It is Finished

The Most Powerful Words Ever Spoken on Earth!

John 19:30 (28-37)

Audio MP3

March 31, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Background (John 19:30)


A.    It is Resurrection Sunday – what the world calls “Easter”

B.     But before we go to that empty tomb…

C.     Will you please walk with me up that lonely path to the little hill just outside of Jerusalem, called Calvary.


1.      Calvary was known as the place of the Skull - Golgotha

2.      It was a hillside that was only used for one thing at that time – to hold up condemned men on horrible instruments of torture, called crosses!

3.      People never talked much when they passed by that spot. They would just hurry on, not even looking up, in case they might see someone new hanging there

4.      Calvary, Golgotha, was actually the top of a small hill-line called Mt Moriah, where Abraham had taken HIS only begotten son one day.

5.      Hmmm. Calvary.


a.       A hill where the innocent, willingly shed His blood for the guilty, so unjustly.

b.      Where all of man’s sin debt was paid.

c.       Where the Just One became the Justifier of all. 

d.      Where God’s Justice was poured out, and His Mercy was set free!


6.      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.”


D.    Many people are there - a large crowd was standing in silence, all gathered around three, high, harsh crosses, with men barely alive hanging on them!

1.      If it had been any other day, you would have met the radiant smile of a blind man who was given sight, the joyful leaps of a lame man who was made to walk. You would have sensed the excitement of the crowds who flocked to hear words unlike any they had ever heard before. You would see the multitudes that lined the way into Jerusalem, crying, “Hosanna.  Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” That was the effect of the Life of our Lord!

2.      But now, three criminals are there – or at least, we are told they were all criminals

3.      What happened to Him?


a.       Unjustly accused by angry Pharisees

b.      Tried by an angry mob (Mt 27:22-25)

c.       Whipped by angry guards (Mt 27:26)

d.      Stripped and mocked in front of thousands of angry people calling for Him to die

e.       Punched and spit upon by dozens of angry Roman soldiers

f.       Pierced with a crown of THORNS by furious men

g.      He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:

h.      Stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

i.        The chastisement of our peace was upon him;

j.        He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:

k.      He bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows up to that cross


E.     In all of the torment and beatings of that crucifixion,

1.      He never opened once His mouth in self defence! He never fought back!

2.      And beyond that, there was no miraculous deliverance from heaven – no angelic army appearing to save the day – no word from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son!”

3.      There was just a horribly beaten Man, hanging high up on His cross, for all to see and continue to mock at!


F.      He ends up hanging on that cross for just over 6 agonising hours.

G.    But through those awful hours, He speaks – He actually says seven amazing things:


1.      He first said to His mother Mary, to go home with His disciple named John

2.      He said to His heavenly Father, Forgive all them (all those who hated and mocked and hurt Him that day), they know not what they do

3.      He said to one of the thieves hanging along side, Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise

4.      And then the sun was darkened for the last 3 hours of his life and there was no light at all over that hill


a.       He cried out, “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 being poured out upon the Lamb of God!

b.      And then he cried out, “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!


H.    But, as the darkness cleared a bit, just before sunset, just after He says, “Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit”, that Man on the middle cross pulled Himself up and took in a deep, long breath, and cries out for the last time, “It Is Finished.”


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

2.      All the gospel writers tell us that this was spoken in a loud voice. It commanded attention of all that stood nearby. And as people wondered what it meant, Jesus bowed His head ... AND DIED (Luke 23:46)!


I.       So, What did He mean by those words?

J.       Well, in Bible times when:


1.      A servant completed their job or responsibility they would tell their master “FINISHED!” 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, “FINISHED.” 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 “FINISHED.” Paid in Full.

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


K.    Yet for most people, their religion has neglected to tell them “It is Finished!” If people only knew that Jesus said on that cross, “It is Finished!” Religions keep people in the dark about WHAT was finished on that cross, and so countless generations lived and died in darkness for the past 2,000 years!

L.     But… “It IS finished!”


1.      The words mean more than just a task completed.

2.      It screams that ALL HAS BEEN DONE that could be done.

3.      And that whatever was happening on that cross WAS NOW OVER. It was finished.

4.      Nothing could be added to it or taken from it.

5.      Further suffering would be pointless. Nothing else could be done.


M.      But not everyone took it that way!

II.    Message


A.    To His Disciples, “Finished” was a Word of DEFEAT (Jn 19:30; Luke 24:17-21)


1.      The disciple John, was present at the cross through everything. He saw it all (Jn 19:26). He carried the report back to the other disciples about what had happened.  Imagine their confusion as he told of 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.      You can sense the bitterness in that upper room.  “We put all our eggs in the wrong basket! We had such big dreams and high hopes, but now they have all come to nothing.” “What went WRONG?”

3.      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!”

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

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

6.      Or so it seemed!


B.     The Crowd, “Finished” was a Word of SURRENDER (Luke 23:35)


1.      All they saw and heard was that DEATH had won that day!

2.      This Jesus was supposed to beat death! Not give in to it!


a.       He had healed people who were sick and dying

b.      He had even restored dead people back to life!

c.       WHY would he allow Himself to be conquered by death?


