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What Jesus really meant when He said, 'It is finished'

It is finished
It is finished

Jesus had a way with words. People were astonished whenever He spoke. Everything He said had a deeper meaning than some people could comprehend. When He talked, people were amazed and were left spellbound. Jesus made one short simple statement on the cross that people have been debating for years.

As Jesus was preparing to give His life a ransom for sin, He made this simple statement, "It is finished!" according to John 19:30. These words stand among some of the greatest words Jesus spoke during His time on earth. Actually, to say "It is finished" is a business expression.

When you have completed a task for someone, you might say, "It is finished." When an artist has put the final touches on a painting for a client, he might say, "It is finished." When a merchant has struck a deal with someone and all the negotiations have ended, he might say, "It is finished." This means that both parties are satisfied. "It is finished" also can be likened to "Paid in full" being stamped on a bill you have been paying on. Think of paying on a car for three or more years, and finally the dealer stamps "Paid in full" on your invoice.

Up until the time of Jesus' death, a complicated system of sacrifices of animals had to be atonement for sins. Jesus became the final and ultimate sacrifice. Jesus came to finish God's work of salvation, to pay the full penalty for our sins. With His death, the complex sacrificial system ended because Jesus took all sin upon Himself.

When Jesus said, "It is finished" it was an indication of a great victory. When Jesus said these three little words, He was telling the world that something great had been accomplished. He was telling His Father He had done what God sent Him to earth to do. Things were forever settled with God the day Jesus died on the cross.

The pain of redemption was finished. Notice Jesus made this statement just before He died instead of when He was first hung on the cross. It was after He had been scourged, beaten, spit upon, mocked, striped naked, nailed to the cross, and beard plucked out. It was only at that the pain was over and Jesus could say, "It is finished" all of it.

There was severe pain, cruel shame, but perhaps the greatest agony Jesus suffered while on the cross was when He was separated from His Father, according to Matthew 27:46. This was greatest agony that Jesus was forced to endure because while He was on that cross for the first time ever, there was a gulf between Him and His Father. Jesus literally experienced every man's death and every man's hell while on the cross, according to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9. However, the debt was settled and both parties were satisfied.

The plan of redemption was finished. When Jesus reached the end of His ministry on the cross, He was finishing a work that had begun before the world was ever formed, according to Revelation 13:8. From the beginning of time, God had always planned to send His Son to die for sinners. Everything God did pointed to this day when Jesus would lay down His life on the cross. Jesus had carried out the plan of redemption for His Father. Therefore, He could say, "It is finished."

The payment of redemption was finished. When Jesus said, "It is finished," it meant that God the Father in Heaven was satisfied with what God the Son had done on the cross. God accepted His Son's death and shed blood as the perfect payment for our sins, according to Isaiah 53:11.

The words "It is finished" take on a deeper meaning when we realize the emphasis is on redemption and the debt being settled between God and Jesus. It was a cry of victory and not a cry of defeat.

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