It is Finished

The Most Powerful Words Ever Spoken on Earth!

John 19:30 (28-37)


I.         Introduction


A.      Will you please walk with me a sixth time up that lonely road to the little hill just outside of Jerusalem, called Calvary.


1.        Calvary is where all of man’s redemption price was paid.

2.        Calvary is where the Just One became the Justifier. 

3.        Calvary is where the innocent shed His blood for the guilty.

4.        Calvary is the place that covers my sin, my guilt, my shame.

5.        Calvary is where mercy is great and grace is free.

6.        Calvary is where the burdened soul can find liberty. 

7.        The hymn says, “Up Calvary’s mountain one dreadful morn, walked Christ my Saviour, weary and worn; facing for sinners death on the cross, that He might save them from endless loss.  Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree: wounded and bleeding for sinners pleading, blind and unheeding dying for me.” Mennie Hussey wrote in 1921, “Lest I forget Gethsemane; Lest I forget Thine agony; Lest I forget thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary .”


B.       At this point, Jesus has hung on the cross just over 6 hours.


1.        The first three hours he hung in daylight.


a.       He spoke of forgiveness to his tormentors.

b.       He made preparation for future of his mother.

c.       He saved the soul of a thief at his side.


2.        For the next three hours, the sun darkened as the Father turned His back on the Son. Jesus then cried twice in suffering.


a.       The first dealt with spiritual suffering, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It was during that time that the full wrath of God against all sin, for all time was poured out upon the Lamb of God

b.       Second physical suffering, “I thirst”.  Jesus was not numb to the pain – He felt the wrath of God. And He felt it alone. And He took it  to its fullest!


C.       Now, as the darkness cleared a bit, just before sunset, He simply says, “It Is Finished.”

D.      The Irish is “Tá sé chrioch-nughadh” or “Ta shay creock-naha

E.       What does He mean by those words?

F.       Well, in Bible times when:


1.        A servant completed their job or responsibility they would tell their master “Telelestai.” I completed the task you gave me.

2.        When an O.T. Jewish believer brought their sacrifice to the alter in the Temple, the High Priest would examine it and declare, “Telelestai.” It is perfect. It is accepted. 

3.        When a debtor would offer their last payment on a debt, the merchant would write on the receipt “Telelestai.” Paid in Full.

4.        In that one word, “Finished”, we have the entire scope of our salvation presented. It is the grounds of our assurance and hope as Christians. It means Jesus did all that He was asked by the Father to do. He fulfilled every requirement of the Law for your and my pardon (Rom 10:4).


G.       Yet for most people, their religion has neglected to tell them “It is Finished!” Religions would crumble, and only Christ would reign if people only knew that Jesus confidently cried out, It is Finished! So the darkness continues, and good people – religious people - continue to die and go to a devil’s hell!


1.        Let me illustrate by reading a portion of the Baltimore Shorter Catechism:


a.       "The Mass continues the Sacrifice of the Cross. Each time Mass is offered, the Sacrifice of Christ is repeated...In the Mass Christ continues to offer Himself to the Father as He did on the Cross." Thus, the Mass daily sacrifices Jesus Christ over and over again. And, the Father is well pleased with this daily Mass as He "continues to accept His Son's gift..." The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross, because "in the Mass the victim is the same...Jesus Christ" "Our Blessed Lord did not want His sacrifice continued in the same bloody way in which He offered it on the Cross...So at the Last Supper He gave us a ceremony under which we could continue His Sacrifice. The Mass is the same basic ceremony as the Last Supper..."

b.       What a terrible twisting of truths

c.       It is just that kind of religious programming that has damned nations, and generations for the past 1500 years!


