Jesus Cried, “It Is Finished!”
Thinking About Jesus on the Cross with Elizabeth Rice Handford
Looking back over my life, I’ve tried to remember a time when I could honestly say, “That’s done. I did it. Mission accomplished.” But I’m having trouble remembering any time in my life I could truly say that.
I remember my excitement when I held my high school diploma in my hand. But I knew I wasn’t finished with school, not by a long shot. College loomed in just three months. (And I didn’t realize what a lifetime of learning I faced, the books, the on-line courses, the correspondence lessons I’d take, the seminars that lay ahead of me.)
I was exhilarated when I got my private pilot’s licence, but I wasn’t near done with my flight training. Ground school for my instrument rating lay immediately ahead. And, as long as I flew, I would face annual recertifications.
You can guess the emotion I felt when I typed “The End” on the last page of my very first novel. But even as I looked it over, I remember thinking, “I can do better than that.” That very day I sat down and outlined another story. But I still have never written “the great American novel.” On the contrary, to this day, I confess that I am never completely satisfied with any thing I write. I always feel like I could do a better job of handling the holy things I write about.
But, in this Easter season, I have come to realize there is one thing in my life about which I can honestly and gladly say, “It is finished. Forever. Mission accomplished.”
And it’s because of what Jesus shouted as He was dying on the cross: “It is finished!”
What was finished? The agony that Jesus endured on the cross, tortured and mocked by unbelievers, His thirst, His broken relationship with His Father, all were ended when He took His last breath.
What was finished? Our struggle to earn our way into the presence of God. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price for our sin. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
What was finished? The plan that God and Jesus covenanted together in eternity, that the human beings whom they’d created in their own image could be forgiven for their sins, redeemed to fellowship with them forever. Hebrews 9:12 says, “With His own blood He [Jesus] entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
What was finished? Our fear of death because of our sin. Hebrews 2:14,15 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Oh, yes, looking back over a lifetime of projects never completed, there is one blessed truth about which I can shout, “It is finished!” My debt of sin was ended the day Jesus died on the cross. He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my King, and none of it of my own doing. It was finished for me the day Christ died. Now that’s something to rejoice about this Easter, and every day, for the rest of my life! “It is finished!”