John 19:28-30 “Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, ‘It is finished!’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
There are few things as satisfying as the completion of a difficult task.
When you finish cleaning out that closet.
When you complete that report.
When you accomplish that goal.
When you lose that weight.
There’s nothing quite like sitting back with a sigh and saying, “It’s finished.”
Do you think that’s the way Jesus felt when He uttered those words in His dying breaths? Did He say them with a sense of satisfaction or with a sense of resignation? And why, why did He utter them on the cross instead of from the empty tomb?
It seems to me like the victory wasn’t had until death had been defeated, until Christ rose from the grave. So, then, it seems like that should have been the time for those words. I can picture Christ coming out of the tomb, pumping His fists and shouting, “It is finished!”
But that’s not the way it happened at all. Instead, with His flesh bruised and blooded, as He struggled to gain just a few more breaths, as the pain racked through His bodily frame, He said what would be recorded as some of His last words.
It is Concluded.
The work of salvation was finished. On the cross, Jesus laid down His life as the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, the last sacrifice for sin. The cross was the altar. So, what then, was the resurrection?
Think of it like this, when I finish cooking supper, I say, “It’s done” and call everyone to the table. But, while the meal may be complete, the eating is just about to begin.
While a person may be declared innocent, but when he is processed and able to walk out the courtroom doors without handcuffs, then he is free.
Jesus could have quietly slipped out of the tomb without anyone knowing. He could have gone straight to Heaven to take His rightful place with the Father and never showed Himself to a single human being. And His job on earth would have still been done.
But He didn’t. Instead, He chose to make His resurrection public, to share it with not only those closest to Him but with the world. Why?
Because the resurrection was the pay day for the work that had already been accomplished, and the empty tomb is the evidence of our freedom in Christ.
John 8:36 says, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
Ephesians 3:12 reminds us that In Christ and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. And Galatians 5:13 tells us that we can live, as Christ did, using our freedom to serve one another in love.
The resurrection is evidence of our freedom. We are free, free from sin, free from guilt, free from fear, free from death. That should give us reason to smile. Yet too many of us walk around acting as if we are the one hanging on that cross. Yes, life is hard, but the resurrection gives us reason to celebrate, not only on Easter Sunday, but every day, every day of our lives.
That’s why Jesus said, “It’s finished” from the cross and not from the tomb. Jesus did the work on the cross, but the resurrection, the resurrection itself is the victor’s cry. The work has been done; so let the party begin!