H.      Instead of looking at the events of the cross from religious tradition’s perspective, and from even our own perspective, let’s see it from the Bible’s God-given perspective:


II.       Background - Events leading up to the crucifixion


A.      On any busy street in Jerusalem, we would meet the radiant smile of a blind man who was given sight, the joyful leaps of a lame man who was made to walk. We would sense the excitement of the crowds who flocked to hear words unlike any they had ever heard before. We would see in the background a heavenly kingdom and a golden crown. We would see the multitudes that line the way, crying, “Hosanna.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” That was the effect of the perfect Life of our Lord!

B.       Then the unthinkable happened. Darkness and confusion blotted out the beauty of such a life as Christ’s was. The same crowds who had praised the presence of Jesus now rejected Him!

C.       Cruel mockery, and torture awaited Jesus’ every move through the streets of Jerusalem throughout that long Tuesday night just before His crucifixion. The sky is blackened. Crimson blood now stains the ground. Hardened soldiers gamble with indifference to the man who hangs on the cross above them, surrounded by His enemies and bracketed between two thieves.

D.      In all of the torment and beatings of that crucifixion, there was no miraculous deliverance from heaven – no angelic army appearing – no word from heaven saying once again, “This is my beloved Son!”

E.       Instead, we watch expectantly as Jesus raises His head from off His chest. We look upon His bruised and battered face. We see him moisten his lips with the cheap vinegar given him by the soldiers. Then we hear Him speak, summoning His strength for one final statement, “It is finished.” A single word when spoken by Christ. The other gospel writers tell us that this was spoken in a loud voice. It commanded attention of all that stood nearby. It broke into idle thoughts and interrupted hushed conversations. And as they wondered what it meant, Jesus bowed His head ... AND DIED. 

F.       “It is finished!” The words conveyed more than just a task completed. It also implied that all had been done that could be done. WHATEVER WAS HAPPENING ON THAT CROSS WAS OVER. It was finished. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it. Further suffering would be pointless. Nothing else could be done. And so, Jesus died.

G.       But not everyone took it that way!


III.     Message


A.      To His Disciples It Seemed A Word of DEFEAT.


1.        One disciple, John, was present at the cross (Jn 19:26) He would carry a report back to the other disciples.  Imagine their confusion as he related the events of the cross, ending his account to them as he does in verse 30. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

2.        We also know what the outlook of the disciples was anything but optimistic. Read Luke 24:13 - 21a

3.        You can sense the bitterness in their voices.  “We put all our eggs in the wrong basket! We had big dreams and high hopes, but now they have all come to nothing.” “What went WRONG?”

4.        It was a silent, defeated group of disciples who listened to John’s report. When he finished, nobody stirred. Then, I can imagine Peter, shaking his head in dismay, saying, “That’s it? That’s all we get out of this? We left our homes and jobs for this? I should have stuck to fishing!”

5.        “Finished!” To the disciples, it was a word of defeat, as though they had all gambled ... and lost.

6.        To those who believed not the promises of God – how DARK was that day! And how awful were those words, “It is Finished!”


B.       Satan Heard It As A Word of SURRENDER.


1.        Every step of the life of Christ involved a struggle against Satan. Jesus, as a Man had to fight and defeat Satan AS a man, not as God!


a.       Satan moved Herod to murder all the babies in and around Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the child Jesus. 

b.       Satan taunted Christ at His temptation, daring Him to jump to His death from atop the temple. 

c.       Satan entered the heart of Judas Iscariot and moved him to betray Christ to be crucified.


2.        The Scripture leaves us in no doubt as to Satan’s estimation of the cross.  1Cor 2:7-8 says Satan viewed the cross as his triumph and God’s defeat

3.        Roman soldiers drove the nails that held Him there.  But ultimately, Satan took credit for crucifying “the Lord of Glory.”

4.        When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” meaning that further struggle would be in vain, Satan was convinced he had won.