3.      Everyone knows death wins in the end!

4.      But not everything thought death would win over this man from Galilee!

5.      So, when Jesus cried out, It is Finished, it was the end of His struggle

6.      Or so it seemed!


C.     Yet, to God the Father it was a Word of ACCOMPLISHMENT. (John 19:28)


1.      When Jesus Christ spoke his final words on the cross, these were not words of defeat; they were not the words of surrender… but they were the words of victory.

2.      These words were not whispered - they were shouted!

3.      He did not say, “I” am finished, but “IT” is finished.


a.       Jesus DID NOT say, "It is pretty much a done deal."

b.      Neither did He say "It is almost finished."

c.       He didn’t say "If you work hard, someday it will probably be finished,"

d.      Or "I’ve done my part, now you’re on your own."


4.      No! His word was simple, yet profound and powerful: "IT IS FINISHED." These were words of Success! Mission Accomplished! Victory for all who choose to know Him as Lord and Saviour.

5.      Listen to Isa 53:10,11 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, … He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”


D.    When Jesus said those final words "It is finished," He was saying…


1.      ALL the prophecies about Jesus the Saviour had been fulfilled.


a.       This was no mere accident - No awful tragedy

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

c.       Forty eight specific prophecies were strategically placed throughout the Old Testament so that anybody with an open mind could clearly identify and believe on 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.       Jesus FINISHED, ACCOMPLISHED every expectation!


2.      All the Demands of the Law of God had 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 where Christ is the END, (HELLO) the FINISH of the Law!

d.      The wages/penalty of sin had been paid in full – Propitiation/Atonement (Rom 6:23). Nothing more could be required to secure the salvation of sinners. Heb 10:11-12

e.       Jesus referred to His life as the finishing of God’s saving work on earth (Jn 4:34; 17:4)

f.       Just how complete was that accomplishment?


1)      According to God, He blotted out ALL the laws against us (Col 2:14,15)

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

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


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

h.      There is no need to continue Christ’s sacrifice at all (Rom 6:9,10)

i.        WHY…? Because… IT IS FINISHED!


3.      All the pain and sorrows of life, were now revenged… on Him, instead of on our enemies! (Col 1:20) “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.


a.       Remember all the anger and wrath leading up to Jesus’ murder?

b.      Jesus – JESUS took it!

c.       Do you still have anger against someone who hurt you and caused much pain in your life? You want justice and revenge? Too late! It was exacted upon Jesus!

d.      It has been finished for you!

e.       Only the devil is angry still! Don’t join with him in your own anger!


4.      In Summary…


a.       The separation between God and man was finally at an end.

b.      The task of atonement was complete.

c.       Our eternal pardon was signed

d.      The bondage of sin was concluded,

e.       Our debt of sin was fully discharged, having been stamped "PAID IN FULL" by Christ Himself.

f.       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.

g.      The great gap between God and man, that we could never begin to fill in, was suddenly filled up by the finished work of Jesus Christ.

h.      By His grace, we can have full fellowship with God, because Jesus paid the price of our sins, performing what we could never accomplish on our own

i.        And, and thankfully, lastly, on that cross, the devil himself was thoroughly Defeated (1 John 3:8; Heb 2:14)!


E.     What is the PROOF that all that really happened?


1.      Some things are empty this morning!

2.      Let’s take another look at that cross… it’s empty!


a.       No need for a crucifix with Jesus still on it, because He is NOT there anymore!

b.      Jesus is not still on His cross.

c.       He only needed to die ONCE, for all people, and for all time!

d.      Thank God for an EMPTY cross today!

e.       That proves it really IS FINISHED!


3.      Well, let’s take a look at the tomb he was laid in…


a.       Hmmm… It is ALSO empty!

b.      That empty tomb proves the cross worked.

c.       No need for sorrow, or fear anymore! Not even afraid of death anymore

d.      Because Jesus is now very, very much alive!


4.      Where do we find Jesus now?


a.       Sitting at the right hand of almighty God in heaven!

b.      Ruling and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords

c.       Soon to return and take His bride home with him


5.      What more proof could you possibly need?

6.      That’s why a Christian loves Sundays… Because EVERY Sunday is Resurrection Sunday! We celebrate these truths EVERY First Day of the week!


F.      So, What does it all mean to us today?


1.      To The Unsaved, the Unbeliever in this audience, It Is A Call to SALVATION.


a.       It means the end of your search for forgiveness. See Acts 13:38-39, “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.


1)      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.

2)      We can pick and poke, and try to find some loose end that we need to tie up before He will accept us…

3)      But there aren’t any there to find.

4)      Jesus has already accepted us – all that remains is for us to accept Him!


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

d.      The empty tomb PROVED it!

e.       Salvation of a sinful, wretched, dark, lost, sin-bound soul is a finished work! It is not a Do-It-Yourself project that you have to work on until death... It means there is nothing you can do to save yourself by believe it!


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

2)      Religious devotion, no matter how sincere, cannot pay for your sin

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


2.      To The Christian in this audience, 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 everything has already been done that needed to be done

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


1)      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.

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

3)      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. He was the Lamb of God – the substitute for mankind, the mediator, the perfect sacrifice

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


III. 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 your own soul’s 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? Not a quick fix, but as Saviour from your sins? 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 Course – I’ll follow HIM! I’ll live for Him! I’ll dump MY old life, my old anger, my old habits, and follow Jesus!

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