John 19:28-30 (NASB): After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Resurrection Sunday’s just around the corner. I want to understand everything Jesus meant when He exclaimed, “It is finished!” Don’t you? The original Greek word for “finished” is teleo, which means completed, brought to an end, the debt paid. Surely, we praise God that the debt we absolutely could not pay, the debt we owed God because of our sin, was paid in full by Jesus Christ. That is very true; God so loved the world that He gave His Son. It was His one expression of love to everyone — whoever believes in Him, fully trusting in Christ’s words and His work on the cross, will be saved from the wrath of God, and enter into eternal life with God. Hallelujah! Christ bore the punishment we deserved. Amazing love!
But in verse 28, Jesus knew that all Scripture had been fulfilled. What Scripture? What else was “finished?” There are many Scriptures about what Christ accomplished on our behalf:
Genesis 3:15 The serpent’s (that is Satan’s) head has been crushed by Jesus Christ. His authority here is nullified, for all who believe in Christ. He has no power against us who know Christ intimately. Hebrews 2:14 says Satan was rendered powerless, and 1 John 3:8 says Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. What were those works? When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden and she and Adam ate the fruit, their sin (willful disobedience against God) separated them from their Creator and Father and doomed them to death. We also were separated from God and doomed to death, but if we believe in Jesus, He reconciles us to God. And what’s more, Jesus gives us power to go and sin no more, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. It is finished!
Job 19:25 You and I can say in fact what Job said prophetically — we know that our Redeemer lives, and that He will come, and that in our flesh, we shall see God. Indeed, Jesus reveals Himself to those who love and obey Him (John 14:21). And we will yet see God, in heaven! Hallelujah! It is finished!
Psalm 118:24-27 Oh, I tell you, this is the day, the day of salvation, this day that all Scripture was fulfilled! Glory to God! This is the day the festival sacrifice was bound to the altar — the day Christ was nailed to the cross. When Christ entered Jerusalem in the original Palm Sunday, the crowd sang this portion of Psalm 118. They soon rejected Jesus, but it had to be that way. Christ HAD to die for us. Oh, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! It is finished! Isaiah 44:23 says “Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it!”
Isaiah 35:4-6 Oh, He has made streams in the desert! We were barren and dry, without life. But He died on a cross, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and was glorified so we may not only drink of His living water, but so it will flow from our bellies like a raging river! Oh, it is finished!
Isaiah 35:8 A highway of holiness has been created. See that upright on the cross? That’s the way. Go there and identify yourself with Christ’s death. Don’t just say “Thanks, Jesus,” and walk away. Say, “Crucify me with You, so I no longer live, but You live in me! Do heart surgery, Lord! Pluck out my rebellious heart and replace it with yours!” Oh, it is finished!
Isaiah 53:6 Our iniquity fell on Christ. The word “fell” is more accurately translated “met.” He intervened for us. Our sinfulness met His sinlessness and we were reconciled to God the Father! It is finished!
Isaiah 60:1-3 Oh, the glory of the Lord rose upon Him in His flesh, but now it is upon us who know Him intimately! We are carriers of His glory, and kings will come to the brightness of our rising. He will have a church glorious (Ephesians 5:27), filled with God’s glory, His kabod (see Psalm 45:13), His weighty presence, so we may be His witnesses here. It is finished!
Isaiah 61 Glory! The captives have been set free! To what were we captive? Sin! It is finished!
Zechariah 9:9 Our King came humbly. He has come! It is finished! And we must come to Him in the same way — humbly.
Malachi 3:1 And the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to the temple. He wants to come to your temple, your body! He and the Father will come and make their abode with you (John 14:23), if you love and obey Jesus Christ (John 14:21). It will be suddenly, in an instant. You will be filled with Him! It is finished!
Romans 5:8 God’s love is this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It is finished! Does God love sin? No, He hates it. But He gave us Christ, so we may turn from sin and stop sinning. The church does not teach this, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why not. It’s a powerful truth! Christ Himself said of sin, “Therefore if the Son shall set you free, you are free, indeed” (John 8:36). Oh, be set free! It is finished!
In light of all that Christ has finished, shall we continue to sin? Won’t our continued sin make God’s grace more evident? The Romans asked Paul that, in Romans 6. My dear ones, the church has mutilated the associated verse from Romans 5:20: “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” We use that to excuse our present disobedience, just like the Romans to whom Paul wrote. The grace that increased (past tense) was Christ; sin had increased (been made evident) because God revealed His moral law. Christians wrongly use Romans 5:20 as a mantra to “rationalize away” the sin they’re now doing. As Paul says in Romans 6:2, “May it never be!” For Paul continues, “How shall we who have died to sin still live in it?”
I tell you, beloved, we are in danger of losing our reconciliation to God if we continue to sin. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Paul exhorts the Christian Corinthians to be reconciled to God! They had fallen into many sins, they were infants in Christ, they were not filled with the Holy Spirit. Dear ones, on the cross Christ put an end to the sin you’ve done and to the sin nature you possess. Don’t reject what Christ has finished! Come again to the cross! Ask Him to fill you with God’s own perfect love, so you no longer want to disobey Him, but love Him with His very own love. Ask Him to take your rebellious nature out of you and replace it with the very nature of Christ! He will do it, He has provided for it, and if you will come, sin will be finished in you!