C.       Yet, to God the Father it was a Word of ACCOMPLISHMENT. See Verse 28


1.        When Jesus Christ spoke his final words on the cross, these were not words of defeat but words of victory. He did not say, I am finished, but IT is finished. Jesus DID NOT say, "It is pretty much a done deal." Neither did He say "It is almost finished." He didn’t say "If you work hard, someday it will probably be finished," or "I’ve done my part, now you’re on your own." His statement was simple yet profound and powerful: "IT IS FINISHED." These were words of victory, Victory for Christ and victory for all who choose to know Him as Lord and Saviour. These words were not whispered - they were shouted!

2.        When Jesus said those vital words "It is finished," He was saying that the old separation between God and man was at an end. The task of atonement was complete. Our eternal pardon was executed (as in executing, or signing, a contract). The bondage of sin was concluded, and our debt of sin was fully discharged, having been stamped "PAID IN FULL" by Christ Himself. Jesus’ death on that cruel Roman cross accomplished what no human effort could possibly do, making an end to the law of sin and death, which automatically expired when Jesus died. The great divide between God and man, that we could never begin to fill in, was suddenly filled up by the finished work of Jesus Christ. By His grace, we can go over to the other side and have full fellowship with God, because Jesus paid the price of our sins, performing the act of atonement that we could never accomplish on our own.

3.        At this point, ALL the prophecies of the Saviour had been fulfilled.


a.       This was no mere accident - No tragedy

b.       This was the outworking of the Plan of God that had been set in motion back before the universe was ever created (1Pet 1:18-20)

c.       Thirty specific prophecies were strategically placed throughout the Old Testament so that anybody with an open mind could locate and clearly identify the Messiah when He came.

d.       Jesus FULFILLED every prophecy about His first coming. Luke 18:31 says, “And all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” And they were!

e.       Often we read as we do in our text, “all things were now accomplished that the scriptures might be fulfilled” or “this was done that the scriptures might be fulfilled.” He FINISHED, ACCOMPLISHED every expectation!

f.        There was no doubt about WHO Jesus was

g.       The problem was that He just wasn’t wanted!


4.        All the demands of the Law of God had also been met.


a.       Jesus set out to accomplish/to finish the exhaustive requirements of the Old Testament Law (Mt 3:15)

b.       Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law ... I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill ... one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law till ALL BE FULFILLED.” Mt 5:17-18

c.       Look at Romans 10:4 again where Christ is the END, the FINISH of the Law

d.       Jesus referred to His life as the finishing of God’s work in the earth


1)       Just as Jesus finished God’s handiwork in creation (Gen 2:1)

2)       His reason for existence in the flesh was to FINISH God’s work in redemption (Jn 4:34)

3)       So, Jesus at the end of His life was able to confidently say, “I have finished that perfect work you gave me to do” (Jn 17:4)


e.       Just how complete was that accomplishment?


1)       He blotted out all the laws against us (Col 2:14,15)

2)       He obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb 10:5-11)

3)       He is not only the author, the source of our faith, but most thankfully, He is the FINISHER of our faith as well (Heb 12:2)


f.        There is no need for Mary, or any act of myself to add to Christ’s work – it is PERFECT – it is FINISHED!

g.       There is no need to continue the sacrifice (Rom 6:9,10)


5.        The wages/penalty of sin had been paid in full – Propitiation/Atonement


a.       Sin carries a price tag: death (Rom 6:23).

b.       The death of Christ was payment in full.

c.       Propitiation means paid-in-full!

d.       Nothing more COULD BE DONE or WOULD BE REQUIRED to secure the salvation of sinners. SEE HEBREWS 10:11-12


1)       For hundreds of years, rivers of blood had flowed from the altar of God, and yet the price of sin was never paid.

2)       The work of the Levitical priest was never done.

3)       Each day brought new sins and a fresh cry for blood!  But what tens of thousands of animal sacrifices could not do, Jesus accomplished with ONE SACRIFICE FOREVER.

4)       The priests never could sit down in the Temple – never finished

5)       But what saith the Scripture? Heb 1:3!!!


