Sapphire Sky

December 13, 2015

It is Finished!

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 1:07 pm

paid-in-full

(Photo from preceptaustin)

 

In his book, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan tells of a man who was attached to a heavy burden. The man could not remove this burden and it grew heavier as his life wore on. Every time he disobeyed God, whether it be a wrong deed or a bad thought, made his burden heavier.

Then the man was brought to the cross. As he came to the cross, his burden fell off and rolled away, never to be seen again.

The story in an analogy of our lives. Every bad thought, every wrong action, builds for us a burden that we cannot bear. Our sins will consume us. Yet Jesus himself took all of our burdens at the cross. He took the guilt of all of our sins during three hours of darkness.

Jesus was arrested by his own countrymen and given to the Romans to be killed. The man who had no sin was subjected to unbearable shame, torture, and disgrace. He was then sentenced to die like a criminal between two robbers.

During the first three hours of his execution, Jesus forgave the soldiers who were dividing up his belongings. He forgave the robber next to him and promised him that he will be with Him in Paradise. He cared for His earthly family and left his mother in the care of his faithful disciple.

At noon, the sky became dark for three hours. No words were recorded during this time and Jesus was left in silence. But this was the bitterness of the cross. God the Father, who could not look on sin, turned away from his own son. There on the cross, Jesus took the penalty for all of our sins. All the sins of the past, all the sins of the present, and all the sins of the future.

The burden of sin was taken away.

Then, in the darkness, a cry broke the silence. It is the voice of Jesus crying out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” This was a direct quote, in the original Hebrew, from the ancient Psalm of the Messiah (Psalm 22:1). Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The people only paid attention to the first words, “Eli, Eli”, thinking that Jesus was calling out for Elijah. They believed the legend that Elijah would come down and rescue a righteous man. Therefore they believed that Jesus must be crying out for Elijah to come and help Him.

But His voice called out again, softer this time. His parched voice called out to the soldiers, “I am thirsty!” Jesus had one more thing to say and he needed all His voice to say it.

The soldiers took a sponge and dipped it into the sour wine that they had nearby. Putting the sponge at the end of a branch, they raised it to His lips so that he could drink it.

Summoning up all of His strength for his last words, Jesus shouted out, “It is finished!” It is done. The task is completed. The debt has been paid in full!

Then, with his last breath, Jesus said, “Father, if your hands I commit my spirit”. The scripture only says that he breathed his last.

Jesus Christ, the only perfect man who ever lived, now was dead.

But with his death, the burden was removed. Everything that we did against God has been paid for. We are no longer guilty.

The temple curtain was torn in half at the death of Jesus Christ. No longer are we separated from God. No longer do we need a priest to speak to God in our behalf. The curtain that separated the people from God has now been removed with the death of his son.

There was an earthquake at the death of Jesus and people came alive out of their tombs.  The same soldiers that put Jesus on the cross and divided up His clothes were terrified by the sight. Their centurion spoke for them all, echoing the sign over Jesus’ head, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

All that Jesus said and did on earth was concluded with the final statement, “It is finished!“

“In this word, ‘It is finished!’, will I comfort myself.  I am forced to confess that all my finishing of the will of God is imperfect, piecemeal work, while yet the law urges on me that no so much as one tittle of it must remain unaccomplished.  Christ is the end of the law.  What it requires, Christ has performed.” – Martin Luther

 

Colossians 2:13-15
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev’ry bitter thought,
Ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.  

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the vict’ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

– Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Previous post: The First Three Hours


John 19:28-30
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Matthew 27:45-56
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.


Mark 15:33-41
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.


Luke 23:44-49
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.


Matthew 27:45
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

Mark 15:33
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:44-45a
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed.

All three Gospel accounts tell that there were three hours of darkness, from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. Matthew, Mark, and Luke used Jewish time reckoning, so this indicates that it was dark from noon until 3:00 p.m.

Many scholars have heavily debated over what the darkness was like. We know that the darkness lasted for three hours, it was over the whole land, and the sun’s light failed. All other attempts to explain this darkness with more detail are only conjecture.

We do not know the extent of the darkness. The term, “the whole land”, could be used for the local region, the country, or the entire known world. There are some ancient accounts of a great darkness occurring across the entire earth. But there were also many mythical stories propagated during the Middle Ages, and we do not have enough of a confirmed account to know if these stories were really true.

We do not know the depth of the darkness. Some scholars have proposed that this was a deep, thick darkness, much like the darkness that covered Egypt during the plagues. Other scholars proposed that this was simply a dimming of the sun during this time. Whatever the conclusions, we know that people interacted and moved about during this darkness, so it did not inhibit people, yet it was also significant enough to be recorded in all three Gospel accounts.

There is no naturalistic explanation that could account for this darkness. It could not be a solar eclipse because the sun and the moon are the farthest apart during Passover (Passover is a full moon, see here). Luke’s account says specifically that the sun’s light failed, thereby eliminating the possibility that this was a giant dust storm.

