Grace For The Journey
The Bible records His last triumphant words from the cross, “When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)
To the watching world, this was the last despairing cry from a defeated man, nailed like a common criminal to die a ghastly death on wooden crossbeams. But to the Father in heaven, this was the cry of a Conqueror who did what He came to do: debt paid, sin forgiven, crooked straightened. “It is finished!” is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they sinned! “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
When Jesus cried, “It is finished!” He uttered the Greek word tetelestai, which literally means “Paid in full.” When someone in the first century finished paying off a debt the judge or creditor would utter the word, and stamp over the charge, tetelestai, meaning “The debt is paid in full; the obligation is fulfilled.” Jesus was making it clear that He had paid the penalty for our sins in full by His death on the cross. His was not a cry of relief, the final whimpering gasp of a criminal being crushed under the weight of the cross; it was the cry of a Conqueror!
We must keep in mind that Christ’s finished work was not limited to the price He paid by His death; it also included the price He paid in the life He lived. He lived a life of perfection, though He faced every imaginable obstacle, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15) He overcame every test!
At birth, King Herod tried to have Jesus killed. As an adult, He was falsely accused by the religious leaders who branded Him a false teacher. He was rejected by the people He came to save, betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and abandoned by all His friends. He was spit upon, viciously flogged, had a crown of thorns jammed into His head, and nailed to a cross. He hung there in unimaginable agony, His cruelly lacerated back scraping against the harsh wood as He pushed against the spikes in His hands and feet to draw in each shuddering breath. The religious leaders mocked Him, the soldiers cast lots for His clothing, and even two thieves reviled Him as He hung there, no doubt shivering in blinding pain. And if that wasn’t enough, his Father in heaven would not even look upon His very own precious Son, as He who knew no sin became sin for us. And it was that – not the pain of the nails or the insults of men, all of which He bore in stoic silence – which prompted His desolate cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But He was not defeated! To be sure, there was a great defeat suffered as Jesus hung on the cross . . . but it was not His defeat. It was Satan who was defeated, his plans forever frustrated, sin and death eternally vanquished for all those who will trust in Christ. On the cross what looked like the defeat of Jesus and all that He stood for was actually His victory . . .
and it was our victory too!
His cry of victory is our cry of victory. We now live under the banner of the finished work of Christ! We cannot add to His work; we cannot build upon it; we cannot improve on it in any way. When Jesus cried out in triumph, “It is finished,” He meant what He said!
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey … Rest in this eternal truth … AMEN!