Sayings of Jesus on the Cross: #6 “It is Finished” John 19:30

11 Jul

It is Finished — Bethel Temple Apostolic Church

“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

 Jesus wasn’t finished, although it looked like he was. His work was finished! The sacrifice that enabled the restoration of man to God was completed – eternally, nothing was left undone, nothing else was necessary. Complete  satisfaction was made for the debt incurred by the whole human race. The word “forgiven” literally means, “remitted”, a term often used regarding the payment of an account. Full satisfaction for the debt incurred by man and his sin against God’s holy nature, was paid in full by Jesus on the cross.

On the sixth day of creation when God created man, he looked at what He had done and saw that it was very good. (Genesis 1:31). Creation, in all its beauty and wonder was complete. Similarly, the sixth saying of Jesus on the cross marked the completion of re-creation, and it was very, very good. How good was it? Ask any forgiven sinner he’ll tell you! Ask the person healed from cancer by the grace of our Lord, she’ll tell you! Ask the drug addict, the prostitute, the adulterer, the gambler, the thief, the murderer, ask anyone whose life has been changed by Jesus Christ, they’ll all tell you – the finished work of the cross is good, very, very good!

Most People Have Unfinished Business. Have you ever wandered through a cemetery, reading the birth and death dates? So many died in their youth had still had goals they had never realized. Even those who live to old age, find that they didn’t complete all that they had setout to do in life.

Jesus Left No Unfinished Business Jesus was the only perfect man who perfectly completed his perfect work, and he did so in a little over 30 years. I do not believe these words were uttered in despair and resignation, but rather in triumph.

OUR LAST TWO STUDIES have been occupied with the tragedy of the cross; we turn now to its triumph.

In his words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” we beard the Saviour’s cry of desolation; in his words “I thirst” we listened to his cry of lamentation; now there falls upon our ears his cry of jubilation – “It is finished”.

From the words of the victim we turn now to the words of the victor; It is proverbial that every cloud has its silver lining: so had the darkest cloud of all.

The cross of Christ has two great sides to it: it showed the profound depths of his humiliation, but it also marked the goal of the Incarnation, and further, it told the consummation of his mission, and it forms the basis of our salvation.

“It is finished.” The ancient Greeks boasted of being able to say much in little – “to give a sea of matter in a drop of language” was regarded as the perfection of oratory. What they sought is here found.

“It is finished” is but one word in the original, yet in that word is wrapped up the gospel of God; in that word is contained the ground of the believer’s assurance; in that word is discovered the sum of all joy, and the very spirit of all divine consolation.

His Suffering On The Cross Was Finished.

 (Matthew 16:21 NIV)  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

(Matthew 20:22 NIV)  “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

(Luke 22:41-44 NIV)  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, {42} “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” {43} An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. {44} And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

(John 2:4 NIV)  “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

(John 3:14 NIV)  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up…

If we knew in advance all the horrors that Jesus knew, how would we have faced life?

His Mission Was Finished.

(Luke 2:49 NIV)  “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”


The Scheme of Redemption is finished; God had a plan for our redemption.  God’s plan is outlined for us in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel” (Gen. 3:15).

This passage is talking about Jesus…who was the seed or offspring of the woman – born of Mary…would have “His heel” struck by Satan – that was Jesus’ death…But God also promised that Jesus would crush Satan’s head – that was Jesus’ resurrection.

(Philippians 2:8 NIV)  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!


“It is finished.” This was not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr; it was not an expression of satisfaction that the termination of his sufferings was now reached; it was not the last gasp of a worn-out life.

No, rather was it the declaration on the part of the divine Redeemer that all for which he came from heaven to earth to do, was now done; that all that was needed to reveal the full character of God had now been accomplished; that all that was required by law before sinners could be saved had now been performed: that the flail price of our redemption was now paid.

From the very beginning, God had a plan to save us from our sins.

