In his final hours on the cross, Jesus spoke his “Last Seven Words.” Not simple words, but phrases rich and deep with meaning for those who proclaim him “Jesus, Savior, Redeemer and Lord.” We continue our exploration of these extraordinary words of our Lord.
The Sixth Word: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
Still conscious after 6 hours on the cross, Jesus still has the strength to speak. According to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, he said them in a loud voice. These three words, “it is finished”, are packed with meaning. Jesus’ physical suffering has come to an end. No more pain, no more ridicule. No more feeling abandoned. No thirst. No more worry about his beloved mother, Mary. His physical life was over.
But for those who believe Jesus is Savior and Lord, “it is finished” means more – so much more. It reflects the end of Jesus’ earthly mission. He had fulfilled the mission given to him by God, the Father. No longer did God’s children have to wait for a Savior – Jesus had come into the world as God incarnate to fulfill God’s law and ancient prophesies of who and what the Messiah would be.
Jesus’ ushered in the Kingdom of God. In him, the unconditional grace, mercy and love that flows from God was revealed. Jesus brought light into a world full of darkness. He taught us to love one another – to care for the sick, the blind, the lame, to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters, to seek the lost, rejoice in good times and bad, to trust in him to provide for our needs, to seek him when we need shelter from the storm, to welcome the stranger, to care for the widowed and orphaned, to live in peace with joy. These lessons in justice and mercy aid us as we live in a dark, broken, sin-filled world.
But the greatest thing Jesus accomplished on the Cross was our complete, unadulterated forgiveness for our transgressions. His suffering completed God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation for the original sin that taints each and every one of us and the whole of God’s creation. Our debt is paid in full. He did for us on the Cross what we could never do for ourselves – “earn” our way into eternal life. Because he died on the Cross of Calvary, once we leave this life we will enter eternal life with our glorious Triune God. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. For this, I will forever praise him!
When the morning comes on the farthest hill
I will sing His name, I will praise Him, still.
When dark trials come and my heart is filled
With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him, still.
For the Lord, our God, He is strong to save
From the arms of death, from the deepest grave,
And He gave us life in His perfect will,
And by His good grace, I will praise Him, still.
“I Will Praise Him Still” – words and music by Fernando Ortega
Praising His Holy Name,
Photo: “It is Finished” watercolor by James Tissot. Licensed under Creative Commons.