him. He knew He has borne the sins of the world. He knew He would bear the judgement of God. He knew all these things – and said it was all done – it is finished.

2. Scripture Fulfilled

Secondly Jesus work is finished because He has fulfilled everything that the bible said about him. V28. Earlier verses (v24) speak of a verse from Ps 22: They divided his garments….

But at nearly every corner in the scriptures there is a reference to or allusion to an OT text. All combine to prove one thing: That the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross was a thing foreseen and predetermined by God. It was always in the divine counsel of God – down to the minutest detail. It was proclaimed by the prophets of old because that is the word God gave them. For they proclaimed God’s word.

In this instance in response to “I thirst” and the reference to sour wine or vinegar is probably a reference to  Psalm 22:15  where it says …” and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death”

Or more closely Ps 69:21

ESV Psalm 69:21 They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

It is written as a Psalm of David but also a prophetic word of the sufferings of Jesus. The sense of great David’s greater Son.

It is telling that the Lord Jesus word suffer agonising thirst in order that for His people He might be the everlasting fountain of living water.

So many parts of scripture directly pointing us to Jesus. And now it is finished because they have all been fulfilled. That in itself tells us something about the bible – it is God’s accurate, truthful, reliable Word to us. It is truth from beginning to end. It is God’s word of life to us. We see it again here as the final words of Jesus at the cross again fulfils scripture. It is finished He said.

3. It Is Finished v30

Thirdly we come to Jesus’ words themselves: “It is finished”. The word finished here means completed or fulfilled or brought to its conclusion. It is in the perfect tense which has the meaning of what’s happening now is a fulfillment of all that has lead up to it. Jesus death was not just the fading out of a light. Indeed the very opposite is true – it is as though it was the culmination of a life’s work. His death on the cross has a sense of purpose and fulfillment about it

When we look at the cross with eyes that are not so wise we think of cruelty, death, hopelessness – a terrible end to a fairy tale. But when Jesus cries out He is really saying IT is accomplished !!!!!!

He has procured salvation for all who believe. He has established a new relationship with God for all who come in His name. He has paid the price for sin. He has secured the forgiveness of sin. He has broken down the sin-barrier between God and man. He has opened the way to come into God’s presence.

You see that is why the cross is so important. It is a great concern when people only focus on the resurrection at Easter. When at Easter time they run straight to the resurrection. Who think the resurrection is the main message of Easter. For it is at the cross – not at the resurrection – that Jesus cries “It is finished” – It is accomplished.

The cross enforces 3 truths – about ourselves – about God our Father and about Jesus

i) Ourselves –

The gravity of sin is revealed at the cross. What was it that sent Jesus to that horrible place of curse death known as the cross? It wasn’t Judas’ betrayal, it wasn’t Pilates cowardly act, it wasn’t the corruption and envy of the scribes and pharisees

BUT it was your sinfulness and mine – l can do it my way attitude – I can do life with out God. Your sin and my sin bears God’s condemnation – Jesus took that condemnation upon Himself – He substituted Himself and took our place.

As John Stott says: “It is impossible for us to face Christ’s cross with integrity and not feel ashamed of ourselves.” If there is no way by which the righteous God could deal with our sin other than bearing it Himself in Christ – it must be serious indeed.

We must understand the seriousness of our sin.

ii) God’s love is therefore wonderful beyond comprehension. We should be left to what our sins deserve –

we should be abandoned to our own fate – but God came after us in Christ. He pursued us even to the desperate pain of the cross where he bore our sin, guilt, judgement and death. He did it for you.

            It takes a hard stony heart to reject such love. In fact it is more than love it is grace at this point – it is love shown toward the undeserving.

iii) Jesus has paid the price

Willingly Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit Himself – no one took it from Him – He has purchased freedom from the penalty of sin with His own blood. So there is nothing for us to pay – nothing for us to contribute. That in itself is often the hardest thing for humans to accept because we are so hardwired for autonomy.

So the only thing to do in response to such grace is to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross, confess that it is our sin that put Jesus there, and thank Him for dying in our place.

The benefits are immense –  because through Him we gain life and freedom and a new status before God.

That is why Jesus cried: It is finished! It is accomplished! Salvation is won!

Sin is paid for! At the cross – when Jesus died.

Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash