sermon — John 19 — Good Friday — 04/06/12


Text:  John 19:30     So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Theme: Victory at the Cross!

Dear friends in Christ,

It is true that grammar is always important.  When it comes to communicating with others, it is important that we use the correct word forms and verb endings and word order so that we are saying what we want to get across.  This has always been true – that grammar is important – including when it comes to our study of God’s Word.  The approach that we take to the Bible has become known as the “grammatical-historical” method.  It is the very words themselves which the Lord inspired the holy men to write – and so we spend time studying the original languages so as to learn the grammar and the usage and syntax and the idioms, to best understand and put into English what is being said.  If there were to be one word which serves as an example of this, it would be our text today.  This next-to-last word that Jesus spoke before His death is found as three words in English – “It is finished!” whereas in the Greek we find one word “tetelestai!”  What is so important?  The Greek verb form is the perfect tense – which imparts the idea that something has been brought to a conclusion, and that something has abiding results, results that continue into the future, so that it doesn’t have to be done again.

So what do we have here that is brought to a conclusion?  Jesus said, “IT is finished!”  The words themselves don’t tell us WHAT was completed or accomplished.  The sufferings? Certainly!  It was but a moment before Jesus died.  The physical pain and spiritual agonies were all behind Him now, yes.  But to think that Jesus was talking about this as being “finished” would leave us with the idea that here His thoughts turned to Himself, how HE was now satisfied, how HE was now relieved of His suffering.

NO!  It wasn’t that Jesus “didn’t have to take anymore” – but rather that “there was no more for Him to take!” There was no more punishment to suffer for sins!

The ransom for our souls had been paid – for the “Son of Man had indeed given His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) – a completely acceptable ransom.  There is no more sacrifice for sin to be made.  There can be no doubt about this!   God has fulfilled the words of Micah, who wrote: “You will have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (7:19)  Our sins are gone, paid in full!  “It is finished!”  Tetelestai – completed action, yes – but one also with abiding results!  Never, ever again will such a redemption need to be made.  This one is it! The writer to the Hebrews put it this way in chapter 7 – “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” (vv. 26-27) And again in chapter 9: “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

What does this mean for you and me?

In Romans 3 Paul says that “there is no difference; 23 for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” All have sinned – ALL have been justified through Christ’s redemption – and THAT means that Galatians 3:13  “Christ has redeemed US from the curse of the law, having become a curse FOR US (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” It is “in Him that WE HAVE redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us…” (Eph 1:7-8)

THE WORK OF REDEMPTION that Jesus says “is finished” is FOR US.  As His life was about to be given over into death, He was not merely shouting out to God, reporting that He had done what God had sent Him to do – He was also shouting out these words to us – >> TO US who are tormented by the thought of our sins and the wages of those sins. >> He was shouting those words out TO US, so that when the devil comes to us, whether today or on our deathbed, when that devil holds the 10 commandments up to us in order to make us despair of our sinfulness – Jesus shouted out those words to us so we may shout them out to Satan – “It is finished – The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us from ALL SIN!”

Never this side of heaven will you and I be able to thank Him enough for what He has done!  For all eternity we will find ourselves with the rest of the saints, the redeemed children of God, singing the praises of the Lamb – Revelation 5:12       Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Until that time comes when we shall join the eternal chorus of heaven, let us with His help, guidance and strength, fill our lives with those things which are pleasing to the Lord – as Paul writes in Romans 12 – (vv. 1, 10-13) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

It is for this that Jesus “gave Himself for us,” as Paul wrote to Titus (chapter 2) 14 He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”   Amen.