Sunday, March 31, 2013

It is Finished!, John 19:30

“It is finished!” Weust calls this phrase, “A cry of victory in the hour of defeat,” and indeed it is! John’s gospel is the only one to record these words. Though these words probably weren’t shouted like some of the other sayings, they are cosmically important. What was finished? Jesus’s sufferings were about to end. His sojourn on earth was about to end. But more than that, Jesus had completed the work that the Father had sent Him to do. He glorified the Father and made God known. Even though He Himself said the sheep would be scattered when He the Shepherd was taken away, Jesus lost none of His sheep, except the son of perdition who was foreordained to destruction. Jesus had loved fully to the end. What greater demonstration of love could there be than for Jesus to take all the sins of the world upon Himself and to be the perfect sacrifice for sins. The one Greek word for the phrase, “It is finished” is “tetelestai”. It is used in a variety of ways. Artists use it to describe a completed work of art—a finished painting or sculpture. At that point the artist can look back in admiration and wonder and so can all who view the work. The work of redemption was finished. There was no more work for Jesus and there is no more work for us. We cannot work for our salvation; Jesus paid it all. Jesus fulfilled the Law. All its symbols and foreshadowings were fulfilled in Christ. We do not work for our salvation; we serve God because of our salvation, and even so, the only merit, the only righteousness our service has is because Christ has given it to us. Our service doesn’t make God love us anymore. In our obedience we honor the finished work of Christ. We acknowledge its value and importance. Another use of the Greek word for “finished” refers to a task that a servant completes for the master. Jesus completed everything the Father commanded. He fully submitted to the Father’s will. He made full satisfaction for the Law. Jesus’s finished work allows for the forgiveness of our sins. He opened the way to God. He made reconciliation with God possible. In Him are all things reconciled. We can be reconciled to God because we died with Him on the cross, and if we died with Him, we will be raised with Him. In His death, the veil was torn in two symbolizing the open access we now have through the Father by placing our faith in Christ Jesus and in His important finished work. This brings us to two other uses of the word. It was used by the priests after they fully examined the sacrifices to see if they were indeed satisfactory. Jesus was the perfect once for all sacrifice. Hebrews 10:14 - 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Though we do not see ourselves as perfect, though we still commit trespasses, God sees us as perfect in Christ. The second part of this verse talks about an ongoing work; we are being sanctified. In His finished work, Jesus made a way for us to become more and more like Him. When He completed His part, He sent the Holy Spirit to take over and apply His work to our lives. Merchants used this word when full payment was made for a purchase. Jesus purchased us from slavery to sin and self. He redeemed us fully. The wages of sin is death, and Jesus paid the whole deal in dying for us. He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Because of His payment, we instead can receive the gift of God in Jesus Christ, the gift of eternal life. In His finished work, Jesus also trampled down the enemy. The devil thought maybe Jesus was finished, but Jesus was saying the devil is finished. As victors with Christ, we can no longer claim, “The devil made me do it,” for we are drawn away into sin by our own lusts and enticed. Satan still prowls about like a roaring lion, but we have authority in Jesus name to rebuke him. His end is sure. Whatever our temptation, Jesus has made a way out. Though Satan may try to accuse us, his words have no power. “I’ve been redeemed! My identity is in Christ,” sends the devil away. The devil may try to condemn us, but he has no right. Only Christ can condemn, and Christ does not! Romans 8:1 tells us, “Now therefore, is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Condemnation was finished at the cross. Nothing can stand against the finished work of Christ. Yes, there was a sense of completeness to the work of Jesus. Jesus demonstrates the completeness of that work in that He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He had arrived at His goal. In the finished work of Christ, we can end our search for forgiveness. It is granted to us in Him. We can end our efforts at trying to work for our salvation. No work we do could ever come close to atoning for our sins, but Jesus’s work was sufficient for all of us. In fact, the death of Christ ushered in the night of the last day when no man can work. The self was finished on the cross because as He died, we died with Him. We have absolutely nothing to add to Jesus’s finished work, and we dare not try lest we trivialize the work of Christ on our behalf. May we never say what Jesus did for us is not enough. May we never think that we are so good that we can add to Jesus’s work nor think we are so good that we don’t need Jesus. May we never think we are so bad that Jesus couldn’t pay for what we’ve done, that we can never be forgiven. Any good work we do is only because Jesus has worked it in us through the Holy Spirit. We can claim nothing of our own except to boast in Christ, to exalt Him, and lift up His name. May we give God the glory and the credit. The finished work of Christ was cosmic. Though Jesus finished His work, it has long-lasting, ongoing effects. The work keeps working. The finished work of Jesus made way for a new beginning. It is a transforming work. Because of His work, we can have new life. The life we now live is His life. Because of His finished work, we have a restored relationship with God our Father. Because of His finished work, we have the power not to sin. Because of His finished work, we have assurance; our salvation is secure. Because of Christ’s finished work, we have acceptance; we can come boldly to the throne of grace. As David Carter says, In Jesus, we have “peace that cannot be taken away, rest that cannot be disturbed, joy that cannot be diminished, sure hope that cannot be disappointed, light [that cannot be overcome by darkness], happiness that cannot be stolen, wisdom that cannot be baffled, beauty that cannot be marred. [We have] a Resource that cannot be exhausted--THERE IS NO NEED HE CAN’T MEET, NO HURT HE CAN’T HEAL.” Charles Spurgeon: What "it" was it that was finished? I will not attempt to expound it. It is the biggest "it" that ever was/ Turn it over and you will see that it will grow, and grow, and grow, and grow, till it fills the whole earth: It is finished!


Blogger Pastor Parato said...

Given at the Community Good Friday 7 Last Words Service @ All Saints Anglican Church, Newport, NC 2013.

March 31, 2013 at 6:03 PM


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