 “And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Eph. 1:9-11).

God’s plan was simple.  Send His son, Jesus, to die (as a sin offering…our sacrificial lamb) on the cross to cleanse us from our sins. Jesus executed God’s game plan perfectly and fulfilled His mission.

Interestingly, Jesus used the Greek word “tetelestai” for “it is finished.”  This word means “paid in full.”  When a debt was fully paid, this word would be written on a loan document, will, or letter.  In the first century, when people had paid their debt in full, they would shout out the word “tetelestai.”  It was a shout of triumph…a shout of victory.  When Jesus said, “it is finished,” He was declaring victory.

And through His victory…we become victorious.

That’s the grace of God in our lives. Jesus took our sin upon Himself and did what we couldn’t do. We have victory over sin and death because Jesus paid our debt in full!


In His life, Jesus faced many obstacles.

  1. As a young child, King Herod tried to kill Him.
  2. His family and friends rejected Him.
  3. The religious leaders…the Pharisees and Sadducees branded Him as a false teacher.
  4.  His own disciples abandoned Him and denied even knowing Him.
  5. He was arrested, falsely accused of being a criminal, crucified, and died a horrible death on a cross.  

Although Jesus suffered greatly and faced many obstacles, He never gave up.  He never quit.  He never dropped out of the race.

In this life, you and I are going to face many obstacles.  Because of our faith, our family and friends may reject us. Our co-workers may make fun of us. We may experience physical hardships. But in the end, we must be able to say, “it is finished.”

We must be able to say what Paul said in (2 Timothy 4:7)…“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Here we see the end of our sins.

The sins of the believer – all of them – were transferred to the Savior. As saith the scripture, “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). If then God laid my iniquities on Christ, they are no longer on me. Sin there is in me, for the old Adamic nature remains in the believer till death or till Christ’s return, should he come before I die, but there is no sin on me.

This distinction between sin IN and sin ON is a vital one, and there should be little difficulty in apprehending it. Were I to say the judge passed sentence on a criminal, and that he is now under sentence of death, everyone would understand what I meant. In like manner, everyone out of Christ has the sentence of God’s condemnation resting upon him.


But when a sinner believes in the Lord Jesus, receives him as his Lord and Master, he is no longer “under condemnation” – sin is no longer on him, that is, the guilt, the condemnation, the penalty of sin, is no longer upon him. And why? Because Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Pet. 2:24). The guilt, condemnation and penalty of our sins, was transferred to our substitute. Hence, because my sins were transferred to Christ, they are no more upon me.

Here we see the fulfillment of the law’s requirements.

“The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good” (Rom. 7:12). How could it be anything less when Jehovah himself had framed and given it! The fault lay not in the law but in man who, being depraved and sinful, could not keep it. Yet that law must be kept, and kept by a man, so that the law might be honoured and magnified, and its giver vindicated.

Therefore we read, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in (not “by”) us, who walk not after flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3, 4). The “weakness” here is that of fallen man.

The sending forth of God’s Son in the likeness of sin’s flesh (Greek) refers to the Incarnation: as we read in another scripture, “God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that he might redeem them that were under the law” (Gal. 4:4, 5 RV). Yes, the Saviour was born “under the law”, born under it that he might keep it perfectly in thought, word and deed. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy. but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17); such was his claim.

But not only did the Saviour keep the precepts of the law, he also suffered its penalty and endured its curse. We had broken it, and taking our place, he must receive its just sentence. Having received its penalty and endured its curse the demands of the law are fully met and justice is satisfied. Therefore is it written of believers, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). And again, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). And yet again, ” For ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Here we see the destruction of Satan’s power.

See it by faith. The cross sounded the death-knell of the devil’s power. To human appearances it looked like the moment of his greatest triumph, yet in reality, it was the hour of his ultimate defeat. In view of the cross (see context) the Saviour declared, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). It is true that Satan has not yet been chained and cast into the bottomless pit, nevertheless, sentence has been passed (though not yet executed); his doom is certain; and his power is already broken so far as believers are concerned.

