It is Finished
Today is called “Good Friday.” The word “good” here comes from the Old English word associated with “holy.” This day commemorates Christ’s death on the cross.
1. Recognize the context: Historical and literary context-
In chapter 19, John recorded Jesus’ infamous exchange with Pilate. The result, Jesus was sentenced to death. John identified those present at the crucifixion, with attention focused on Jesus' mother and "the disciple whom Jesus loved." As he hung on the cross, Jesus commissioned Mary and John to care for one another using familial terms.
2. Read the Scripture: John 19:28-30
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
Jesus’ crucifixion and the events surrounding it were to bring about the fulfillment of Scripture. Even dying on the cross, Jesus was well aware of this fact. Therefore, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” Here Jesus quoted from Psalm 69:21, a Psalm of suffering. The soldier nearby responded and gave him a drink and, in doing so, completed the idea from Psalm 69.
After this, Jesus declared, “It is finished.” This one word in the Greek text is a verb in the perfect tense, which identifies action with continuing present tense results.
Concerning this word (statement) from Jesus, the author William E. Klink writes, “This is no cry of defeat or mere announcement of imminent death; it is an announcement of victory! Even more, it is the announcement of “the victory of the victim.” In this moment of suffering and despair, God in the person of Jesus Christ declares victory over the forces of sin and death—a victory secured not in spite of but by means of the cross. With this word the Word speaks forth a new creation (1:3), and the light shines forth in the darkness (1:5). For this one word summarizes the “good news” of the gospel and reveals the constant foundation of the Christian faith.”
After this, Jesus gave up his spirit. Dying on the cross, Jesus was in total control and had willingly completed his Father's mission.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully reflect on this scene at the cross.
Today, prayerfully consider the significance of Jesus’ words, “It is finished.”
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, how do you need to respond today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, and co-workers.