1997-04-03 - "It is Finished!"
John 19:28-30 - After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. (NAS)
This is the moment in time and human history that is the watershed. It is the dividing instant that fractured the death grip that the enemy had on this world and each of us. It is the second that defined a new path for God to have fellowship with mankind after ages of separation. It created an opportunity for us to be transformed from goats, into sheep. It is the battle cry of the saint who looks forward to meeting his Messiah, and most confounds those who can not see past Jesus' death.
The day before 250,000 lambs had been sacrificed on the Temple Mount. The blood sacrifices, covering the sins of the people for the previous year were made. So much blood would flow that the side of the hill facing the Kidron Valley would be covered in blood. It was feared as a health hazard by the Romans. So, Herod built and aqueduct specifically to pour water down the side of the hill and wash away the blood. It strikes me that the world would want to remove this potent reminder of the horrible price that sin demands. It is no different today where sin is winked at and or even accepted within our society. Men and women toy with drugs and sex like it was candy. This candy leaves them empty and hungry for more, more of something to fill the aching hole in their hearts and lives. The sin takes its toll on body, mind and spirit. The price will be paid in one form or another.
Another interesting thought is that the Garden of Gethsemane was on the other side of the Kidron Valley. Jesus and His disciples would have had to cross a pink tinted stream to get over to the garden where Jesus would pray and sweat blood in His pleading with the Father. A reminder of the blood of all those lambs and the Passover. Did Jesus think, "Tomorrow it will be My blood spilt."? They would have to cross it on the way back with Jesus allowing Himself to be lead by the soldiers. The same soldiers He had recently tumbled like bowling pins at the mention of His mighty name, "I AM.".
It is now the following day. The hour was three o'clock in the afternoon. It was the time of the afternoon sacrifice. The lamb had been slain and the priest would climb to a high point on the Temple and sound the shoffar. A rams horn trumpet blast that would sound to the people that the sacrifice had been made. Jesus, who had earlier declined the sour wine, now asks for a drink to clear His tortured throat and peal His tongue from the roof of His mouth. He had refused earlier so that His faculties would not be impaired. He had to drink the cup of the wrath of the Father to the dregs. He did it for you and for me. I believe that He wanted a clear mind to know unabated the suffering and penalty that each of us deserved. Why? He took it, so that we could be restored to fellowship with Him. Simply put, He loves us. He created us in the ages past, and still longed for fellowship with us. That was the original purpose for our creation. And now, as the people expect to hear a trumpet ring out, they hear something else. They hear Jesus, not defeated, but sounding the victory of the ages. "It is finished!" The word literally means "Paid in full". Our debt to the Father was forever paid, once and for all by the sinless blood of the Lamb of God.
The following Sunday, the victory which was never in doubt, was realized as an earthquake rolled back the stone from the tomb to reveal the Jesus was gone. Poor Mary Magdalene could not make the leap of logic to that fact that Jesus had risen from the dead. Her vision blurred with tears, she addressed Jesus thinking He was the gardener who must have taken her Lord's body away. "Where have you taken Him?", she pleaded. Her weary heart had been finally crushed by this last indignity. Until that moment that she heard His voice, so full of love and compassion say, "Mary …" Hope and life must have flowed back into her heart so quickly that it caught her breath in her throat. Everything Jesus had promised her had been taken away at His death, and given back forever in this moment of her victory. The Resurrection had been accomplished and the grave and death had been rendered powerless in a single stroke.
Do you know this victory? If you do, you look forward to the day when we will all meet Jesus face to face. All the trails and suffering of this lifetime will melt away into nothing with the first look into the face of Him who gave His all and paid our way. If you do not, it is available to you. It is as simple as crossing that blood tinted stream in the Kidron Valley. All that you have to do is admit that you are not perfect, that you have sinned. Ask Jesus to forgive you. He has promised never to turn away anyone who asks with a sincere heart. (John 6:37, see below). Ask Him to come into your life and be your Savior and Lord.
If you have asked Jesus to do this, would you please write us and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org? We would like to be able to share your moment of victory with you. We would also like to try to help you find a church, a fellowship of other believers in Jesus Christ who can help you with your new decision and faith. We would like to help you in any way we can.
John 6:37 - "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (NAS)
How complete is Jesus' victory? One day soon, Jesus will return to take those who have accepted His offer of salvation home to be with Him forever.
1 Cor 15:51-58 - Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (NAS)
The chorus from "It is Finished", by Bill and Gloria Gather and sung by the Bill Gather Trio
It is finished, the battle is over.
Lord Jesus, we know that you reach out to the hurting hearts and lives of this world. You offer an exchange. Our broken, stained and imperfect lives, for your spotless life. Reach out to those who are willing to stop fighting the battle themselves and accept Your victory as their own. Help us to learn more about this amazing love You have for us. Amen.