March 28, 2021

“It Is Finished”

Passage: John 19:30

Many years ago a Christian farmer was deeply concerned over an unsaved carpenter.  The farmer wanted to explain to him how the finished work of Christ was sufficient for his salvation and his blessed eternity in God's heavenly realms.  But the carpenter persisted in the belief that he must do something himself. One day the farmer asked the carpenter to make a gate for him, and when the gate was ready he carried it away to his wagon.  He arranged with the carpenter to come the next morning and see the gate as it was installed in his property fence.  At the appointed hour the carpenter arrived and was surprised to find the farmer standing at the gate with pieces of rotten wood, a hammer and nails.  "What are you going to do?" he asked.  "I am going to add a few pieces of rotten wood to the gate you made", was the response.  "But that's ridiculous”, replied the carpenter, "how can you ruin my perfect work?  That will insult me."  The farmer took no notice , but nailed a few pieces of the rotten pieces to the gate.  "Look what you have done!" cried the carpenter. "You have ruined my work!" "Yes", said the farmer, "and that's exactly what you are trying to do to the finished work of Christ by your own miserable add-ons to it!"  You know my friends, in the lives of many people who call themselves Christians there are additions to the cross of Jesus.  Some say, “Yes, it's true that Jesus died for us, but you have to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit to find true salvation.”  Others say, “It's the cross of Jesus, but the gift of prophecy is conditional if you want to have full assurance that you are right with God.”  My friends, the truth that I proclaim to you in the name of Jesus Christ is that the cross was sufficient and complete.  There was nothing more to be added to Jesus' suffering and death.  Those three words, “It is finished” come from one Greek word “tetelestai.”  It's a word that was used by various people in everyday life in those days.  A servant used it when reporting to his or her master – “I have completed the work assigned to me.”  In John 17: 4 Jesus made a reference of how He completed the task of the Father like a servant complete the task of the one who sent him – “I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave me to do.”  And then at Golgotha Jesus affirmed what He prayed in His High Priest prayer – “It is finished.” 

From the sixth word from the cross, we first consider The Atonement for Sin.  As we hear the words – “It is finished”, we are reminded of the most important mission ever, our Lord perfected.  What He finished, was to deal with the curse of sin for eternity – the disqualification that was written against each name from Adam to the last person whose breath will leave him at the Second coming of Christ.  There is something so significant we read in Hebrews 9: 15, “For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”  We find the word “ransom”  in this verse.  God had to give a ransom for our sins – without the ransom eternal condemnation would have been the only alternative.  That ransom was in His only begotten Son, because no other ransom could qualify to get us right with God again.  Let's affirm this reality for ourselves in the words of Revelation 5: 4&5, “I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”  There are so many who say, “That doesn't apply to me.  I don't need to be saved – saved from what?”  But then in God's time the emptiness in every human heart and soul will bring that urge to cry out, “Jesus, save me!”  And even the hardest heart can be brought to the point to be cleansed in the blood of Jesus.  Saul who persecuted Christ and His followers was transformed.  And he received a new name – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the grace of God.  Just think of it – a man who had been as far as one can be from Jesus, was transformed.  And because of that many convinced themselves, “If Jesus could do that for Paul, He can do it for me.”  One of them was Alice Cooper.  His identity was to mock Jesus through his music.  Until the day Jesus visited him like He visited Paul on the road to Damascus.  And now Alice Cooper tells people wherever he goes, “Jesus saved me.”

In the sixth word we identify The Conclusion Of Jesus' Sufferings.
Jesus referred to Himself on many occasions as The Man of Sorrows...a title that He chose for Himself knowing that there was suffering ahead that was going to be unbearable.  You only have to read through the Gospels to learn how the awful cross was ever before Him.  At the wedding-feast in Cana of Galilee, where everything was about celebration and merriment, He made the reference to "His hour" that hasn't yet come.  When He spoke to Nicodemus, the Saviour referred to the lifting up of the Son of Man on the cross.  When Mrs. Zebedee requested that her sons, James and John one receive a place at Jesus' right and the other at His left, in His kingdom, He replied, “Can you drink the cup I'm going to drink?”

When Peter confessed that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God, He turned to His disciples and began to tell them "that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”  Matthew 16: 21.  When Moses and Elijah stood with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration it was to speak about His departure which He was to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.  Let's ask the question – “What must it be like to know for years that you will be executed in the most brutal way?  Something that you are reminded of on a daily basis.”  No person wants to live with such a dark cloud over his head.  But you know, that was the life of Jesus.  When He laid in the manger of Bethlehem the shadow of the cross was already falling over it.  And then came the closing hours – His betrayal by Judas, His arrest, His denial by Peter, the crooked trial He received, if it could be called a trial.  There was His humiliation before Pilate, His flogging and His own people who shouted, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”  And then the anguish and injustice of Golgotha followed.  He was forsaken by His Father, there were insults made against Him and then His brutal death.  Yes, everything in His suffering was fulfilled in Isaiah's prophesy in chapter 53: 8, “By oppression and judgment He was taken away.  Yet who of His generation protested?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was punished.”  But after six hours on the cross The Man of Sorrows uttered the words, “It is finished.”  And with that the pain, the shame that came on Him, the humiliation and weight of the world's sins on Him came to an end when He gave up His Spirit.  The wrath and punishment of the Father ceased.  His obedience to death – even death on a cross was fulfilled.  Can we put ourselves in the shoes of those who loved Jesus when it finally was over?  But you know, we shouldn't even try to respond to the sixth word – “It is finished.”  All we can do is to lift our hearts up to Jesus and thank Him for His passion and profound love.  We thank Him that He continued to the point to cry out –
“It is finished.”

Amen.