This Easter weekend as I have been preparing for our Good Friday worship time I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on these three words of Jesus that were spoken from the cross just before he gave up his spirit and died (John 19:30). Personally, I have always found these words especially meaningful and significant. It is such a simple and profound statement about the finished work of Christ.
When Jesus said this he of course was referring to the fact that the ordeal of his betrayal, arrest, trials, abandonment by his friends, flogging and crucifixion were over. It was finished. At the same time, he was saying so much more than that.
This year as I have been reflecting on this phrase I have been particularly interested in the fact that some say the word we translate as “it is finished” can also be translated as “the debt is paid in full.” When Jesus gave himself on the cross he fully met the demands of the law and paid our debt in full. Jesus, who was guilty of no sin, became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
It reminds me of a verse of an old hymn:
“My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
It is such a good reminder for me that the debt has been paid in full. The whole of my sin has been nailed to the cross. There is nothing I can do to deserve it or earn this free gift of God. And there is incredible freedom when I live and serve in light of this reality and stop trying to.
So, some questions for us to think about:
1 – Are we living and serving in light of the reality that it is finished and our debt has been paid in full? Or are we somehow trying to earn God’s love and approval? I think we can slide into this quite unintentionally.
2 – Are our good works and love for our neighbours rooted in the love that we have for our saviour or again done in an effort to look good and earn points?
3 – How are you communicating to students or friends or neighbours that you have influence with that it is finished? Do we emphasize the finished work of Jesus or instead stress (even unintentionally) a list of rules to follow in order to be acceptable.
This Easter (and always), may we live and serve in light of the reality that it is finished. And may we communicate and share this reality well in our neighbourhoods wherever we have opportunity – with friends, family members, neighbours, coworkers, that youth group or Sunday School class.
It is finished.
– Adrian (@AdrianDGardner)