I GREW UP in farming and ranching country. By the time I was sixteen, I had worked for eight different landowners. Plowing, irrigating, harvesting, fencing, herding, feeding, whatever was needed. I often heard the boss call out, “Shut it down. Let’s go. It will still be here tomorrow.” “Wrap it up.” “We’re done for the day.” But I never recall hearing any boss say to me, “It is finished. There’s nothing more to do.”
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his Spirit” (Mt 27:50; Mk 23:37; Lk 23:46); and the curtain of the temple was torn apart(Mt 27:51; Mk 16:38; Lk 23:45). But it was John the disciple, soon to be John the Apostle, who remained close by to receive his dying leader’s final instructions, “Behold your mother,” and who heard clearly the last words of Jesus, described by others simply as “a loud cry” (heard from a distance perhaps?)
“It is finished,” (Jn 19:30).
Nature heard it and trembled. The rocks understood it and split apart at their Creator’s cry. The universe heard it and altered the course of a day as the sun’s light became a funeral shroud of darkness, covering the enormity of what had just been done. The crowds heard it and ran to their homes in fear and trembling. The religious system heard it and railed against it and tried to do business as usual, even as the temple curtain tore apart, not by human hands, to expose its empty nakedness. The mob heard it and watched. And soldiers charged with the deadly task, heard it as they cast lots for his garment.
“It is finished!”
In all the universe, on a matter so important to every living soul from that day to this, in a loving act and a redemption plan so grand that we may ponder it and speak of it, yet never fully grasp it, only God could utter these final words.
“It is finished.”
Salvation’s plan. Redeeming grace. Eternity’s gate. Finished!
Life has afforded me times when I’ve been done. Moved on to a new task. Accepted a new challenge. But for me there is always “tomorrow,” always “…to be continued.” Perhaps that’s the reason the best I can hope for are words from Christ’s parable of the talents, when each man reported back. “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21). Finishing well? I do hope so.
But there is only One who can look you in the eye, hold out a nail-scared hand and say, “I did this all for you. It’s a gift. I bought it for you. Take it. Open it. It is worth more than you can ever know. And, yes. It is finished.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, receive our heartfelt worship, our grateful praise and thanksgiving. You have done it. Salvation’s plan is complete. Redemption’s grace is extravagant. Eternity’s gate is thrown open wide. Thank you for your finished work. Amen.