Summary: Jesus was proclaiming the end of many things through this cry from the cross
It is Finished
An innocent man is thrashed, bruised, spat at, called names. He is hungry, thirsty, bleeding and in severe pain. He is facing a death sentence for a crime he did not even think of. And he is nailed to the cross and is breathing his last breath. To the external world that looks on, he is a defeated man, he is a loser, he is powerless.
What is the most likely thing that would come out of the mouth of such a man. What would you say, if you are in that position? I would most probably say, “I am finished!!” But look again, here is a man who says instead, “It is finished”. The man who said this was no ordinary man. He was Jesus Christ, and He was signaling the end of many things through this triumphant declaration.
What exactly did he mean “was finished”. We do not know precisely. But knowing His fathers promises, and His own life and teachings, we can very well surmise that He surely meant a few things. Let us look at just a few of them , as given in God’s word.
Firstly, He was signaling that the “Fall” is finished. Let us look at Genesis Ch 3 where the Fall is recorded. In Genesis 3:15, after the Fall, God curses Satan and says that the offspring of a woman will crush your head. Jesus Christ, a man born of a woman was doing exactly the same through this act of dying on the cross bearing the sins of the world, the sins He was never part of, but was a scapegoat for.
Secondly He was declaring that the biggest, most dramatic, totally undeniable demonstration of God’s love is finished. There is no other way He could have demonstrated his love to His creation. The message translation of Isaiah 43: 4 says “I paid a huge price for you…. That’s how much you mean to me, That’s how much I love you. I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you” That is the promise that God is fulfilling by sending His own son to the cross to die here.
Thirdly He was declaring that the distance that has been created between Man and God, because of the fall, and man’s wickedness is finished. Exodus 40:33 records that Moses finished the work on the Tabernacle and the Courtyard when he put up the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard. In contrast, we see Jesus finishing the work of the New temple by tearing the curtains open through his death (Luke 23:45). The purpose of the curtain that Moses put up was to prevent the “unclean” men from approaching the Holy of Holies. By tearing open that Curtain, Jesus proclaimed that the separation between Man and God is “finished”
We could go on and on. There are many things that Jesus “finished” for us through that act on the cross. In summary though, he was declaring that He has “finished” his father’s business for which He came to the earth. (Luke 2:49)
You and me wait for hearing this one more time, When the creation of the new Jerusalem is over he will say this to us. This Good Friday, this is God’s promise to each one of us. Let us read Rev 21:5-7 together. “He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."