Summary: what was finished when Jesus died on the cross.
THE WORD OF VICTORY
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished."
The last two weeks we have been occupied with the tragedy of the cross; we turn now to its triumph.
"It is finished." The ancient Greeks boasted of being able to say much in little. "It is finished" is but one word in the Greek, yet in that word is wrapped up so much. Here is the greatest single Greek word ever spoken.
"It is finished." This was not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr; it is the declaration on the part of the divine Redeemer that all for which he came from heaven to earth to do, was now done.
"It is finished." The great purpose of God in the history of man was now accomplished.
"It is finished."
I. The CONSUMMATION OF THE PROPHETIC SCRIPTURES
Here we see the accomplished fulfillment of all the prophecies which had been written of Him before He should die.
This is the immediate thought of the context: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished" (John 19:30). Centuries earlier, the Old Testament prophets of God had prophesied many things about Him. It had been prophesied that He would be born of a "virgin" (Isa. 7:14): it was literally fulfilled (Matthew 1:18).
It was prophesier that He should be born in Bethlehem of Judea (Mic. 5:2); it came to pass as it was foretold
Prophecy made mention of one going before Christ to make ready the way (Malachi 3:1); it is fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist.
Prophecy announced that his person should be despised (Isa. 53:3); that He should be rejected by the Jews (Isa. 8:14); such was precisely the case.
Prophecy painted the whole picture of His humiliation and crucifixion; it was vividly accomplished. There was the betrayal by a familiar friend, the forsaking by his cherished disciples, the being led to the slaughter, the being taken to judgment, the appearing of false witnesses against him, the refusal on his part to make defense, the unjust condemnation, the sentence of capital punishment passed upon him, the literal piercing of his hands and feet, the being numbered with transgressors, the mockery of the crowd, the casting lots for his garments - all predicted centuries beforehand, and all fulfilled to the very letter.
The last prophecy of all which remained before He committed His spirit into the hands of His Father had now been fulfilled. He cried "I thirst" and after the tendering of the vinegar and gall all was now "accomplished"; and as the Lord Jesus reviewed the entire scope of the prophetic word and saw its full realization, He cried, "It is finished."
Just as we see the actual fulfillment of those which had to do with His first coming to the earth, so we may look forward with absolute confidence and assurance to the fulfillment of those which have to do with His second coming.
II. The CULMINATION OF HIS PERSONAL SUFFERINGS
O the unutterable anguish, physical, mental, and spiritual sufferings which He endured!
Appropriately was he designated "the Man of Sorrows." Sufferings at the hands of men, at the hands of Satan, and at the hands of God. Pain inflicted upon him by enemies and friends alike.
You have to only read through the gospels to learn how the awful cross was ever before Him. At the marriage-feast of Cana, where all was gladness and merriment, He makes solemn reference to "His hour" not yet come. When Nicodemus interviewed him at night the Saviour referred to the lifting up of the Son of man. When James and John came to request from him the two places of honour in his coming kingdom, he made mention of the "cup" which he had to drink.
When Peter confessed that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God, he turned to his disciples and began to show unto them "how that he must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matthew 16:21). When Moses and Elijah stood with him on the mount of transfiguration it was to speak of "his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem."
We are unable to estimate the sufferings of Christ due to the anticipation of the cross. The physical sufferings were agonizing but even this was as nothing compared with the anguish of His soul. The better we are acquainted with His sufferings, and the more we meditate upon them, the warmer will our love be and the deeper our gratitude.
Now the closing hours come. There had been the terrible experience in Gethsemane followed by His appearance before Caiaphas, before Pilate, before Herod, and back again before Pilate. There had been the scourging and mocking by the brutal soldiers; the journey to Calvary; the fastening of his hands and feet to the cruel tree. There had been the reviling of the priests, the crowd, and the two thieves crucified with him. There had been the awful time when He was forsaken of the Father as he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"