This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.” I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few months. Here are the six steps.
Here are the steps again:
3. Wait/Discern God’s Timing
4. Execute/Measure Progress
5. Wait/Faith & Patience
6. Receive When Harvest Time Comes
In this series, we have sought to glean life lessons from Jesus. We looked at John 5, 6, 8, 12, and 14-18. We are now in chapter 19. Let’s pick it up where we left off.
(John 19:30 KJV)
When Jesus had therefore received the vinegar, He said, it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
So what does this mean for you today? As we are in the middle of Lent, I trust these messages, about Jesus, have been blessing you. The one today will help you appreciate what Jesus did for you, even more.
1. Understanding what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished!”
Jesus said, “It is finished.” Do you know what that means? Let’s take a look at the story.
Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem. He lived most of His life as what would be considered “a normal man,” other than the fact that He never sinned. Think about that for a moment. Jesus never sinned. Not even once. This is how He became the perfect offering for our sin. He was not tainted in any way.
Under The Law, priests could not start their ministry until the age of 30. So Jesus, our High Priest, waited. Think about that for a moment. Our Savior waited 30 years to start a ministry that would only last 3.5 years. There is a message in that.
At the age of 30, He was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus then spent 3.5 years (or so) ministering in Galilee and Judea. When things got heated with the rulers of the time, He spent a few months ministering in Perea (east of the Jordan) to stay out of the clutches of the Jewish leadership. After raising two people from the dead who had just recently died, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This was different. No one could argue the fact that Lazarus was dead. The man had been dead for four days.
The resurrection of Lazarus caused Jesus’ fame to spread like wildfire. After this miracle, it is clear that the Father had done enough to prepare people to believe in Jesus’ own resurrection. So at this point, Jesus attempted to explain to His disciples what would happen to Him. He tried to tell them that He would rise again. But they did not get it.
Just days before the last Passover of His life, Jesus moved back toward Jerusalem for the end of His earthly ministry. On the way there, He stopped at Jericho to heal a blind beggar named Bartimaeus and to minister to a tax collector named Zaccheaus. Jesus then traveled to Bethany, where He stayed with His friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, during the week leading up to His death.
Jerusalem was astir because the Sanhedrin made it known that they were after Jesus. Many people thought Jesus would not even show up. But Jesus did show up. He traveled those two and a half miles from Bethany to Jerusalem every day of what we now consider “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.”
The Sunday morning before PASSOVER, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people went crazy. They threw down palm branches (where we get Palm Sunday from) and their coats and yelled, “Hosanna. Hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” That night Jesus went back to Bethany. Early the following day, He got up and took off back to Jerusalem. Jesus left before eating breakfast. He was hungry when He came upon a fig tree. It had lots of leaves but no figs (like the nation of Israel at the time), so He cursed it. Jesus then arrived in Jerusalem and cleared out the temple of the moneychangers and those selling unclean animals for sacrifice for a profit.
The next day would be a tough one for Jesus. He had to outsmart the Pharisees all day as He taught. He then had the Passover meal with His disciples (which we acknowledge as the Last Supper). Jesus told his disciples that one of them had betrayed Him. After dinner, Jesus took His inner circle (Peter, James, and John) with Him to Gethsemane for what was possibly the greatest battle of his human life: the battle within Himself. Several hours later, the battle was over, and Jesus had submitted His will to the will of the Father. Jesus was ready for the cross.
Judas came with the guards and the officials. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The remainder of that night and early into the next morning, Jesus had to endure six illegal trials – three before the Sanhedrin and three before Roman tribunals. Without any real charge, without any real witnesses, without an opportunity nor the time to prepare a defense, and without them finding any guilt at all, they condemned the only sinless human to ever live. They hung Him on a cross at 9 am. From Noon to 3 pm, the sun refused to shine because the Son of God was shining. At 3 pm, having fulfilled all prophecies and ready to pay for the sin of humanity, Jesus said, “It is finished!”
2. The debt of your sin has been PAID IN FULL!
The three English words we find in our text, “It is finished,” are actually only one Greek word. It is the Greek word tetelestai. This word has been found on old tax receipts. It means, “Paid in Full!” Once and for all, Jesus paid the price for our sin. Take a moment to meditate on what Jesus did for you.
— He paid a price you could not pay for a debt He did not owe. He came down from heaven just to make way for you to get there, and He did it simply becuase He loves you.
— Your debt has been paid. What was due has been satisfied. There is nothing else for you to do other than RECEIVE what Jesus has already done.
