It Is Finished
Heavenly Father, on this day I am filled with thanksgiving for Jesus who in the cross triumphed over sin, death, principalities and powers.
Read JOHN 19:28–37
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect further on the scriptural link between suffering and glory, between crucifixion and exaltation.
Jesus was in control of himself and his situation to the very end. Notice the emphasis here on the fulfillment of Scripture. Verse 28 juxtaposes two words nearly identical in Greek (teleo and teleio), translated “finished” and “fulfilled” in the NIV. Jesus’ work was now ended and the Scriptures were fulfilled.
It’s hard today to see what was “fulfilled” when he said “I am thirsty” (28). Commentators point to Psalm 69:3, but perhaps Jesus had something else in mind, which, not surprisingly, escaped the soldiers, who gave him cheap wine. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of Psalms 42 and 43, with the words “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God” (Psa. 42:1). No doubt he was physically thirsty, but more desperately he desired the presence of the Father, whose face was hidden as his Son bore the weight of the world’s sin. “Why have You forsaken me?” he quotes from Psalm 22 (Matt. 27:46). When the writers of the New Testament quoted the Old Testament, they often had in mind the whole of the original context, and this is no exception. Psalms 42 and 43 (which belong together) speak in their entirety to Jesus’ suffering.
He drank the wine—and the metaphorical cup that the Father had given him. His Father’s will was indeed “fulfilled.” So, in control to the last, he “gave up his spirit” (30). As he had said to the Jewish crowds, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:17,18). Jesus’ life on earth was ended, but, as we know, that was not the end of the story.
Look up Psalms 42 and 43 and meditate on them as you think about today’s passage.
Mighty God, I bow before You in this holiest of hours, awed by the mystery of Your suffering love. I am constrained by Your love to embrace and serve a weary and despairing world for Your glory.
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