Summary: Good Friday Meditation: Christ cried out, "It is finished," from the Cross. Our Lord shouldered the burden of sin and ’dealt with it.’ Jesus finished the work of redeemption and, as a result, we are assured of the Father’s forgiveness.
“It is finished!” Was Jesus just relieved that the agony was over? Was He simply saying that, after enduring so much pain and torment – that it was finally over – that the suffering had ended. After all, Jesus must’ve been glad that now, death would bring peace and rest. After all, when a person has to endure so much pain and agony, when so much torment has been mercilessly inflicted, the rest that death brings is welcomed. “It is finished,” death has come.
Death. On Good Friday we deal with death up close. We stand at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ. We experience the reality of death - his death. We get to consider the gaping wounds caused by the cracking of the whip and the thorns and the blows. Blood flows freely. Screams of agony and pain come from Jesus. His sinews are pulled and stretched to the point of breaking. His lungs burn for breath. And why? He had done nothing deserving of death. He was an innocent man. But the cost for sin had to be paid. And Jesus paid it. “It is finished.”
Sin. It was heaped upon Jesus. He bore the sin willingly. He, Who knew no sin, became sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Those sins placed upon our innocent Lord were real. The innocent Lord, the one that the Babe of Bethlehem grew up to be – the One of Whom the Father said, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased,” – this same Jesus was now a vile creature. Upon Him were heaped the sins of the hypocritical Pharisees, the money lenders from the temple, the woman caught in adultery, Peter’s sin when he denied Him, your sins and my sins - the sins of all people who ever lived and who will ever live were now on Him. And because of it – He hung on a cross and was forced to taste death. That was the price. And Jesus paid the cost.
The cost of sin. “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) Listen to the words that tell us of the cost: “It is finished… Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” See what sin costs. The price is not cheap. Our sin – those little white lies, the lustful thoughts – all of our sins were placed upon Jesus. See the cost being paid. The price for sin is steep. “The soul who sins is the one who will die…” (Ezekiel 18:20) Jesus the innocent took on the full weight - He became sin for us. And He paid the cost. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) “It is finished” – Jesus died.
The cost has been paid. All righteousness has been fulfilled. God’s anger for the disobedience of humanity has been satisfied. Jesus bore it all. God unloaded on Jesus. The greatest pain that the innocent Jesus felt was the rejection of the Father. Jesus knew the darkness and loneliness and agony of the abandonment that sin causes. But now, Jesus cries, “It is finished.”
But Jesus’ cry is more than just welcoming the ending of pain. Jesus’ cry is more than an expression of joy at the deliverance from torment that death brings. He doesn’t just say, “It is over.” What Jesus said was, “It is accomplished, fulfilled, achieved – sin has been consumed.” Jesus’ cry isn’t a cry of defeat and despair. It is a cry of success and triumph - even at the moment of death - that the race has been run; that He has endured to the end; that the strife is over and the battle is won. Jesus’ cry is a cry of victory: “The work I came to do is complete there is nothing more to add – ‘It is finished.’ ”
As we stand at the foot of the Cross today, and listen to the cry of Jesus, it tells us that we have forgiveness. It tells us that because of the Cross, humanity has been reconciled to the Father. It is difficult to endure this sight. But it is our guarantee that the penalty for our transgression has been paid. The smell, the sight, the sound of consumed sin is a reminder of a Savior who has paid the cost. And so, when the enemy comes, and he tells us that we can’t possibly be loved by God – we can point to the Cross and say, “It is finished.” Jesus finished it. God’s wrath at our sin has been satisfied and I am forgiven. The work is complete - “Tetelestai - it is finished.” Amen.