By Peter Falconero
Thirst. His final physical longing. To satisfy His request,
someone offered Him a sip of sour wine via a saturated sponge on
the tip of a javelin. He drank. Then with all the gravity of
earth and hell on His beaten and broken shoulders, he spoke
these words divine,
"It is finished". We can imagine He uttered these words in a solemn whisper, as if it were a faint auditory high five to His father upstairs for a mission completed. His words being within earshot of only a few faithful disciples and maybe an expectant vulture perched on the horizontal plank of the cross.
Or. We can imagine He delivered a triumphant cry through a mouthful of blood and mangled teeth, exhausting every last electron of his vitality to jubilantly broadcast victory for His people. This emancipation proclamation forcefully slicing both the Golgotha air and the frayed chord that had briefly connected him to his life on earth.
"It is finished". This was no impotent declaration. We're told the earth shuddered and the rocks exploded. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The locked tombs of many holy people broke forth, resurrecting the bodies within. Not only were physically dead bodies brought back to life, but some of the spiritually dead found everlasting life, as evidenced when a Roman centurion witness publicly pronounced that "surely He was the Son of God". A man who a moment earlier likely took his turn delivering whips and quips was now bowing at the feet of his whipping boy. Grace has its irony.
"It is finished." The Lamb of God was slain and His blood washed the slate clean. No bull or goat or ram could do this. In fact, the tables at that moment eternally turned. The old covenant practice that was once thought to provide remittance for transgressions would become, in itself, a transgression, as it displayed a disbelief in the work Christ did on the cross. The final sacrifice was made, once and for all. Any further sacrifice done in the name of forgiveness of sins spits in the face of Christ on the cross. He did not labor in vain. Remember, the curtain of the holy of holies, where the blood of animal sacrifice was sprinkled, was torn in two. This was so that everyone might know that it is by the blood of Jesus that God forgives the children of Adam their sins and gives them the right to dwell in God's holy presence forever!
"It is finished". The words of the prophets throughout history have pointed to this moment. They now find their completion and fulfillment in Christ's death. His holy plan has come to fruition. God's work through Adam, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and so on has found its purpose in the final breath of God the man.
"It is finished". The price was infinitely high and paid in full at that instant. No one south of the throne of God could foot this bill. No person but the Lord God, the Creator and Redeemer, Yahweh Elohim, could bridge the chasm caused by the first act of human disobedience. The forbidden fruit proved fruitless in man's search for God-like omniscience. But the omniscient God proved all loving in His magnum opus of redemption.
Picture this. A painter after putting the final stroke on his finest masterpiece, takes a step back from the canvas, relishes in its beauty and says, "It is finished! I've had this design in my mind for months. It is perfect; I can do nothing else to make it any more perfect or any more complete." With that he puts down the brush. He signs his name and with it comes fame and glory from those who truly accept and stand in awe of the genius of his work. His admirers not only take pleasure in the final product, but also appreciate the process- the labor of love and the unwavering patience required to craft a painting of this magnitude.
I can see Jesus on the cross in that final moment, almost disembodying Himself to take a step back and have a look at the perfection displayed in this work, His greatest masterpiece. With blood the as ink, the final chapter of redemption was written. The final word of the chapter was "triumph". And the greatest act of love ever known to man has given us a hope previously unavailable. Let the taste of its significance be on your tongue for the rest of your life.
Pray that you finish your race triumphantly. That when your eyes fall shut for the last time and you say, "It is finished!" it will be a cry of victory not a bemoaning of a life wasted. You will have a sense of completion and fulfillment that comes through a life of service at the feet of the One who came to serve. Ensure you can look back on what God has accomplished through your obedience to Him with the joy of the artist and to the glory of God. And with an elated boast for what Christ has accomplished through you, you can announce that, "It is finished!"
Peter Falconero is a resident of the US but currently teaching science in a private school on the other side of the world - in Chittagong, Bangladesh.