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It Is Finished


When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit  (John 19:30).


It is finished.  With these words, the promise of God to send one who would crush the head the serpent comes to pass.  With these words, salvation for the people of world has been secured.  With these words, the cross of shame becomes the glory of God revealed to us sinners to announce that sins are forgiven and death is overcome.  It is finished.  It is complete.  Nothing else is needed.  That is the essence of these words, words which have an enduring and eternal quality.  What Jesus accomplished on a hill outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago stands today, and will continue to make atonement for the sins of humanity until his return in glory on the Last Day.  It is finished means it is done forever.  Satan’s grip has been loosed in Jesus that we might be embraced in the arms of God’s mercy.


This is what we remember in our Good Friday observance.  True, the color of the day is black, and there is a somber mood.  But the cross of Christ stands as the symbol of love given to us sinners.  Jesus does for us what we could not do for ourselves.  The prefect, spotless Lamb of God sheds His blood that the filth and stain of sin would be removed from us.  Washed in His blood we are made clean and pure and righteous.  There is victory in the death of Jesus – sin and death are put to death on the cross.  For us, that means the greatest of all joys because the victory of Jesus is, in fact, our victory.


Known as the Fifth Evangelist, Johan Sebastian Bach wrote music for the church which stands as a lasting testimony to the work of Christ for our salvation.  In his great work, The Passion of St. John, Bach wonderfully ties together the events of Jesus’ last days, announcing boldly what His work means for us.  In his musical commentary on the above verse, he writes:


It is fulfilled! O hope for ev'ry ailing spirit! The night of grief Is now its final hours counting. The man of Judah wins with might And ends the fight. It is fulfilled! 

     

It is fulfilled!  It is finished!  What joy is found in these words from Christ.  All of creation which had been aching, yearning, longing for God’s salvation now see the hours of sin’s reign fleeting.  The fight is now over.  The battle is won.  Whenever we find ourselves stuck in a situation or a dilemma where we see the utter ruins that sin has made of us, we would do well to remember these words of our Lord.  It is finished.  The work for your salvation is complete and now nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.  You have been rescued, and your life is now hidden with God in Christ.  This is God’s eternal promise to us.  He will bring us out of this veil of tears into the glory of eternal peace and rest.  As we journey through this Holy Week, may the completeness and all-sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice fill you with joy.  Nothing more is needed.  Christ has done it all for you.  It is finished!  Hear again from Bach in his St. John’s Passion as Jesus is laid into the tomb:


Rest well, ye holy bones and members, Which I henceforth shall never weep for, Rest well and bring me, too, to rest!  The tomb which for you is assigned, And henceforth no distress will hold, Doth open heav'n to me and shut the gates of hell.


We pray: Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Rev. Brian Noack

LWML Atlantic District Pastoral Counselor

Pastor, Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church - Sayville, NY


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