Summary: What did Jesus mean when He said "It is finished" in John 19:30? Join Pastor Steve as He shares the impact of that statement.
Our text this morning is found in John’s Gospel – John 19:30. It is a simple text but profound. Its implications are far reaching and enduring. This text tells us that Jesus had a task to fulfill.
John 19:30 says, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, b“It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. The barbaric execution that Jesus suffered is summed up in these three words.
In his book, The Day Christ Died, Jim Bishop conveys the horror of such an execution. He writes: “The executioner laid the crossbeam behind Jesus and brought Him to the ground quickly by grasping His arm and pulling Him backward. As soon as Jesus fell, the beam was fitted under the back of His neck and, on each side, soldiers quickly knelt on the inside of the elbows…The thorns pressed against His torn scalp…With his right hand, the executioner probed the wrist of Jesus to find the little hollow spot. When he found it, he took one of the square-cut iron nails…raised the hammer over the nail head and brought it down with force…Two soldiers grabbed each side of the crossbeam and lifted. As they pulled up, they dragged Jesus by the wrists. With every breath, He groaned. When the soldiers reached the upright, the four of them began to list the crossbeam higher until the feet of Jesus were off the ground. The body must have writhed with pain…When the crossbeam was set firmly, the executioner…knelt before the cross. Two soldiers hurried to help, and each one took hold of a leg at the calf. The ritual was to nail the right foot over the left, and this was probably the most difficult part of the work. If the feet were pulled downward, and nailed close to the foot of the cross, the prisoner always died quickly. Over the years, the Romans learned to push the feet upward on the cross, so that the condemned man could lean on the nails and stretch himself upward [to breathe].
Chuck Swindoll, adds, “Excruciating pain accompanied every upward push for breath and every downward release from fatigue. Each movement cut deeper into bone and tendons and raw muscle. Fever inevitably set in, inflaming the wounds and creating an insatiable thirst. Waves of hallucinations drifted the victim in and out of consciousness. And in time, flies and other insects found their way to the open wounds. At this point, Jesus knew He had accomplished everything the Father had sent Him to do. To fulfill one last Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a brach of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” (Jn.19:28b-30).
Those three words, “It is finished” come from one Greek word tetelestai.
“The word tetelestai is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life in those days. A servant would use it when reporting to his or her master, “I have completed the work assigned to me” (see John 17:4). When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, this word would apply.”
The word means, “It is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished!”
“These words specify not the end of Jesus’ life, but the completion of His task. The verb tense is perfect. “It is finished!” The purpose of His hour has been completed, and the consequences of His work are enduring.”
Max Lucado writes, “The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished. The task of selecting and training ambassadors was finished. The job was finished. The song had been sung. The blood had been poured. The sacrifice had been made. The sting of death had been removed. It was over.”
Warren Wiersbe says, “Perhaps the most meaningful meaning of tetelestai was that used by the merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” When He gave Himself on the cross, Jesus fully met the righteous demands of a holy law; He paid our debt in full.
What then do we learn about the completion of our redemption?
What do we learn about the salvation that Jude says “was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3)?
Jesus’ words, “It is finished” provides for us 4 glorious benefits.
I. Atonement for Sin
Warren Wiersbe, writes, “None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins; their blood only covered sin. But the Lamb of God shed His blood, and that blood can take away the sins of the world (John 1:29; Heb. 9:24–28).”