Summary: “When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’” This cry from the Cross is a shout of victory! Jesus fully paid the price for our sins, stamping "paid in full" across the ledger sheet of our lives. Since Jesus paid it all, we don’t have to
The Word of Triumph
Do you ever feel like your life is littered with half-completed projects? Even though I value being able to complete what I start, my days are often filled with unfinished business. From my childhood tree fort that had only one wall, to receiving an “Incomplete” in my college Italian class that eventually led to an “F,” to my lame attempts at refinishing furniture, to pictures that are still waiting to be hung up in our bedroom, and to finding the time to mud and sand some drywall, my “to-do” list reads more like a “never-do” catalog of broken commitments.
My guess is that I’m not alone this morning. Did you know that the granite depiction of the four American presidents at Mt. Rushmore is an uncompleted project? That’s right, the world’s greatest mountain carving is not finished and probably never will be. The sculptor had originally planned for the figures to be depicted to their waist.
Even Michelangelo, who is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, would often begin a project only to abandon it in a fit of anger. Amazingly, when he died he left more unfinished works than ones that were completed.
When people die at a young age they usually leave a lot of projects in progress. Many have wondered what John F. Kennedy would have been able to do as president if he had not been assassinated. In ten short years, Alexander the Great conquered Greece, Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Media, and India. What would he have accomplished if he had not died at the age of 33?
Jesus also died at 33 and ministered for only three years. While most of us have incomplete work, unfinished business and half-completed projects, Jesus finished everything He started. He completed every task He was given. He accomplished all that He had planned to do.
Let’s take a brief walk through the Gospel of John to see how Jesus focused on finishing what He started.
John 4:34: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.”
John 5:36: “…For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.”
And, the night before Jesus was betrayed, he broke out into intercessory prayer for his followers. The time of His death had come and He could say with confidence that He had left nothing undone in John 17:4: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” This is an amazing statement. There were certainly more sick people He could have healed and more miracles He could have performed. But He came for other reasons.
In the context of this prayer, Jesus reveals that His mission was to concentrate on a few men who would change the world. People were His method and the cross was the means. Before He even preached His first sermon He had already selected people to follow Him. He didn’t develop programs that would reach the multitudes; He developed individuals that the multitudes would follow.
Now, turn to John 19:28-30 where we’ll hear the sixth shout from the Savior. This cry from the cross follows quickly after the fifth cry when Jesus said He was thirsty and immediately before His final exclamation, which we will address next week. These last three shouts were most likely uttered during the last minute of His life. We’ve been focusing on the tragedy of the cross; we turn now to its triumph. We move from the desolation of “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” to the lamentation of “I thirst” to the sixth cry of jubilation: “It is finished!” Arthur Pink describes it this way: “From the words of the victim we turn now to the words of the victor.”
Follow along as I read verses 28-29: “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.” Pastor Jeff did a great job last Sunday helping us quench our thirst in the deep rivers of Scripture as he focused on the perfect humanity of Christ, His profound suffering and the fabulous fulfilled prophecy surrounding his birth, life, and death.
Look at verse 30: “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’” Don’t miss the link between cry #5 and cry #6. Jesus was parched with thirst. The wine vinegar was put to His lips, which fulfilled Scripture, loosened his tongue so that it didn’t stick to the roof of his mouth, and cleared His throat so He could utter these words, “It is finished.”