THE CLIMB TO CALVARY
Meditations on The Seven Last Words of Christ
The Sixth Words
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”(John 19:30).
Dr. Earnest Campbell, the former senior pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, once observed that “popular Christianity passes from the poinsettias of Christmas to the lilies of Easter, conveniently bypassing the thorns of Good Friday.”
Sadly, I think he is right and I understand why. The scene at Calvary is unspeakably sad; we’re instinctively inclined to look away and look ahead to happier days, like Easter. After all, who is naturally drawn to blood, thorns and nails? But without Good Friday, there is no Easter Sunday. And to fully appreciate the wonder of the Resurrection, we must stop and ponder the pain and significance of that fateful Friday.
We now come to the end of this story, which is, of course, really a beginning. In just three words, “It is finished,” Jesus rests His case and ministry and, in doing so, declares His mission accomplished in Christ.
Charles Spurgeon, that prince of preachers, once suggested that in those three words we learn five things:
1. That all the types, promises and prophecies of the Old Testament were now fully accomplished in Him.
2. That not only were all types and prophecies and promises thus finished in Him, but all the typical sacrifices of the old Jewish Law were now abolished as well as explained.
3. That His perfect obedience was finished. It was necessary, in order that man might be saved, that the Law of God should be kept.
4. That the satisfaction which He rendered to the justice of God was finished. The debt was now discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever.
5. That He had totally destroyed the power of Satan, of sin and of death. He had done battle for our soul’s redemption against all our foes. He met Sin and nailed it to the tree.
And this is why, of course, that Christians call the very worst day in the history of the world, “Good” – not because of what was done to Jesus, but because of what Jesus did for us.