| ||Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
Whether it's taking your final exams in school, crossing the finish line in a marathon, giving birth to a child, or hearing a long-winded preacher say the final Amen at the end of his sermon.
There's great relief involved when we finally finish something painful, especially when the pain we endured results in a greater good!
And so you can only imagine the relief Jesus had when he expressed these words in triumph!
"It is finished!"
As he was about to breathe his last breath in completing the most difficult steps of his humiliation in fulfillment of God's plan of salvation.
Which we confess in the Apostles' Creed: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born to the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
And Jesus was just about to die and be buried.
His role of the promised Messiah, first revealed to Adam and Eve shortly after the fall, almost fulfilled.
Which involved him taking on human flesh and being tempted in every point just like you and me, yet without sin.
But the final hours of before his death were by far the most humiliating of Christ's life on earth.
Where not only did he have to endure cruel beatings and Whippings.
He had to bear all the sins of the world, past, present and future, including yours and mine.us the sinless lamb of God.
Whereby he became cursed for us, to the point being forsaken by His Heavenly Father.
Can you Imagine all the sins of the world, past, present, and future, along with all the diseases of the world that are a result of sin, borne by one person?
And just how ugly and horrendous Jesus must have appeared on the cross that day.
Isaiah 52: 14 foretold that he would be disfigured beyond recognition.
And Psalm 22:6 likens Him to a worm.
No wonder Mary Magdalene thought he was the gardener when she first encountered Jesus after His resurrection.
For even though his glorified body still bore the scars of his wounds, his appearance on Easter Sunday must have been a complete transformation from his appearance on Good Friday.
Which is why the church has chosen the butterfly as symbol of the resurrection.
As well as a symbol of what happens when a sinner is born again and becomes a forgiven child of God.
Of course, we don't have a recording of these words spoken by Jesus, but when Jesus exclaimed these words, "It is finished"
Not only must He have spoken these words with great relief, but he also must have expressed these words with exceedingly great joy for what he had accomplished.
For as Hebrews 12:2 tells us, For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, thinking nothing of its shame"
A person can endure a lot of things when they have a desired goal in their mind to accomplish.
And just as Jesus endured the cross for the joy of our salvation.
So, we as God's forgiven children can endure our earthly sufferings, because of the indescribable joy that awaits us in heaven.
Where Revelation 21 :4, tells us God himself will wipe every tear from our eyes. And there will be no more death, and there will be no more grief or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away.
When Jesus said "It is finished", he was putting an exclamation point on the promise He gave in John 3: 16, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" , because of his once and for all sacrifice on the cross.
F or all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.
And if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.
Consequently, when we are about to breathe our last breath on this earth, we can say along with Jesus,
"It is finished".
Before we commit our spirits to our Heavenly Father in perfect peace, knowing we have a sure reservation waiting for us in heaven.
But, even now.
As believers in Christ, we can confidently say, "It is finished!"
For on the cross, Jesus has completed the work of our salvation, as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
And as Paul expressed in Philippians 1 :6: "I'm sure that He who started a good work in you will go on to finish it until the day of Christ Jesus"
However, the world, the devil, and your own sinful flesh will tempt to you get either so distracted by the worries and cares of this world, or weighed down by your earthly trials, that you would grow weary and faint on the on the way to your heavenly destination.
And consequently. lose your salvation altogether.
Therefore, be encouraged by these words of Christ on the cross, "It is finished"
For even though there will be times in your life that can seem a lot like a Good Friday and that God has forsaken you.
Christ's words on the cross, "It is finished", assure us that God has not forgotten us.
We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,
And nothing can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, continually repent of any sins in your life, and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
And be faithful in nourishing your baptismal faith through the hearing of God's Word and receiving the Lord's Supper.
So that when your last hour shall come, you can join our Savior in triumphantly saying, "It is finished!"
As St. Paul expresses in 2 Timothy 4:7-8,
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
And so, in anticipation of that day, we pray the words found in Revelation 22:20, Come, Lord Jesus! Amen
Because He Lives!
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