"When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30
As we approach Easter this week, I’m reminded of Jesus being led away to be crucified and how Jesus dies on the cross. In John 19:30, Jesus said, "It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” This small phrase, “it is finished” in Greek that Jesus proclaims, can be translated “to accomplish”, “to perfect”, “to complete” or “to bring to an end.” We need to understand that until this point in time, a very complex and complicated system of sacrifices had atoned for sins. And sin separates people from God. But Jesus became the final sacrifice; Jesus became the ultimate display of surrender to God’s will and purpose for His life. Jesus dies on the cross for the sins of the world. Jesus died for your sins and mine. Recently, during my devotional quiet time, I was reading a post by an author and pastor that I enjoy. And in light of this post, it’s interesting to observe that Jesus uses a very common term, “It is finished” that the people of this time period could relate to and understand its real meaning.
First, the translated term “to accomplish” was a term used by servants. In very early Biblical times, when a servant accomplished a task assigned by his master, he would announce that he accomplished his task. In other words, "Master, I've accomplished the job you gave me to do." The apostle Paul writes this about Jesus, “He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:7-8).
Second, the translated term, “to perfect”, was a term used by priests. A priest had the responsibility of examining a lamb brought to be sacrificed at the temple. The priest would look for flaws and if he found no flaws, he would say, "It's perfect; or it's suitable for sacrifice." Likewise, the Bible confirms that Jesus was “perfect” and says, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Third, the translated term, “to complete”, was a term that artist would relate to. When an artist “completes” a painting or a sculpture, they step away and say, “The painting is complete.” Jesus completes the picture of our need for a Savior when He stated, “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
Fourth, the translated term, “to bring to an end”, was a banking term used by merchants and investors. Once a debtor paid off a debt or obligation, it was “brought to an end.” The banking merchant, or investor, gave you a certificate that is stamped, "Paid in full." As sinners, all of us have a debt. A debt we cannot pay for on our own. And because we’re all sinners and have debt, our payment is death. Eternal separation from God and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But that overwhelming debt was paid in full when Jesus announced from the cross, "It is finished."
So as the Servant, Jesus “accomplished” the wishes of His Master. As the Priest, Jesus offered Himself as the “perfect” sacrifice. As the Artist, Jesus “completed” the picture. And as an investor in humanity, Jesus “brought an end” to our debt and paid it off in full. “It is finished.”
Jesus offers you the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. And just maybe the only thing missing is that you haven't received the free gift. So I encourage you to pray to God, to come to God by faith and finish well; believe and receive Jesus Christ (John 1:12) and become a child of God.
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“It is Finished!”
Posted on Mon, March 30, 2015
by Sam Petitfils