— You can’t work for your salvation becuase Jesus did all the work. All you can do is receive, by faith, what He already provided, by grace (unearned, unmerited, and undeserved).
— Salvation does not come by works. Salvation has been offered by grace and grace alone. We receive it by faith. Our faith lays hold of God’s grace. Once we are Born-Again, we are not working FOR grace; we work BY grace. There is a huge difference!
3. Eternal life is available because of Jesus!
You were born with a death sentence looming over your head. You were born disconnected from God with reservations to hell. This had nothing to do with what you did. You were not a sinner because you sinned. You sinned because you were born a sinner. You were born with an inheritance of sin and death. This was your nature. This was the nature and inheritance you received from Adam.
Your performance could never get you out of the situation. Striving to be good could never make you right because your issue started before you were born. YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY! So the only way for you to get out of your situation was to be BORN AGAIN!
One man, Adam, left an inheritance of sin and death. But another man came, Jesus, to get us OUT OF everything Adam got us INTO!
The Bible says, “Death comes to people because of what one man did. But now there is resurrection from death because of another man. I mean that in Adam all of us die. And in the same way, in Christ all of us will be made alive again.” (1 Cor 15:21,22 ERV).
Later in the same chapter, Paul said, “As the Scriptures say, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam is a life-giving spirit. The spiritual man did not come first. It was the physical man that came first; then came the spiritual. The first man came from the dust of the earth. The second man came from heaven. All people belong to the earth. They are like that first man of earth. But those who belong to heaven are like that man of heaven. We were made like that man of earth, so we will also be made like that man of heaven.” (1 Cor 15:45-49 ERV).
Jesus is THE LAST ADAM. There won’t be another. This is why He said, “It is finished!“
4. God did His part.
When Adam sinned, man died, not physically but spiritually. The moment Adam ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, his eyes and the eyes of Eve were opened. The Holy Spirit was removed from man. Adam and every human who was born after him was resigned to living their lives as mere men. But God was not caught off guard. God already had an answer. That answer was Jesus.
A span of time would have to pass by between Adam and Jesus. In the Old Testament, we see lots of rituals, rites, and routines. But none of that could get us out of the clutches of sin and death. Jesus was and still is our ONLY HOPE! When Jesus said, “It is finished!”, He was saying, “The journey is over. The mission is complete. The debt is paid in full. Humanity now has salvation from sin and deliverance from the fear of death.”
Jesus’ part is complete. God’s part is done. Our part is to accept the free gift of eternal life through Christ because for Him, “It is finished!” But for you, it may not be. God the Father freely offers eternal life through His Son Jesus the Christ. If you accept Jesus as Lord, God the Holy Spirit will occupy your body. He will live inside of you and lead you in the way you should go. He will reveal TO YOU the things He had prepared FOR YOU but were concealed FROM YOU until you accepted Him. Once the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to you the plans God made for you before the world began, it is then up to you to either believe, receive and pursue those plans by faith, or to choose to live as a mere human, relying on your own power, ability, and strength.
When you think of everything Jesus did for you — how He left heaven just to make a way so you can go there, how He lived as a human so He can identify with your humanity, and how He paid a price you could not pay for a debt He did not owe — you should want to live your life to the fullest. Jesus fulfilled His purpose. He was able to say, at the end of His life, IT IS FINISHED! Will you be able to say the same?
I don’t know about you, but I live my life determined to arrive at God’s overall expected destination for me. I’m not worried about dying because I have done all the dying I am going to do. I am dead in Christ. My only concern now, my singular focus, is running my race, at my pace, by God’s grace. I want to arrive at the end of my life and be able to say, like Jesus, IT IS FINISHED! I pray you live your life with the same mentality. God’s part is done. His grace has been offered. It’s now upon you to accept His Son, to embrace His grace, and to finish your course BEFORE YOU DIE!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I will never cease to give You praise for what Jesus did for me. Jesus willingly took on a debt He did not owe, for a price I could never pay. Jesus offered His blood as payment for my sin. My debt is now PAID IN FULL! Thank You, Father! Thank You, Jesus!
The very least I can do for You now is to live out the remainder of my days in submission to Your will! You brought me to the earth for such a time as this. I humbly submit to my purpose. Jesus fulfilled His destiny, and I am determined to fulfill mine. When I get to the end of my life, I want to be able to say, “It is finished!” In order to do so, I must live every day with purpose and on purpose. I declare that I do!
I will not die because I am sick. I will not die because I am old. I will only die when I am DONE! I will keep living and keep performing Your will until I AM FINISHED! Therefore, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.