After Jesus had taken the vinegar, He said, “It is finished!” Then He bowed His head and died. – John 19:30
One of the last things Jesus said from the Cross before His death was, “It is finished.” These words could have at least two meanings. Let us try to understand them by using the same words in different situations.
Think of a bowl of pudding. Someone has already partly made it from the ingredients needed, but it is not quite done yet. When you add some whipped cream, then some nuts on top, now you can say, “It is finished.” That means that the pudding is completed. All the work is done, and the pudding is ready to be eaten. That is one meaning of “It is finished.”
Now think about eating the pudding. After you have finished eating the last spoonful of pudding, you can say, “It is finished.” That would mean that the pudding is gone. It is all eaten. That is another meaning of “It is finished.”
Which of those two thoughts did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”? Those who heard Him say it probably thought that He meant the second meaning. It is finished. His life was over. His teachings had ended. His friendships were gone. His miracles had ceased. Like the pudding, He appeared to be “all gone”. It could have looked that way to those who were there on that Good Friday.
But it has never looked that way on a Good Friday since then. We know what happened 3 days later. He knew that His life was not finished. His friendships had not ended. His teaching was not stopped. His miracles had not ceased.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He was speaking of a job that He had completed. It was a job that started in the Garden of Eden many centuries before, when the first man and first woman committed the first sin. From that time on, human beings had one big job to do. They had to get back to God. They had to rid themselves of their own guilt. Human beings worked in many ways to complete such a task. But they could not do it.
Then Jesus came, as God had promised He would. By becoming a man He took the burden of our sin upon His shoulders. The burden crushed Him down into death. But He took the burden from all others. As He died, He felt the burden upon Himself, but He also felt the burden being removed from all others. And He said, “It is finished.” Salvation is complete. Human beings and God are reunited in Jesus Christ.
Some people still want to work on the job of their own salvation. They still try to work their own way back to God. They do it by leaving Jesus out or by using Him only as a teacher who tells us how to save ourselves. But He is more than a teacher. He is the Savior. He accepted the job of saving human beings. And He says the job is finished!
– Reverend Joel Holls