Summary: What was finished: 1. The MALICE of his enemies. 2. The SUFFERING of Christ. 3. All the Old Testament PROPHECIES. 4. The CEREMONIAL LAW . 5. His EARTHLY LIFE. 6. The work of REDEMPTION. 7. The price of SIN was paid in full.
Our text for today is found in the gospel of John chapter nineteen - verse thirty. Please follow along with me as I read:
Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
John 19:30 (NASB)
We have spent the last five Sunday mornings considering the seven sayings of Jesus as He hung on the cross. He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice so that fallen mankind could be redeemed.
This morning we come to the greatest of the sayings. Each saying is important and they reveal much about our Lord and God's plan for our redemption - but of the seven, this one rises above the rest. Here we find - just prior to His death - that Jesus cries, "It is Finished."
How many of you have left things unfinished?
This past week I was looking through some books in my library and I noticed that some of the books had book markers in them. It seems that at one point or another I had been reading the book and for some reason I never finished reading it. It was unfinished -
A few years ago my wife and I went to Mount Rushmore. We visited there and saw the four president's faces cared into the mountain. But did you know that they were never finished. Sure - the faces are there but the person who designed them had every intention of carving the presidents down to the waist. It was unfinished -
We all know what it’s like to have unfinished business, don’t we? All of us have things unfinished cluttering up the highway of life.
— the half-read book
— the letter started but never sent
— the phone calls never returned
— the degree we never finished
— the promises never kept
All of us go through life leaving behind a trail of unfinished projects and unfulfilled dreams. How few there are who can come to the end of life and say, “I finished everything that I set out to do.”
In fact I would be so bold to say that there has been only one person in history to never leave behind any unfinished business. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the only person who could come to the end of his life and say—with absolute and total truthfulness—"I have finished everything I set out to do.”
In the Greek there is only one word for "it is finished". It can mean “to bring to an end", "to complete", "to accomplish”, "to finish". It’s a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. It’s the word you would use when you reach peak of Mt. Everest - it’s the word you use when you cross the finish line of a 10K race - it’s the word you would use when you make the final house payment. The word means more than just "I finished" it can also mean - “I survived” - "I've succeeded" - “I did exactly what I set out to do.”
Note that Jesus did not say, “I am finished,” for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted. Rather, he cried out “It is finished,” meaning “I successfully completed the work I came to do.” It is the Savior’s final cry of victory. When he died, He left no unfinished business behind. When He said, “It is finished,” He was speaking the truth.
But we must ask the question, "What was finished?"
This week as I prepared for this message I looked up what other ministers had said about this verse. The ideas were varied. But then I looked up what Matthew Henry had to say on this verse. He lived over 300 years ago. But I turn to him time and time again to listen to his wisdom. He lists several things that were finished when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”
1. The MALICE of his enemies was finished.
By nailing him to the cross, they had done their best to do their worst. They wanted Him punished. They wanted Him killed. They got their wish. There was nothing more they could do to the Son of God. It was finished.
2. The SUFFERING of Christ was finished.
“The storm is over, the worst is past; all His pains and agonies are at an end, and He is just going to paradise, entering upon the joy set before Him.” He is going to a place where there will be no more pain or sorrow - all the tears will be wiped away. The suffering of Christ was about to be finished.
3. All the Old Testament PROPHECIES were fulfilled.
Matthew Henry lists a number of examples—He had been given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21), He had been sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), His hands and feet had been pierced (Psalm 22:16), His garments had been divided (Psalm 22:18), and His side was pierced (Zechariah 12:10). There are many other prophesies surrounding His death. All those had been or very soon would be fulfilled.