The Lenten season is with us once again, that blessed time wherein we commemorate in a special way the vicarious sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Can you think about these things without thinking instantly of those wonderful Seven Words which our Savior uttered while on the cross? They are divided into groups of three and four. The first were uttered before that Stygian darkness that enveloped Golgotha from noon till three o’clock; the last four were spoken in rapid succession, almost as one, just moments before He died. The first concerned others, them of His own who did Him the violence and nailed Him to the cross, the penitent malefactor who found his soul’s salvation on the very brink of death, His mother and the disciple whom He loved; the last four concerned only Himself, His agony of soul, His physical suffering, His finished work and His voluntary death. And can you think of these wonderful Cross words without being reminded, particularly, of that majestic shout of complete triumph: “Finished”?
“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” THOU-ME- FORSAKEN-WHY? – MY GOD! That was the most terrible of them all, the middle one of the seven, uttered in the darkest moment of the darkest hour the world has ever known. That was the moment, if we may point to one moment infinitely worse than any other, when Jesus reached the bottom of hell, endured in all its intensity the frightful agonies of the damned. That is the word, more than any other, that reminds us of those well-known lines:
“None of the ransomed ever knew,
How deep were the waters crossed,
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that were lost.”
However, with that fourth crossword His sufferings had been borne, His redemptive work accomplished, and the word may follow which heads this article. Holding the cup upside down, as it were, to show that not one drop remained, he cried with a loud voice: FINISHED!
It was a cry of complete victory! Of relief too, no doubt, that the hellish agony was over at last, buy especially of triumph. He cried with a loud voice! That was not the whisper of one defeated; it was the shout of the Conqueror.
It was also a word of most extensive significance for Himself and His own. A very short crossword, this sixth one- just one word in the Greek. Yet a word that embraces all – all His labors – all His sufferings – the whole counsel of the Father – the entire history of the world – the complete redemption of His church – past, present and future – time and eternity.
“Finished!” What was finished? The translation says: “It.” That’s quite indefinite; in a way it says nothing. Still, for that very reason it says so much. How could this utterance possibly be pinned down to any one thing: Everything was finished that Christ came to do. The Father is satisfied; the law fulfilled; perfect obedience rendered; sin crucified forever! The ransom is paid; sin expiated; the sacrifice brought; the battle fought; victory achieved; curse and death removed; Satan dethroned; wrath appeased; redemption assured! Is there still more? That, too, must be included. It is the announcement that a great, world-saving task is now accomplished. Eternal righteousness merited; the enemy crushed; the snare broken and we are escaped. Could any word by more pleasing to the Father, sweeter to the angels, more blessed for God’s elect, or more terrible for the devil and the wicked?
“Finished!” Just what is the meaning? The end? I cannot go on? It’s all over now? Germany and Japan were also finished. Is that what Jesus means? Of course not! “Finished” means: completed, fulfilled, accomplished. He carried out the mandate of the Father in every detail. No loose ends were left; no unfinished tasks dropped from His hands to be completed by others. That does not mean that nothing more remained to be done. He still must die, be buried, arise, ascent and sit on the right hand of the Father. He still must gather His church, protest and preserve, sanctify, and glorify her. He still must come again, judge all creatures, and create the new heaven and the new earth. But, the foundation is laid, all is merited, atonement and victory area accomplished, and we can now way: “When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His son.” Wherefore: “being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Heaven, for all His own, will never be more certain than it is now.
Now read the context of this 19th verse of John: “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished….” All things!
Mission performed! That’s the meaning. Accomplished was the entire counsel of God concerning the work of redemption! Accomplished all the types, shadows, symbols, offices, prophesies of the Old Dispensation! Accomplished His preaching, His miracles, His active obedience to the law, not the least the bearing of the amazing wrath of God! Accomplished our atonement, reconciliation, justification, salvation, heaven! Indeed, mission accomplished!
Isn’t it wonderful? Doesn’t that necessarily imply all that follows in the way of salvation? Doesn’t it mean, that the same mighty power and grace that accomplished all this in the fullness of time will also finish the work IN us; that also the application of salvation must be just as unconditional and unquestionable; and that nothing could be more unthinkable than that our might Conqueror and Deliverer would now say: I finished my part, salvation is ready and waiting for you; now it is for you to accept it and be saved, or reject it, and be lost?
“Finished!” Was ever a shout of triumph more warranted? The victory is ours! The crown of life is ready for us! All glory to His might grace!
“This is all my hope and peace-
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness, –
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 2 March 1959