Throughout Jewish history, God has used darkness to indicate his judgment on mankind (Isaiah 5:30, Jeremiah 13:16). God judged the Egyptians with darkness near the climax of the plagues, when He commanded them to release the Israelites (Exodus 10). The judgment of God at the end of the age will be marked by thick darkness (Joel 2:28-32; Amos 5:20).

But this was the complete judgment of God at this time. Jesus Christ, the only innocent man to ever live on the earth, took the judgement for all of humanity. He, who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The darkness covered the land for three hours as Jesus Christ was being judged for our sin.

“In those first three hours of darkness He was suffering at the hands of man: He endured without a murmur all the shame and ignominy that man could heap upon Him. But during the last three hours of darkness He was suffering at the hand of God – the God who made His soul an offering for sin.” – H.A. Ironside [3]

 

Matthew 27:46-47
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”

Mark 15:34-35
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”

Jesus said nothing during the three hours of darkness. At the end of this time, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “ My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This is a cry of anguish. God the Son has been separated from the Father. For the only time in his recorded life, Jesus does not refer to God as “Father”. God, who cannot look on sin, turned His back on His only Son (Habakkuk 1:13).

But it is also a cry of comfort. Jesus has taken solace in a familiar Psalm, which was known to be about the Messiah. He has already seen them gamble for his clothes. They have already pierced his hands and his feet, fulfilling many of the words spoken in Psalm 22. Jesus now identifies with the opening lines of the Psalm, and he recites it in his native Hebrew, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”  

There is a slight difference in the words between Matthew and Mark’s account. Matthew left the words written in Hebrew while Mark translated them to Aramaic.

Many of the bystanders did not understand what He was saying. Hearing the words, “Eli, Eli” in Hebrew, they expected that he was calling out for Elijah.  

Why did the people not understand him? The bystanders who ridiculed Jesus here were most likely the Romans and the common people. Even the Romans may have heard legends of Elijah. It was also a common superstition that Elijah would personally come and rescue a righteous man if he were being persecuted [6]. Therefore, they were challenging Jesus, saying that if he were really righteous, Elijah would indeed come and rescue him.

“When Jesus took our sins upon Himself and paid the price of death on our behalf, God, who is holy, could not sustain fellowship with His Son. The full, crushing weight of sin, He bore alone.” – Stephen Davey [4]

The intimate communion with God the Father is broken as Jesus takes on the sin of the world:

– from Stephen Davey [5]

 

John 19:28-29
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.

Matthew 27:48-49
And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

Mark 15:36
And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”

Only John’s Gospel account gives Jesus’ next statement. This is the only statement that Jesus made where he mentioned his own needs. He had one more thing to say, one more public pronouncement. The cross had left him severely dehydrated and Jesus gathered strength for one last statement. [10]

The soldiers replied by giving Jesus a sponge full of sour wine. Some of the soldiers were still waiting to see if Elijah would come.

This statement may be considered “less spiritual” than the others, but it shows the true humanity and the suffering of Jesus Christ. He was not immune to the physical pain and deprivation on the cross. [9]

“There were physical reasons for His thirst (Psalm 22:15), but there were also spiritual reasons (Psalm 42:1-2).” – Warren Wiersbe [7]

The sour wine fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 69:21. The branch of hyssop also had special significance to the Jews, since this was the same branch that was used to spread the blood of the lamb at the first Passover (Exodus 12:21-22).

“It seems as if St. John, having perhaps just returned to the scene, and standing with the women ‘afar off,’ beholding these things, had hastened forward on the cry from Psalm 22, and heard Him express the feeling of thirst, which immediately followed.” – Alfred Edersheim [8]

 

John 19:30a
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”

One of the greatest statement of all time is given it is the gospel. It is finished!

There is one Greek word to represent the statement, tetelestai (τετέλεσται). This is the statement that a servant would make to his master after he completed his duties, “it is finished”. This is the statement that a merchant would make after a debt was paid in full, “it is finished!” [7]

The job was completed. The debt has been paid in full.

The other Gospel accounts say that Jesus cried this with a loud voice. He was not succumbing to his own death, but he shouted this out in victory!

“The gospel was being delivered in a word. Jesus did not cry out, ‘I am finished,’ but ‘It is finished!’ The perfect tense of this verb that He shouted means ‘It is finished and it always will be finished.’” – Stephen Davey [5]

 

John 19:30b
and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Matthew 27:50
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Mark 15:37
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.

Luke 23:46
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Jesus, restored to fellowship with God the Father, now surrendered his life. Jesus already said that he would lay his own life down (John 10:17, see here).

“He then addressed His Father in the final statement from the cross, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’ (Psalm 31:5). This was actually a bedtime prayer used by Jewish children, and it tells us how our Lord died: confidently, willingly, and vic­toriously.” – Warren Wiersbe [11]

 

Matthew 27:51-53
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Mark 15:38
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Luke 23:45b
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

The temple veil is torn in two, from top to bottom. This is God’s statement to the religion of the Jews. The function of the earthly priest is ended and we have full access to God (Hebrews 9-10).

