"It Is Finished"
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.
When He had received the drink, Jesus said: "It is finished."
With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The four Gospels of Matthew. Mark, Luke, and John render somewhat different accounts of what happened to Jesus at the Cross and what conversations were recorded there.
The Death of Jesus
According to Matthew 27:45-50.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. At about the ninth hour Jesus cries out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up his spirit.
According to Mark 15:33-37.
At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, He's calling Elijah."
One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
According to Luke 23:44-46.
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When He had said this, He breathed his last.
"It is finished." John 17:30.
John's Gospel is the only Gospel where Jesus' voice emits the words: "It is finished." Matthew and Mark are identical in Jesus' question to His Father; Luke's Gospel is different than the other three. It seems to be appropriate then to ask the question: "What exactly is finished?" Are we told what it is? Are there places in Scripture that give us a clue, or better yet, give us the answer to the question? Perhaps asking more questions would be helpful.
In Jesus' own words, what was finished when He said "It is finished?"
Did Jesus' death on the Cross:
- complete the plan of salvation?
- complete God's will and His work?
- satisfy the required sacrifice for sin?
- mean mankind is fully reconciled to God?
- demonstrate God's wrath against mankind?
- mean He absorbed the punishment we deserve?
- mean His mission of revealing His Father was over?
- reveal the final demonstration of what God was like?
- fulfil all prophecy connected with Jesus, the Messiah?
- mean Satan had been clearly revealed and defeated?
- prove that Jesus won the "War in Heaven?" (Rev. 12:7).
- prove that Freedom of Choice is the foundation of God's government?
Just previous to Jesus saying "It is finished," Jesus "knew that all was now completed." (vs. 28). What was now completed? Does a "yes" answer to all of the above questions signify completion?
Jesus talked with the Woman at the Well and with the Disciples. (John 4:33-38).
Then His disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought Him food?" "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying, 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
Life through the Son. (John 5:16-18).
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted Him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making himself equal with God.
Testimonies About Jesus. (John 5:36).
I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.
Jesus the Way to the Father. (John 14:8-10).
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you for such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work."
The World Hates the Disciples. (John 15:20-24).
Remember the words I spoke to you. 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason'."
Jesus Prays. (John 17:1-6; 25, 26).
"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give Eternal Life to all those you have given Him. Now this is Eternal Life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on Earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world."
"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and that I myself may be in them."
Perhaps the listing of the questions and answers quoted above settle the issue of what exactly has been finished, but then when Jesus ends His prayer of John 17, He ends with the words: "Righteous Father,...I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known..." That statement seems to indicate that there is more to come, that there will be a continuance of "making God known," that this procedure will never end.
The Death of Jesus on the Cross
was the demonstration that proved Jesus won the "War in Heaven,"
that proved Freedom of Choice is the foundation of God's government,
but that there still remains the task of "making God known" here at the end.
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