It Is Finished
Topic: Biblical Verse: John 19:30
Good Friday Meditation
April 19, 2019
“It is Finished”
“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
We gather in the sacred awe and hush of this Good Friday to contemplate the great mystery of all mysteries: the death of Jesus, true God and true man, on the tree of the cross. The Passion reading, the account of Jesus’ suffering and death, reminds us of the great cost which Jesus willingly paid for us and for our salvation. May the Holy Spirit so work in our hearts and minds that we may hear and receive this with fresh ears and new understanding, trusting that it was indeed for our sake that Jesus hung upon the cross. Jesus is betrayed by one of his own, abandoned by his disciples, rejected by his fellow citizens, forsaken by his Father, and literally endured hell for us. How can we know or grasp this tremendous sacrifice of love? And before he died upon the cross, Jesus uttered those three words: “It is finished.”
What was finished? Certainly the gross miscarriage of justice, the mocking scorn of the crowd, the horrendous pain and suffering that Jesus endured were now finished. Certainly Jesus’ earthly life and ministry were now finished as his life quickly ebbed away. But so much more than this was finished! These are but the surface things of what was finished. In a much larger sense, the entire purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry, the work of accomplishing our salvation through his atoning sacrifice upon the cross, this is what took place there. All of this is what was meant when Jesus said with his final breath: “It is finished.” The original word here is significant: τετέλεσται, which means to bring to an end; to complete or fulfill. The meaning here is that Jesus’ sacrificial death upon the cross has once and for all fulfilled the just requirements of God’s Law. The debt of sin has been fully paid; sealed with the blood of Jesus. “It is finished.”
Far greater than Jesus’ physical agonies were the soul sorrows that he endured. Only in this light can we understand the true meaning of Calvary. Fulfilled in Jesus were the words of Isaiah’s prophecy: “… he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…” (Isaiah 53:5a). Not only did Jesus bear the collective weight of all the sins of mankind, he experienced rejection by his own Father there on the cross when he uttered that terrible cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). The total punishment of our entire rebellious race, from Adam’s first sin to the last person before the end of the world, all fell upon Jesus. Is it any wonder that Jesus lived only until 3 o’clock on that Friday afternoon? We will never fully know the agony and torment that he endured, but he endured it for us. Because of what Jesus has done, by his grace and mercy alone, we will never know the Father’s rejection. Because of what Jesus has done for you and for me, the crushing burden of our sins has been removed.
There is nothing that you or I can add to what Jesus has already done; to attempt to do so would be a gross insult. The Word of God makes clear that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy rag” (Isaiah 64:6). What could we possibly contribute to what Jesus has already done through his innocent suffering and death? Such a gift can only be received with humble thanks and a repentant heart. As we come before the throne of God on this Good Friday, offering heart-felt thanks for the blood-bought gift of salvation, we do so clothed in Christ’s righteousness alone. The finished work of our salvation that Jesus accomplished upon the cross is our refuge and our hope, now and in the hour of our death. That is what makes this day Good Friday.
What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee. Amen.