When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished (John 19:30).
The site of this awe-inspiring and sobering scene is Calvary. Jesus, the Son of God, who has been nailed to a cross, is about to die after three hours of frightful agony. As He is dismissing His spirit to His heavenly Father, He declares that His redemptive work is fulfilled. At least four things were accomplished when our Lord cried out, “It is finished!”
1. “It is finished!” Prophecies concerning a redeemer were fulfilled at Calvary. Such predictions abound in the Old Testament. They begin way back in the times of Genesis when, in Eden, God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). That promise and others like it were honored when Jesus bowed His head at Golgotha, crying, “It is finished!”
2. “It is finished!” The messianic types of the Old Testament were brought to realization at Calvary. Our Lord Himself stated that O. T. writers spoke of Him. “Search the Scriptures,” He said, “for … they are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39). Observe also that after His resurrection the Saviour revealed to two on the Emmaus road the things in all Scripture concerning Himself (Luke 24:27). Abel’s offering, the altar that Abraham prepared for sacrificing Isaac, the Passover, the Levetical sacrifices, and a multitude of other incidents in the life of the Israelites foreshadowed the ministry that was accomplished at Calvary when the Saviour exclaimed, “It is finished!”
3. “It is finished!” Man’s redemption was consummated at Calvary, for the demands of God’s holy law were met at the cross. St. Peter reminds us that we “were not redeemed with corruptible things… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). The Law has been perfectly and forever satisfied in Christ’s sacrifice. Three words mark the end of its demand upon the trusting sinner and his sins: “It is finished!”
4. “It is finished!” The humiliation and suffering of Jesus ended at Calvary. This Man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief, who was smitten by God when He was brought like a lamb to the slaughter, who was wounded for our iniquities, will never again be buffeted but glory alone is now His portion. All His agony was in our behalf. He has finished the work that God the Father assigned Him. Presently in heaven He sees, not only by faith but by sight also, the answer to His prayer, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5).
These are some of the things that were fulfilled when the crucified Christ shouted, “It is finished!” “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … to the glory of God the Father.”
—E. Schuyler English
in The Pilgrim