By Dr. Arul Anketell
IT IS FINISHED
I intend to write as clearly as God will guide me to explain the meaning of this proclamation. And I write this to my fellow countrymen in Sri Lanka regardless of race, religion or reputation.
Jesus hung on the cross for six hours from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. This is made clear by a careful reading of all four Gospels. During this period seven words or sentences came forth from His lips. The first three hours it was daylight and He spoke three times.
Father forgive them for they know not what they do. It seems that He spoke this over and over again to His enemies and those who were jeering at Him.
Woman behold your son. - Son behold your mother. Even in His death He remembered His earthly mother Mary and handed her over to His beloved disciple John.
To the thief on the cross He said, Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Immediately after this it became dark over the whole earth. Even Sri Lanka became dark at 12 noon. This darkness lasted three hours and was characterized by silence.
Towards the end of this period Jesus cried out in anguish, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? It was during these three hours that Jesus took on Him the sin and guilt of all mankind. Godís wrath without mercy and just punishment for sin was poured on Jesus. He was literally forsaken by God.
Then it slowly began to be light again and Jesus spoke his fifth word from the cross I thirst. After this summoning all the strength He could muster, Jesus cried in a loud voice, IT IS FINISHED, finally He said, Father into your hands I commit my spirit and gave Himself to death.
We must also remember that as Jesus died, mighty power was released. There was an earthquake and the rocks split apart. The veil of the temple tore apart from top to bottom. The dead saints rose up after the resurrection of Jesus and walked the streets of Jerusalem, and the hardened Roman centurion for whom crucifixion was a routine duty expressed in awe, Truly this man is the son of God. I have explained all this so we can keep in context the cry, It is finished.
What does this sixth word from the cross mean to Jesus and to us? This cry from the cross was a:
A sigh of relief;
A word of victory;
A message to His Father;
A proclamation to men;
Yes, it was all this and more. But most of all it was an emancipation proclamation from Jesus of victory and accomplishment. It was a declaration of freedom to mankind. Nothing greater has been accomplished in History. There have been great conquerors and conquests. There have been great achievements, great masterpieces, great breakthroughs in science, in art, in philosophy in sports etc. But no conquest, achievement, masterpiece or breakthrough can match this. They all pale into insignificance, next to the accomplishment at the cross.
Mankindís greatest problems are sin and self. Mankindís greatest enemies are Death and Satan. And in one master - stroke at the cross, and with economy of action, Jesus dealt with all four of them at the cross. The word finished really means accomplished or done! So we could translate the words as follows:
It was finished and as a result, is forever done!
It stands finished.
Or it could be expressed in one word, DONE! ACCOMPLISHED!
Nothing can be added to this.
Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And the primary word in Christianity is not ëDOí but DONE! In fact in the Greek original of the New Testament, it is one word.
God the father ratified this by raising Jesus Christ from the dead. So He is ALIVE TODAY. We serve a RISEN Savior.
Can we now consider the word IT. What was it that was finished? Here are some of the accomplishments at the cross.
The Redemption of Mankind
Isaiah in his profound prophecy of the cross, written 700 years before Christ, says,
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Redemption means deliverance bought at a prize. A ransom had to be paid. And with His precious blood, HE, Jesus has delivered us from sin, the guilt and penalty of sin.
For God so loved the world that
He gave His one and only Son,
That who ever believes in Him shall not perish
But have eternal life. .
His sufferings were finished
Jesus was called a man of sorrows. He suffered much but the agony on the cross is something we will never understand. It was not just the physical suffering. The sinless Son of God was made sin for us and endured Godís wrath for the collective sin of all mankind. It was the torment of the penalty of the accumulated sin of all men. It was the suffering of the full punishment of all the guilt of all time. It was the combined hells of all who have offended God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
2 Corinth 5/21
How much we owe to Jesus our Lord and to God the Father who planned this for us. He suffered for us and our sins.
All the Old testament types and offerings and prophecies were fulfilled in HIM
The Old Testament is a book of unexplained ceremonies, unachieved purposes, unfulfilled prophecies, and unappeased longings without Christ on the cross. The Old Testament priests sacrificed thousands and thousands of animals at the altars. And the priests never sat down inside the temple. But Praise be to God, we read in God's word;
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties;
again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,
He sat down at the right hand of God.
He sat down! He had fulfilled the Old testament types perfectly.
The conquest of Sin and Death and Satan
Satan, our archenemy was defeated at the cross. When he crucified the innocent Son of God, he became guilty in the Divine courts of Justice. The Bible says;
Since the children have flesh and blood,
He (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him (Satan) who holds the power of death;
and free those (mankind) who all their lives were in slavery by their fear of death.
Also after the resurrection of Jesus, Death has lost its sting and power. Death, our last enemy becomes like sleep and a vehicle to transport us to Godís eternal kingdom.
Our Response to the cross
This then is the good news of the gospel. There is nothing to do. We must come to Jesus, as bankrupt sinners and repent and receive this wonderful gift of salvation from this wonderful Savior.
He is our Salvation. Religion cannot save us. We are told that our righteousness is like filthy rags in Godís sight. Rituals cannot save us. Renunciation of earthly desires cannot save us. Our Redeemer Jesus, who died and rose again from the dead and is now seated at Godís right hand, invites us to come to HIM. He once spoke these comforting words;
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
You will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The prophet Isaiah, God's spokesman issued this invitation from God to all mankind;
Come , all you who are thirsty, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me,(God) and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare
The Bible ends with an invitation from the Holy Spirit, to all those who long for inner peace and freedom;
The Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come!
Whoever is thirsty, let him come;
And who ever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
One of the two thieves hanging next to Jesus, pleaded for the Lord to remember him.
Lord remember me when you come in to your kingdom
Jesus reassured him with these words,
I tell you the truth,
Today you will be with me in paradise.
Jesus is the sinner's God. This thief at the cross is even today celebrating the salvation of God. The writer of this article has also tasted the preciousness of this salvation. Can I join the Holy Spirit and invite you to come to this Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ!
We conclude this article with an exhortation to all readers in the words of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Jesus;
Behold the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ)
that takes away the sin of this world
LOOK and LIVE!
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