These words, spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, have been the source of confirmation and consolation to believers for centuries, declaring the accomplishment of the work the Father entrusted to the Son.
Look at the sufficiency declared in this statement, “It is finished.” Although it appears as three words in our King James translation, it is one word in the original language. This same word is translated in different ways in the record of the Lord’s earthly ministry. These different instances provide deeper insights into the meaning of “finished.”
Nothing More To Be Done
Luke records, “When they had performed all things according to the law” (2:39). The word “performed” is the same word “finished.” In this portion all the requirements of the law were completed. There was nothing more to be done. This is but a prelude to the teaching in Galatians. The law displays both God’s holy standard and our inability to meet that standard. The law renders both Jews, who are under the law, and Gentiles, who are “without law,” “guilty before God” (Romans 3:19). The complexity of the law’s requirements and of its system of sacrifices shows the penetrating demands of God’s righteousness. Through the sacrifice of Christ, God has a meeting place with both Jews and Gentiles. His claims are satisfied by blood. The sinner receives a righteous standing by faith.
We came to understand that we could never attain to His righteousness on our own, but now because of the finished work of Christ we are declared righteous, nothing more to be done – performed. The encouraging words of Naomi to Ruth are a foretelling of the work of our Kinsman Redeemer: “Sit still my daughter…the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day” (Ruth 3:18).
Nothing More To Pay
In Matthew 17:24, we read, “Doth not your Master pay tribute.” The word “pay” here is the same word as “finished.” We know that the Lord, being the Son and not a stranger, had no need to pay tribute. Nevertheless the Lord gave Peter instructions to catch a fish, something with which he was quite familiar. It was miraculous that the fish caught had sufficient money for the Lord and for Peter, who mistakenly committed His Lord to paying the tax. That the fish had not swallowed the money was further evidence of God’s intervention. This lovely incident highlights both the poverty and power of the King. Payment was made. When we think of the finished work of Christ as “paid,” we rejoice that there is nothing more to pay. But at what a price has payment been made! To pay His and Peter’s tax, the Lord miraculously provided a coin from an unexpected source. To redeem us, it was “not with corruptible things as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
We sometimes sing, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe.” The payment given to God repaid Him for all the dishonor that sin had brought to Him and gave Him “much more” honor than He had lost through man’s sin.
Nothing More To Be Said
In Matthew we read, “When Jesus made an end of commanding His disciples…” (11:1). “Made an end of” is our word “finished.” The thought that we glean from this is nothing more to be said. The Gospel writers record for us seven different cries of the Lord on the cross. Three cries were directed toward mankind. Three cries were directed toward heaven. “It is finished” was heaven-ward and man-ward. In this triumphant cry we are made to appreciate that there is nothing more to be said. It brings to mind the words, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who maketh intercession for us” (Rom 8:33-34). Such is the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ that no infernal or mortal adversary can justly accuse the guilty who has been justified by God.
Nothing More To Be Fulfilled
The Savior said, “All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished” (Luke 18:31). The word “accomplished” is the word “finished.” The Lord goes on to outline His sufferings: “He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles and shall be mocked and spitted on; and they shall scourge Him and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again” (vv 32, 33). The plan and purpose of God were eternal. The prophets foretold multiple details concerning the work of Christ. The writer John notes repeatedly “according to the Scriptures.” The Lord declares in His statement, “It is finished.” There is nothing more to be fulfilled. The sacrifice of Christ has fulfilled every last detail of all that the prophets had promised (see Acts 13:29). He said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work that Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:4).
Because of this wonderful statement, “It is finished,” we rejoice that nothing more needs to be done; He has performed all the requirements of the law. Nothing more is required; He has paid the price of our redemption. Nothing more can be said; He has made an end of our sins and guilt. Nothing more needs to be fulfilled; He has accomplished completely the work the Father gave Him to do.
“This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12).