When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
One short verse, three brief words (in the original Greek, one word), but what a wealth of meaning they contain! Notice first that Jesus gives up his spirit; he lays down his life; it is not taken from him, as he had previously told the Jews. And don’t miss that Jesus said he would not only lay down his life but would also take it up again, a strong hint of his resurrection still to come.
Also, Jesus’ cry wasn’t something like, whew, glad this is over. “When Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ he was not uttering a sigh of relief or a moan of resignation. Jesus was announcing and proclaiming victory.” (Philip Graham Ryken) Yes, Jesus knew that his burial, resurrection, and ascension had yet to occur, but they would happen, as surely as his incarnation, life on earth, and shortly his death had occurred. But he had finished paying the price for sin; he had offered full redemption.
The word that Jesus uttered was used to indicate that a debt had been paid in full, that no further payment was sought or necessary. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, that one sacrifice for sin makes perfect forever all those whom Jesus saves. If we try to add any human effort or accomplishment to Jesus’ sacrifice, “we have polluted the river whose streams whereof make glad the city of God. And the gravest perversion that it entails is that it robs the Redeemer of the glory of his once-for-all accomplishment.” (John Murray) Jesus paid it all. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Have you received the complete sacrifice for sin that Jesus made, and are you resting in him alone for salvation? Cease your efforts to save yourself, and with joy and gladness hear the dying Savior’s cry: It is finished!
“It is finished!” O what pleasure
do these precious words afford;
heav’nly blessings, without measure,
flow to us from Christ the Lord:
“It is finished!
It is finished!
It is finished!”
Saints the dying words record;
saints the dying words record. (Jonathan Evans)