The earth shook in the rocks were split. God used earthquakes throughout Jewish history to announce his presence [5]. God also used an earthquake when he gave the law (Exodus 19). This is one more evidence of the power of God in the death of his son.

Finally, graves were opened. Bodies came to life, left the tombs, and entered the city. The text seems to indicate that the dead were immediately raised, but they did not enter the city until after the resurrection.

The torn veil indicates that He conquered sin; the earthquake sug­gests that He conquered the law and fulfilled it; and the resurrections prove that He defeated death. [12]

“The Veils before the Most Holy Place were 40 cubits (60 feet) long and 20 cubits (30 feet) wide, of the thickness of the palm of the hand, and wrought in 72 squares, which were joined together; and these Veils were so heavy, that, in the exaggerated language of the time, it needed 300 priests to manipulate each.  If the Veil was at all such as is described in the Talmud, it could not have been rent in twain by a mere earthquake of the fall of the lintel, although its composition in squares fastened together might explain, how the rent might be as described in the Gospel.” – Alfred Edersheim [8]

 

Matthew 27:54
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:39
And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Luke 23:47-48
Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.

The pagan Romans were the most affected by the death of Jesus Christ. The ESV translation for “filled with awe” does not sufficiently describe their fear. These men were very familiar with crucifixion, and yet they were terrified by what they had seen with Jesus.

The centurion speaks for his men, saying, “Truly this man was the son of God”. The onlookers were affected, but only the Romans believed. [1]

Note that the crowds returned home, beating their breasts. They were emotionally affected but unchanged.

 

Matthew 27:55-56
There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Mark 15:40-41
There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Luke 23:49
And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

There were many women who followed Jesus all the way to the cross. Note that the men were absent! Except for John, all of the other disciples were hiding.

It appears that this group were led by three women. We have seen earlier that Mary the mother of Jesus was also with them, but John had taken her away after Jesus had directed her into John’s care (see here).

Comparing Matthew and Mark’s accounts, we see that Salome was the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John). Salome was apparently very active in her sons’ lives, as she earlier came with them to ask a special blessing from Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28).

One commentator pointed out that of the three women mentioned here, one was identified by her husband, another by her children, and another by her hometown [2].

 


 

[1] Some commentators look at the words of the centurion and say that he is only speaking from his pagan reference, saying “This must be the son of a god”. The Greek language lacks a definite article. However, the exact same wording used by the centurion is also used by the disciples (Matthew 14:33), the angel at Jesus’ birth (Luke 1:35), and Jesus himself (Matthew 27:43), saying that he is the Son of God. The centurion saw the sign over Jesus’ head, and he would have been present earlier in the morning when the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the Son of God.  He knew what was at stake. Therefore, the best understanding of these words is that this pagan Roman was indeed confessing faith in Jesus Christ. [2]

 

[2] John MacArthur, Responses to the Death of Christ, Matthew 27:54-56

 

[3] H.A. Ironside, Address 77, Christ Crucified and the Veil Rent, Luke 23:44-56

 

[4] Stephen Davey, The Lamb’s Last Words, John 19:25-30

 

[5] Stephen Davey, The Centurion

 

[6] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Mark 15:33-41, pages 189-191

 

[7] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, John 19:17-27, pages 305-306

 

[8] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book V, CHAPTER XV. ‘CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED’.

 

[9] Doug Bookman, Passion Week, Audio Series, Lectures 7-8. http://www.bookmanministries.com/

 

[10] Doug Bookman, Jesus on the Cross

 

[11] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, Luke 23:44-49, pages 221-222

 

[12] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, Matthew 27:45-56, pages 83-84

 

4 Comments »

  1. […] But the story of Jesus Christ is so much more. He did not die as a tragic martyr on the Roman cross. He willingly, intentionally gave up His own life so that He could free mankind from the penalty of sin. When He cried, “It is finished!”, he permanently removed the barrier that separated us from God (see here and here). […]

    Pingback by He is Risen! | Sapphire Sky — January 2, 2016 @ 1:01 am

  2. […] Peter saw his loyalty disappear in the face of fear. He saw his teacher beaten by the Jewish authorities. He saw the Roman soldiers bind him and subject him to inhuman torture. He saw his teacher hang on Roman cross for six hours until he died alone (see here and here). […]

    Pingback by The Stranger on the Shore | Sapphire Sky — February 7, 2016 @ 5:46 pm

  3. […] The final three hours: darkness (Matthew 27:45-56, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-30) […]

    Pingback by Events of the Passion Week | Sapphire Sky — March 26, 2016 @ 1:50 am

  4. […] After the 483 years, the Messiah would be executed like a criminal (see here and here). […]

    Pingback by The Coming King | Sapphire Sky — January 28, 2017 @ 9:48 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: