“IT IS FINISHED”
I call this the ultimate victory speech.
Picture in your mind Jesus Christ hanging on the Roman cross to which He had been cruelly and mercilessly nailed… after having endured a betrayal by His Apostle Judas Iscariot, a false arrest by the Jewish authorities, all His Apostles fleeing from Him, an audience before both Annas and the High Priest Caiaphas, a 3-times-repeated denial of even knowing Him by His chief Apostle Peter, a drumhead “trial” before the Jewish Sanhedrin filled with false accusations, beatings and testimonies against Him that would not agree, a humiliating public trial before a haughty Roman Procurator, a merciless flogging by the Romans removing His flesh to the bare bones, a crown of thorns pressed into His head, and the carrying of His own cross to Golgatha… now nearly at the end of His earthly life and ministry. A darkness had fallen over the entire world (this is independently attested to by non-Biblical historical sources) starting at the sixth hour, and lasting until the ninth hour, during which time God the Father placed the past, present and future sins of all humanity on His Son’s head… and then abandoned Him, turning His back on Him, causing Jesus to call out, using the words of Psalm 22:
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
God the Father would not hear His Son.
Do you understand that God in His perfect righteousness cannot tolerate… and therefore must punish… sin? It may be asked why did God place the sin of all humanity on His Son?
THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY
In the Garden of Gethsemane, following the Last Supper with His Apostles, Jesus proved His humanity; He did not want to die if there was any other way by which God the Father’s will for a sinful humanity to be redeemed could be realized:
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:35-36)
THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY
700 years before Jesus Christ walked the earth, His sacrifice on our behalf as the Suffering Servant was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah (italic emphases mine):
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12)
However, God in His omniscience (knowing all things) knew that it would require the death of His Son as a blood sacrifice to pay the penalty for humanity’s sins even before there was a humanity:
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. (Revelation 13:8-9)
THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY
Thus Jesus Christ is the Faithful Servant:
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews 3:1-4)
On the cross… beaten almost to death, bruised, battered, stripped naked, hungry, thirsty, totally exhausted, in shock, on the edge of asphyxiation… He could yet shout to His Father:
“IT IS FINISHED”
What was finished was the work that God the Father had given Jesus Christ to do… to be the blood sacrifice by which our sins would be forgiven and the penalty of death for them removed, to provide a way out for us from under the curse of the Mosaic Law… for all that the Mosaic Law could do was identify our sins: the Law could not atone for, or deliver us from the penalty for, our sins; a lasting transition was made from the Old Testament’s Mosaic Law to the New Testament’s salvation by faith in the grace that came by Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death:
In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:16-22)
I am not sure that we rightly understand what it is that God offers us in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul gives us an idea:
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:13-17)
1) sons and daughters (children) of God.
2) without fear.
3) able to access God directly.
4) heirs of all God’s promises and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
With His own mouth, Jesus Christ declares what He will do to those who overcome the world through their faith in Him and in His completed work:
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Holy Scripture is nothing if not plain as to the validity of what Jesus Christ has done:
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3)
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
This the bottom line:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
There are many (far too many) who will say ‘Why is Jesus the way for me? I am not a Christian… I believe in someone or something else, or no one or nothing, so why do you tell me that Jesus is more valid than anyone or anything else?’ I tell you because God already knew you before you were here, as recorded in the Book of Acts (italic emphasis mine):
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:16-31)
Even the Athenians… by worshiping what they called an ‘unknown god’… knew innately of God the Father, because they saw Him in the creation that surrounded them. This is why all people are without excuse: there is no ‘built in’ ignorance of God. Note also that God made all nations of men from one man, and also set for all of them their times and seasons and places of existence… that in knowing these things, all people would acknowledge Almighty God, seek to know Him and the One that He has sent.
My heart shudders for the lost… those who, although they know within their hearts that their lives are under the sovereign control of God, reject Him and His provision for their salvation. If you are reading this post and you are walking through life as an unbeliever, I tell you plainly that you are in danger of eternal hellfire. If you have no fear of God, read these words of Jesus Christ:
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 12:4-5)
God the Father Almighty is a loving God:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
God is also a just and a righteous God whose provision will not be ignored:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18)
In other words…
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
If you are an unbeliever: STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW. You are not even guaranteed to take your next breath. Understand that you are not reading this post by accident. Allow the Holy Ghost of God to convict you in your soul that you are (like me) a worthless, wretched, rotten-to-the-core sinner who deserves eternal death in the lake of fire because of your sins against a just, pure, holy and righteous God. Cry out to God on your knees for the forgiveness of your sins, and accept His Son Jesus Christ in your heart as your Lord and Messiah, Savior and King, the One who paid the penalty of death for your sins that you would be able to stand blameless before God. Pick up a Holy Bible and read the Gospel of John. Then seek a Bible-believing church, read the Bible daily, leave your life of habitual sin, seek the companionship of other believers, and start to live for the One who purchased you with His blood.
The time is short, my friend.
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY!!!