March 14, 2018
Last Words: It Is Finished
John 19:17-30 is the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. John records Jesus’s final words as, “It is finished.” The greek word used here is tetelestai, which means “paid in full, finished, or completed.” What Jesus meant when he said, “It is finished,” is that he has completed the task that God gave him to do. There are four realities that have come into being because Jesus has finished the work he was given.
First, Jesus has completed the mission for which he was sent. In Matthew 20:28, he told his disciples, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” In his death, Jesus paid the penalty of sin for all of humanity, offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Many tried to derail his mission – Satan, Judas, even Peter – but all failed.
Second, the penalty for my sin has been taken care of. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Both the penalty and power of sin have been taken care of by Jesus.
Third, nothing and no one else has to die. Romans 6:10 says, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” There is no longer a need for any other sacrifice for sin because Jesus is the pure, spotless Lamb of God. No animal needs to be sacrificed to atone for sins, and no human needs to spend eternity in hell – eternal death – because Jesus has finished his work.
Fourth, the wall separating man from God has been torn down. When Jesus died, the Gospel writers tell us that the curtain inside the temple, which separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple, tore right down the middle. Jesus has opened the way to God for everyone.