When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Don’t you love that feeling of accomplishment when you complete a big project? You click “Save” or “Submit” or “Print” on a homework assignment. You finally put the last thing in place after a remodeling project. You fill in the last letter of the crossword puzzle or push the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle into place.
Today, we see a scene that doesn’t look like much to be proud of. It doesn’t look like much of an accomplishment. A man hangs weak and dying on a cross. He lived his life loving and teaching people. But what happened? Many hated him, and few believed him. He was rejected and ridiculed. He was condemned and crucified. In the last moments, before he dies, we might expect him to say, “I give up. My life was a failure.”
But instead, he says, “It is finished.” Everything is done! Mission accomplished! Don’t let your eyes deceive you. Jesus’ life was no failure. It was a tremendous success. He accomplished exactly what he set out to do. He achieved exactly what he needed to achieve.
He came to show perfect love to people who leave so many opportunities to love unfinished. He came to accomplish the rescue of people who fail every day to carry out the life that God has called us to live.
As he breathed his last breaths on the cross, he cried out, “It is finished.” This wasn’t a cry of defeat but of victory. It was a cry of celebration, not resignation. He did it. He met the requirements of God’s law and satisfied God’s justice in your place. He battled to the death for your soul, and he won. The proof would come three days later when he rose from the dead—a victory we will celebrate this Sunday.
Because Jesus accomplished his mission for you, sin can’t hold you. Guilt can’t grab onto you. The devil can’t accuse you. Death can’t claim you. You are forgiven. You are free. You are alive. It is truly a Good Friday.
Dearest Jesus, when I survey your wondrous cross, help me see and celebrate your victory for me. Amen.