Sunday 25th March 2018
Traditionally this is Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus entered Jerusalem to the adulation of the crowd. As we have been working through John’s gospel we passed that point weeks ago and we find ourselves today at the crucifixion of Jesus. We could have talked about Pilate, the dilemma he faced and his moral weakness. We could have thought about the Jewish leaders and the crowd. We could have thought about the interaction of Jesus, Mary and John. We could have talked about Joseph of Arimathea, the secret disciple. There is a lot in this chapter today.
What I want to think about is a phrase that only John records. The bible records seven things that Jesus said from the cross, but only John records, “It is finished.”
It is likely that it was John who was with Peter and Jesus when Jesus was on trial. He certainly was there with Mary, and close enough to hear Jesus’ words. He saw that Jesus' legs were not broken, but that his side was pierced instead.
Have you ever been “put out” or exasperated that you weren’t treated better in a situation? You got the ‘raw’ end of the deal?
There was a boy who felt like that. 8 year-old Tommy misbehaved badly and was sent to his room with no TV and no dessert.
As he said his evening prayers, he said, “Dear God, please don’t let Daddy & Mommy have any more children. They don’t know how to treat the one they’ve already got!”
I think it is reasonable to suggest that Jesus got the raw end of the deal.
John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”
These are important words and what I want us to realise is that His ‘finishing’ was just the ‘beginning’ for you and Me.
WHAT “IT IS FINISHED” MEANT
JESUS’ O.T. WORK
Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was not an afterthought with God.
The Bible tells us the Jesus is the “Lamb slain from the foundations of the world” Rev. 13:8.
Those who would be redeemed were chosen and prepared for from the beginning of the universe (Mt. 25:34; Eph. 1:4).
Jesus could not come until the time was right, but He wasn’t idle.
WHO WAS IT WHO:
a. Appeared to Hagar (Gen. 16:7-14) in desert
b. Wrestled with Jacob, Gen. 31:11-13;
c. Appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Ex. 3:2-5;
e. Strove with Abraham over Sodom/Lot, Gen. 18:2-13;
f. With 3 Hebrews in the fiery furnace, Dan. 3;
g. Spoke to Elijah at Mt. Horeb, 1 Kgs. 19:5-7;
THEY WERE PREINCARNATE MANIFESTATIONS OF JESUS CHRIST! He was busy preparing the nation of Israel for His coming!
THE N.T. WORK OF JESUS 1. Gal. 4:4 says, “When the time had fully come, God sent His Son….”
When the stage was set, then came the great day of Incarnation, then His life and ministry were revealed.
At last, Jesus hung on a Cross. His life ebbed away. He saw His end was near and His work for eternity was complete, so he cried, “It is finished!”
His body had been beaten for our sins although His life had been lived without sin. The Father had laid the sins of the world on Him on the cross. He was surrendering to the death penalty, dying for our sins. His work of 1,000’s of years was finished.
At last, He could cry – concerning man’s redemption – “It is finished!” This phrase is only one word in Greek, “tetelestai.” This word was often stamped on ancient tax documents and its meaning was “Paid in full!” He had finished the work of redemption.
Jesus disarmed the devil
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” Col. 2:15.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He also meant it was finished for the devil!
Col. 2:15 clearly describes Jesus’ victory over the devil through/ by His Cross. The thing which seemed to disarm Jesus became the instrument of triumph, like the old jawbone Samson used to kill a 1,000 Philistines.
Jesus has not only redeemed us, he’s disarmed the principalities and powers! 1 Cor. 2:7-8 says, 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
So, what we see is that
1. The MALICE of his enemies was finished.
By nailing him to the cross, they had done their best to do their worst. They wanted Him punished. They wanted Him killed. They got their wish. There was nothing more they could do to the Son of God. It was finished.
2. The SUFFERING of Christ was finished.
Heb 12:2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
He is going to a place where there will be no more pain or sorrow – all the tears will be wiped away. The suffering of Christ was about to be finished.
3. Old Testament PROPHECIES were fulfilled.
Matthew Henry lists a number of examples—He had been given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21), He had been sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), His hands and feet had been pierced (Psalm 22:16), and His side was pierced (Zechariah 12:10). There are many other prophecies surrounding His death. All those had been or very soon would be fulfilled.
4. The CEREMONIAL LAW was abolished.
All the Old Testament rules concerning animal sacrifices are set aside. All the rules and regulations concerning the priesthood are fulfilled since the Great High Priest has now laid down His life for His people. Those laws pointed to the cross. But once Jesus died, they were no longer needed. The Mosaic economy is dissolved, to make way for a better hope. The
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. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
5. His EARTHLY LIFE was now finished.
When Jesus cried out “It is finished,” He had only a few seconds to live. All that He had come to do had been fully accomplished. His life and his mission on earth had come to an end at exactly the same moment.
Will He return to earth again? The answer is, "Yes!" He will not come as a suffering servant – but He will come as a judge – to judge the living and the dead. But at this point – His ministry on earth was finished.
6. The work of REDEMPTION was now finished.
This is undoubtedly the major meaning.
IT WAS JUST THE BEGIN…FOR ME
WHEN THE WORK OF JESUS WAS FINISHED, IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING FOR ME!
BEGINNING OF A NEW LIFE
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] the old has gone, the new is here!
We now have
a) a new Position in Christ,
b) a new Personality in Christ because we’re a new creature, and
c) a new Potential in Him. We’re part of the new creation that’s coming
Also, we get NEW LIVES FOR OLD! It’s the very essence of the Gospel, we don’t get an old patch-up job, but a brand new life.
Ephesians 2:1-10 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
You were dead in sin; you followed the world; you deserved death
Now – because of his mercy and the finished work of Jesus, you are made alive with Christ through grace; you are already raised up with Christ and have a place in heaven; you will see the incomparable riches of God’s grace.
Until that day we are given jobs to do which God has prepared for us.