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!
For you ladies being baptised today, we can say 2 things:
First, It is finished!
Today we celebrate the fact that your sins have been dealt with, washed away, they are finished.
Not because you’re perfect.
Not because you’ve been baptised.
Not because you’ll never sin again.
But because you have put your trust in Jesus’ finished work for you on the cross.
Nothing you can do can make you more acceptable to God.
Nobody can tell you that you’re too bad for eternal life.
Your sin has been paid for by Jesus...
It is FINISHED!
The second thing we can say to you today is, It just started!
You see, today is not the end of your journey.
Today is just the beginning!
12 years ago I met a beautiful woman _________!
We started communicating, and got to know each other.
In January 1999 we got engaged – I asked ___________ to come into my life forever, to be my wife.
Then, several months later, in July 1999, we got married!
And that’s a bit like our relationship with Christ.
First of all we discover him...
We slowly get to know him and fall in love with him.
And one day we ask him to come into our lives forever.
After that we get baptised.
So was our wedding day the end or beginning for us?
It was the end of being single!