Why Jesus cried out “It is Finished!” – John 19
Ever wonder why Jesus cried out, “It is finished” on the cross? Well, let's discover from John 19.
Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I just love God's Word! I love reading it, and I love seeing Jesus Christ in it.
This morning, we are going to read from God's Word, we are going to observe some things from the text, we are going to apply the text to our lives and then we're going to close in a brief word of prayer.
The passage that we are looking at today from John 19. Let's hear the Word of God.
John chapter 19 beginning at verse 1,
John 19 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe. 3 And they kept coming up to him and saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping his face. 4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the temple servants saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate responded, “Take him and crucify him yourselves, since I find no grounds for charging him.” 7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?” 11 “You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” 12 From that moment Pilate kept trying to release him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” 13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s seat in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic, Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about noon. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!” 15 They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered. 16 Then he handed him over to be crucified. Then they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did. 25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. 31 Since it was the preparation day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special day). They requested that Pilate have the men’s legs broken and that their bodies be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other one who had been crucified with him. 33 When they came to Jesus, they did not break his legs since they saw that he was already dead. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35 He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. 36 For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken. 37 Also, another Scripture says: They will look at the one they pierced. 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews—asked Pilate that he might remove Jesus’s body. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and took his body away. 39 Nicodemus (who had previously come to him at night) also came, bringing a mixture of about seventy-five pounds[j] of myrrh and aloes. 40 They took Jesus’s body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the fragrant spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 There was a garden in the place where he was crucified. A new tomb was in the garden; no one had yet been placed in it. 42 They placed Jesus there because of the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby.
1. King of the Jews
There is a repeated word in John chapter 19: King. King of the Jews. The first section from verse 1 through to the beginning of verse 16, we see a contrast, Pilate presents Jesus Christ - this discovered King as the man. Behold the man, he says to the Jews. The Jews, rejecting Jesus, say no, he just claimed to be the Son of God, he's guilty of blasphemy and he must die. Pilates hands the King over to the Jew to be crucified.
2. The Death of the King
The second movement is from the end of verse 16 through to verse 24, and it's the death of the King. Above the cross that Jesus is killed on, are the words, the King of the Jews, written in different languages so that everybody can see it. As Jesus dies, He says the words, “it is finished.” He says it in the perfect tense; meaning it is finished, once and for all. A past tense event that never has to be repeated again.
3. The Burial of the King
The end of chapter 19 is the burial of the King and Jesus does get a Kings burial. His disciples, the secret ones, come and claim his body. They embalm him in a wealth of spices and then he is laid in a new tomb that has been used by no one. Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews to him at night (Jn. 3:1), is referred to in this text.
How do we go about applying chapter 19?
Are you an unbeliever? I want you to focus on those words of Jesus Christ from the cross as he declares: “It is finished.” Ask yourself the question: what was finished? And why does it matter to you? On the cross as Jesus died, he was paying a price. The price was sin a price which he didn't need to pay, but he chose to pay it on your behalf. As a substitute, the perfect-spotless Lamb of God dying for a wretched sinner just like you. Jesus Christ in rising from the grave demonstrates that God has accepted the payment that was demanded for sin. The call on your life is to repent, to put your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ that you might live this day and then forever more.
Are you a seeker? Do you hear in the words “It is finished” that sin’s price was paid in full? And you recognize that the only person who could pay the price that sin demanded, that a Holy God who's perfectly just and perfectly righteous demanded: was God himself? On the cross as Jesus dies, the perfect, spotless Lamb of God, who is none other than the Son of God; God from God, begotten and not made, of a co-equal with God the Father, were part of the Holy Trinity with the Spirit, died for the sins of man. If you are truly seeking God, you must find him in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son.
Are you a believer? Again in those words, “It is finished.” Do you recognize that the ransom has been paid for your life? Do you see that Redemption has been made? Do you see that you have been reconciled back to God? Friend, you have freedom in the cross of Christ, precisely because it has been finished, perfectly, a past tense event which is completed in its entirety which echoes through even towards the present and has current impact in our day-to-day lives and in our eternal futures. It is finished.
Let's closed in a word of prayer.
Father God, on the cross as Jesus died, he declared it is finished and it truly was. The price has been paid, a ransom has been won, redemption has been made, and reconciliation has been achieved. Help us to understand that we might see Jesus Christ and know something of his glories in ever increasing measure that we might worship him in this life, rightly even as we will worship him into the life to come. This I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
May the Lord richly bless you this day.