John 19:30 (ESV)
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
I can think of three different meanings to “it is finished.” In one sense it communicates a sense of resignation and negativity. Your career is finished, your money is finished, your family is finished and you might think you are finished. The world we live encourages negativity and self-pity. ‘It is finished’ is the acceptance of defeat.
Then there is the perspective of Jesus’ enemies. They were happy that Jesus was finished. They put him on a cross and expected to put an end to his life, his teachings and his movement. But they were wrong. In history on several occasions there have been attempts to finish Christians and Christianity. But Christians have survived. I am still here and you are there reading this devotion.
Then there is a positive “It is finished.” Ah, what relief those three words bring to us especially at the end of any project, a sickness, a court case or a Ph.D., dissertation. When Jesus says, “It is finished,” he means he has fulfilled his mission. It is a proclamation of completion. Jesus’ ministry began with the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It ends with Jesus’ confident proclamation, that the work that he had come to do is finished. He had submitted his will to the father from the beginning to the end.
In his high priestly prayer Jesus prays, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made (John 17:4-5). The cross was Christs act of obedience.
The cross is not the demand of a blood thirsty God rather it is an act of a merciful God. Imagine us humans in a pit unable to get out. Then imagine God as a loving parent entering that pit, clearing all the filth and dragging us out. Jesus enters the system, purifies it from within and redeems us.
Dear Lord, we pray that You would take our negativity and change it to positivity. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.