6.        Lastly, and thankfully, the devil was Defeated (1 John 3:8)!

7.        The life of Jesus had been the fullest of lives – not a waste (Jn 21:25)


D.      So, What does His Declaration mean to All Men and Women today?


1.        To The Unsaved, the Unbeliever, It Is A Word Of SALVATION.


a.       It means the end of your search for forgiveness. See Acts 10:38-39, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him, all that believe are justified from all things...”

b.       When Jesus said those powerful words--"IT IS FINISHED"--He meant exactly what He said. The work was done, and there was nothing more to do but accept His salvation and enjoy His grace, whether we deserved it or not. We can pick and poke, and try to find some loose end that we need to tie up before He will accept us--but there aren’t any there to find. Jesus has already accepted us--all that remains is for us to accept Him.

c.       The death of Jesus Christ provided forgiveness for all sin (Gal 3:13)

d.       Salvation is a finished work. It is not a Do-It-Yourself project. It means there is nothing you can do to save yourself.


1)       Good deeds – the best efforts, cannot earn forgiveness.

2)       Religious devotion, no matter how sincere, can’t pay for your sin

3)       Salvation can only be obtained by receiving it as a gift from God, on Jesus Christ’s account – simply because of Jesus!


2.        To The Christian It Is A Word of ASSURANCE. Security!


a.       It means your salvation is perfectly secure.

b.       Because it is finished, it doesn’t depend on you now.  The true child of God is not trying to be saved. He knows that everything has already been done that needed to be done!

c.       It means your acceptance to God is completely complete (Eph 1:6,7)

d.       Some Christians receive Christ as their Saviour, then spend the rest of their lives trying to get God to accept them, especially, every time they fail as Christians.

e.       They are never sure where they stand with God.  So, they try to perform better in hopes that God might smile in their direction.

f.        But the words “It is finished” mean that I am not accepted by God because of what I DO, but because of what Jesus has done for me.

g.       That is what it meant for Jesus to be the Lamb of God – the substitute for mankind, the mediator, the perfect sacrifice

h.       I am (present tense) accepted in the beloved – in the precious family of God – all because of Jesus’ death on the cross!


IV.    Conclusion and Invitation:


A.      What Jesus came to do, He did - and what He did, was not almost finished. not nearly Finished. not, it will one day be finished. But, IT IS FINISHED!

B.       A Good Example:


1.        Though Michelangelo is considered one of the greatest artists of all time, he was known to be very temperamental. He would begin a piece, then abandon it in a fit of temper. Consequently, he left more works unfinished than he completed. In Florence, Italy, is a vast display of his uncompleted works. 

2.        But, Jesus left nothing undone. He offers salvation as a FINISHED work to any sinner who would by faith call out to Him to save them! There is nothing left for you or I to do but believe in HIM (Acts 16:30,31). 


C.       Settle the issue of salvation.


1.        Receive Christ by faith as your full payment for all your sins, and through Him, the forgiveness of sins is extended to you completely.

2.        Any other way to God is of the devil!

3.        Shame on you, and on any priest or pope, or prince to think their religion can improve on what Jesus did on the cross!

4.        The people of this country need to repent of their religious efforts, and call on the name of Jesus Christ to have mercy on their sinful souls, and save them from a devil’s hell!


D.      Settle your doubts.


1.        Did you receive Christ as your Saviour? Then you can be very sure of your salvation. It is completely in Christ’s care – and he won’t slip up!

2.        Only then can you accept your position as a child of God, fully loved and accepted by your Heavenly Father, no matter what you do!


E.       Settle your Struggles as well – folks, struggles are never in vain, because all the suffering you and I may go through are not for our salvation, but for our growth, and for other’s salvation – but that is another message all-together

F.       Oh folks, Jesus paid it all - all to him I owe - Sin had left a crimson stain - Jesus washed it white as snow!


Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church Blarney

29 Westcourt Heights

Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland