When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. – John 19:30
Coming to this passage, I have two questions. The first one is WHAT is finished? I think I have a pretty good idea what the answer is, and I think you do, too. The worst ordeal, that of bearing in the place of His people the Wrath of God against sin is complete. Make no mistake, there is a God and there is Wrath. But for the children of God, Jesus stood in their place and bore the eternal, burning, wrath of Holy God against sinful creatures.
He did not call on 12 legions of angels to deliver Him from the agony of this hour. He has allowed Himself to be dragged away to be crucified. He had earlier reminded Pilate that He, Jesus, was in control of these events. And he rebuked his own disciples for trying to prevent the crucifixion.
And so we should consider that the words ‘It is finished’ imply that a PLAN was in place and has indeed been completed. IT. IS. FINISHED.
We misunderstand if we think that the crucifixion and the redemption of sinners was a fortuitous circumstance that we stumble into. No, Dottie Rambo was spot on when she wrote:
“Behold the Lamb, behold the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.”
She knew her Bible. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, tells us our Father has chosen to redeem His children in Christ before the foundation of the world. Peter, in Acts 2, called it, “the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”. Salvation did not come about in just one, short, holy week. It has been in the works forever. It is finished.
Yes, God has a plan. And He has many plans. Our God who would power a billion suns or more, and redeem billions of sons and daughters on a small planet, is the kind of God who starts a work in you and Who will complete it. And though you haven’t seen its end, I can tell you, It Is Finished and has been forever. And this should give you hope.
The second question I have is, Why did He say it? That is, WHY do these words come from Christ’s thirsty mouth so that they then would be recorded for all time? Of all the phrases in all the world, Why is this one of the seven that would be remembered in Good Friday services like this one by Christians everywhere?
First I presume that not a single word is out of place in Scripture. Every word is in the book on purpose. Not one sentence, not one paragraph, is extraneous, extra, or something we can take or leave. He wants us to have them all. He wants us to SEE them all. And He wants us to see, “It is finished.”
And I think the ‘why’ is simply that there is nothing more to be done regarding the salvation of men and women. If the WHAT of the first question is Jesus has completed His work, the WHY of the second question is that you and I cannot improve upon it.
I think He tells us “It is finished” so that men and women, who from time immemorial have tried to appease the gods with most anything a human body can be made to do, will, once and for all, stop trying to finish what He Himself finished, and simply trust God that He finished it.
There is a popular definition of insanity that says ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Well, what then shall we say about trying to finish a thing that is already finished? Believer, Jesus invites you to come to Him and rest and I’ll tell you why.
It is finished.