By Andy Waits
Associate Pastor/Students & Recreation
“It is finished.” Few people understand the magnitude of these final words spoken by Jesus before his death and resurrection. These words have power! This little phrase may be the pinnacle of the New Testament. Often overlooked, this phrase encompasses the true meaning of Resurrection Day (Easter). American cultural-Christianity makes Easter about egg-hunting, rabbit-watching, and candy-licking. The real reason for its celebration is deeper: the gospel.
This is why Christians pause to remember the Incarnate Son of God rising from the dead and walking out of the tomb.
It is three words in the English language: It Is Finished (John 19:30). It’s only one word in the Jesus’ language, ??????????: a verb, in the perfect tense. The perfect tense conveys an action brought to completion, yet with ramifications that continue into the future. What was Jesus communicating? He was making a point that would extend into eternity: a point which has enormous ramifications for you today.
Jesus was referring to His atonement. The atonement is the work He did through His life and death to secure salvation for those who surrender their life to Him. It accomplished 2 things.
First, it brought His work to completion. No longer must we make animal sacrifices for our sin like God’s people in the Old Testament! Jesus IS the perfect sacrifice for us (past sins, present sins, and future sins). The author of Hebrews connected it, “And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
Second, the cross has ramifications that continue into the future. People today still try to earn salvation. They are confused—perhaps misinformed—believing they must do something in order to gain God’s approval: attend church, help the poor, take communion, help you neighbor, give money to charity, and the list goes on. . . . Here’s the problem: these things fall short of pleasing God because they are done by imperfect people. Jesus perfectly pleased God on your behalf by taking on flesh, coming to earth, living a perfect life, and being slain as the spotless sacrifice. All that is left for you to do is simple: Accept His finished work. Trust in it alone.
Stop living under the overwhelming pressure of trying to please God. Christ has pleased Him for you! All things you previously did to seek God’s acceptance . . . now you can do from delight, not duty. What Freedom! You don’t have to wonder if God is pleased with you anymore!
He is! Your atonement has been sealed for eternity through the blood-sacrifice of Jesus.
Surrender your life to Him, and you can live in perfect peace, knowing this: It Is Finished. Stop worrying over your eternal destiny. Rather, hold tightly to Jesus’s truth: It Is Finished.
Jesus validated through His resurrection that He was the promised Messiah. Your salvation is fully and finally complete. Apologists, such as Gary Habermas (& countless others) have solidly concluded the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact. It was God’s final stamp that secured our salvation. May this Resurrection Day be gospel-centered, and never, ever forget: It Is finished.