When a marathon runner crosses the finish line; a marine recruit completes the last requirement of boot camp; an artist brushes the last stroke on the canvas; and the baker tips the last touch of frosting on the cake; these words of accomplishment are often heard, “It is finished!” The most profound and fitting use of these three words was spoken by Jesus Christ immediately before His death on the cross, “Therefore when Jesus has received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
Jesus Christ could rightfully utter these words. He had fulfilled the prophesies of the Old Testament regarding His person, preached the gospel, performed miracles, and completed His ultimate work– salvation for believers. His motivation for His work was to do the will of the Father (Matthew 26:39), and because He loves those who are believers (Ephesians 5:2).
Sometimes those who claim faith in Jesus live contradictory to Jesus’ statement, “It is finished!” They think they must earn their way to God by doing good deeds. This mindset denies the truth of Scripture. The Apostle Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). And Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). Salvation by works devalues Jesus’ death on the cross, implying what He did was not enough to save believers.
Jesus’ death was not the end of the story. The Apostle Paul notes the significance of his death and more. “For I deliver to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). The foundation of a believer’s faith in Jesus Christ is this “good news.” A believer should remind himself daily of this and express his gratitude to God through worship, obedience, and doing the good works He has prepared for him (Ephesians 2:10).
Often a marathon runner will run another race, a marine will encounter more training, an artist with paint again, and a baker will make another cake. Christ does not need to repeat His earthly work including the cross with all of its shame and suffering. The verb “is,” was the second to last word Jesus spoke, and it was spoken in the perfect tense. Meaning “made complete” or “completely done.” In other words, Jesus Christ’s work given to Him by God was completely accomplished; is accomplishing; and will continue to accomplish until God sends Him again to earth to gather the believers (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This will not be work for Jesus but a great pleasure.