Friday, April 19, 2019

It Is Finished

  Jesus last words on the cross, according to John, were simple ones:

    "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 (NIV 1984)
     At face value, those words seem strange. Almost...anti-climatic. Imagine the disciples, fearful, distraught, confused. Why didn't He say something to them? Something to encourage them in their time of distress? Surely those weren't the words they wanted to hear.

    John doesn't tell us how Jesus said those words, but Matthew 27:50 is similar to  Mark 15:37 which says,

"With a loud cry, Jesus breathed His last."

   Jesus spent His last breath, in agony and pain, each gasp of air its own unique, horrible form of torture, to shout these words. Why?

    Don't miss this: as surely as Jesus' resurrection is our promise of  new life, and an eternity in heaven, these words hold life-changing power.

It is finished...
        our penalty was paid.
It is finished...
      His work on earth was done.
It is finished...
      God's wrath had been appeased.
It is finished...
      we could be redeemed.
It is finished...
      the rescue was complete.


    He did it. All of it. We are given the choice: acceptance or rejection, faith or disbelief. But nothing we can ever do will finish it. Jesus alone could finish the plan to bring salvation, to open the way for the new life that the resurrection would prove. Jesus' resurrection, His triumph over death, can not be overlooked. But the knowledge that our debt had been covered was summed up in those three precious words.

It. Is. Finished.

IT is finished.

It IS finished.


    The beauty in those words is exactly the balm a wounded heart needs. The preciousness of those four little syllables is beyond measure. We could never, ever, do the work that needed to be done. We could never, ever, find a way on our own. We could never, ever, work off the insurmountable obligation we had for choosing our own way. On our own we could never, ever, ever, ever be saved. But Jesus.

   Fear has to do with punishment. Our sin merited the worst punishment of all: eternal death. But when Jesus bore our punishment on the cross, our sin, our shame, our death, none of it His.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fear is not made perfect in love. We love because He loved us. 
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us." 
1 John 4:18-19a, 3:1a, 3:16a (NIV 1984)

    Those three little words mean we can have faith in the One who took our punishment, knowing His love for us was exemplified through His death, and through that faith we can be perfectly loved, and in that love we will never have to fear again.

    That is a lot to say in a few little words. But I suppose that since He is the Word (John 1:1) He knew exactly how to get His point across. And, of course, to say just the right thing.

   So, this Good Friday, we can cry aloud with Him, "It is finished!". We can triumph with Him.

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