Summary: The 6th Word from the Cross. Jesus has accomplised what only he could. In him we have an ending and a beginning. This was preached at a service of believer’s baptism for 3 young people.
Today, as we approach Easter, we come to the 6th Word from the Cross. The 6th thing Jesus said as he hung there, in the last few moments before he died... ‘It is finished’. What did Jesus mean by that? What is finished?
Does he mean, It’s over and done with?
Well that’s definitely what the Romans thought wasn’t it. The Jewish leaders who had him killed. The Romans who’d crucified thousands of people before. When they nailed him to the cross they naturally thought it was all over. It is finished. Jesus has died.
Is that what Jesus is saying, then? In other words, ‘I’ve lived and now I’ve died. My suffering is over. It is finished’?
Sometimes, when something comes to a bitter end, we say, It’s finished. It’s over. No more. It’s ended. I remember when I was 17. I had a girlfriend and she dumped me. It’s finished! A few weeks later I had a new girlfriend and she dumped me too! It’s finished! It’s all over and done with. Ended.
But ‘It is finished’ can also mean, ‘It is accomplished! It is completed! I’ve done it!’ can’t it.
As you may know, ______ and I recently spent a weekend in Paris. We went to the Louvre, and for the second time in my life I saw the Mona Lisa – the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. It is said that da Vinci took 4 years to paint the Mona Lisa. He then stopped for 3 years. Then finally he worked on its completion in 1519.
I imagine that when Da Vinci had put the finishing touches to the Mona Lisa he stood back, and said, Yes! It’s finished! I’ve done it! It’s completed!
That’s the kind of satisfaction an artist has when they complete something. Or someone who’s just finished their studies. Or a writer who’s just finished her book. It’s finished. It’s complete. It’s accomplished!
And I think that’s what Jesus meant.
I think he meant,
The ancient prophesies about me have all now been completed.
The perfect life I needed to live has now been lived.
The unique sacrifice I needed to make has now been made.
And this is why I think that... You see, Jesus told his disciples in John 4:34 that he’d come “to do the will of him who sent me and to FINISH his work.”
The word ’finish’ in the original Greek is ’teleo’. It means to complete, to accomplish something.
God the Father had sent Jesus, the Son.
God the Father had given Jesus a job to do.
Jesus’ job was to live a completely obedient, sinless life.
You see, all the OT sacrifices of lambs pointed to Jesus.
Remember how those lambs had to be perfect and without defect?
Jesus’ mission was to live a completely obedient, sinless life.
Only then could he be the perfect sacrifice.
Only then could his death pay the penalty for our sins.
Only then could he be ’qualified’ to take our sins upon himself on the cross.
So on that cross, it’s as if Jesus is saying...
Father, for 33 years I lived the perfect life...
I was tempted but I didn’t sin...
Father, I did it! I’ve been obedient until the end!
I’ve paid the penalty for mankind’s sin.
The work you sent me here to do...
It’s accomplished! I’ve done it! It’s FINISHED!