For the Christian the devil is a vanquished foe. He was defeated by Christ at the cross – “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). Believers have already been “delivered from the power of darkness” and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). Satan, then, should be treated as a defeated enemy. No longer has he any legitimate claim upon us. Once we were his lawful “captives” but Christ has freed us. Once we walked “according to the Prince of the power of the air”; but now we are to follow the example which Christ has left us. Once Satan “worked in us”; but now God worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. All that we now have to do is to “Resist the devil”, and the promise is, “he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

“It is finished.” Here was the triumphant answer to the rage of man and the enmity of Satan. It tells of the perfect work which meets sin in the place of judgment. All was completed just as God would have it, just as the prophets had foretold, just as the Old Testament ceremonial had foreshadowed, just as divine holiness demanded, and just as sinners needed. How strikingly appropriate it is that this sixth cross-utterance of the Saviour is found in John’s gospel – the gospel which displays the glory of Christ’s deity! He does not here commend his work to the approval of God, but seals it with his own imprimatur, attesting it as complete, and giving it the all-sufficient sanction of his own approval. None other than the Son of God says “IT IS finished” – who then dare doubt or question it.

“It is finished.” Reader, do you believe it? or, are you trying to add something of your own to the finished work of Christ to secure the favour of God? All you have to do is to accept the pardon which he purchased. God is satisfied with the work of Christ, why are not you? Sinner, the moment you believe God’s testimony concerning his beloved Son, that moment every sin you have committed is blotted out, and you stand accepted in Christ! O would you not like to possess the assurance that there is nothing between your soul and God? Would you not like to know that every sin had been atoned for and put away? Then believe what God’s word says about Christ’s death. Rest not on your feelings and experiences but on the written word. There is only one way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb.


“It is finished.” Do you really believe it? Or, are you endeavouring to add something of your own to it and thus merit the favour of God? Some years ago a Christian farmer was deeply concerned over an unsaved carpenter. The farmer sought to set before his neighbour the gospel of God’s grace, and to explain how that the finished work of Christ was sufficient for his soul to rest upon. But the carpenter persisted in the belief that he must do something himself. One day the farmer asked the carpenter to make for him a gate, and when the gate was ready he carried it away to his wagon.

He arranged for the carpenter to call on him the next morning and see the gate as it hung in the field. At the appointed hour the carpenter arrived and was surprised to find the farmer standing by with a sharp axe in his hand. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “I am going to add a few cuts and strokes to your work,” was the response. “But there is no need for it,” replied the carpenter, “the gate is all right as it is. I did all that was necessary to it.” The farmer took no notice, but lifting his axe he slashed and hacked at the gate until it was completely spoiled. “Look what you have done!” cried the carpenter. “You have ruined my work!” “Yes,” said the farmer, “and that is exactly what you are trying to do.

You are seeking to nullify the finished work of Christ by your own miserable additions to it!” God used this forceful object lesson to show the carpenter his mistake, and he was led to cast himself by faith upon what Christ had done for sinners. Reader, will you do the same?

Hours behind the runner in front of him, the last marathoner finally entered the Olympic stadium. By that time, the drama of the day’s events was almost over and most of the spectators had gone home. This athlete’s story, however, was still being played out.

Limping into the arena, the Tanzanian runner grimaced with every step, his knee bleeding and bandaged from an earlier fall. His ragged appearance immediately caught the attention of the remaining crowd, who cheered him on to the finish line.

Why did he stay in the race? What made him endure his injuries to the end? When asked these questions later, he replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it.”

Likewise, we as Christians are to finish the race of life. Although we will stumble and endure many hardships, we must get back on our feet and continue running the race. We must make it to the finish line so that we may receive the crown of life.

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Posted by on July 11, 2022 in cross


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