GOOD FRIDAY MORNING WORSHIP SERVICE – 7 April 2023
Sermon Text: John 19:30
Sermon Series: “Jesus’ Words on the Cross” (#4)
Sermon Video: Click this LINK to watch
I. “Finished!”: The demands of the law are all met
II. “Finished!”: The justice of God is satisfied
III. “Finished!”: The power of sin is broken
IV. “Finished!”: Your salvation is achieved!
In the past three Sundays, we’ve read and contemplated on the words Jesus spoke on the cross. And today’s message is the last one in this series. If any of you has missed any of the previous messages, I’d like to invite you to visit St Columba’s website and read them and have the Lord’s blessing.
Today, we focus on Jesus’ last words, “It is finished!”, as recorded in v. 30 of Jn. 19.
Before giving up His spirit, the Lord Jesus made His final declaration; Jesus the God-Man chose this announcement as His last and concluding words. Let me tell you that Jesus opened His mouth on the cross and every word He spoke was chosen to reveal His profound truth and grace of salvation. Every word He said is like the most precious heavenly jewel and conveys the deepest treasures of heaven. Meanwhile, all sayings on the cross draw us to Jesus’ concluding word, “It is finished!” In the original language of the NT, Jesus said only one Greek word, ‘tetelestai,’ and that means, “It is finished!” With this word, Jesus sums up all truth and power of His salvation.
So, today, we’ll see what is finished and completed, what is perfected by Him, the Lord Jesus, by His death on the cross.
I. “FINISHED!”: THE DEMANDS OF THE LAW ARE ALL MET
The first thing that is finished and completed is the demands of God’s law. Every requirement of the law is met by Jesus through His perfect life of keeping all aspects of the law. According to Heb. 4:15, Jesus has been tempted as we are, yet sinned not, meaning that despite temptations in every respect, He broke nothing of God’s law. He hated no one, not even in His heart; He never swore, not even in His heart; His heart held no lustful thoughts; not a word slipped from His lips nor was embraced in His heart. Every part of His being – His mind, heart, body and spirit – in every second of His life focused on bringing glory to God! That’s what He declared on the cross, “It is finished!”
Hearing this, someone might say, ‘So what? What is that to me?’ In fact, that’s a great question because Jesus’ perfect life that satisfied all requirements of God’s law means something absolutely great to us, sinners.
Saying “It is finished!”, Jesus announced the end of the era of sin and death and the beginning of a new era of life. Now is the time that man does not have to be a slave to sin and die. Instead, the way to freedom from sin and death is opened and everyone is invited. Jesus declares that He has made this freedom available for sinners.
Prior to this announcement of Jesus, every human being was under the headship of Adam; everyone belonged to Adam who fell in sin, thus, everyone in his posterity was (and still is) born in sin. There was no way of escaping from that racial fate. But, Jesus is the new head of a new race. The sinless One of God has met all demands of the law in spite of sin’s temptations.
Compare Jesus with Adam, the heads of each race. Adam began from God’s perfect and sinless garden but fell in sin and caused all in his race to be born and die in sin. But Jesus is completely opposite. He was born without sin like Adam but came into this fallen world, and faced every form of sin’s temptation, but He did not give a foothold to sin. Instead, He remained sinless before God by keeping all aspects of the law.
As Adam started his sinful race, the sinless Jesus has now begun a new race. This is what Jesus means when He says, “It is finished!” – the old is gone and the new has come! Jesus is the Head of this new living race, and this new and living race is of those who come to Jesus in repentance of sins and faith in the Saviour, Jesus Christ.
II. “FINISHED!” – THE JUSTICE OF GOD IS SATISFIED
Moreover, this announcement, “It is finished!”, points out that Jesus has satisfied the justice of God through His death on the cross.
Everyone has this idea of justice. Simply put, if anyone is offended, the offender must pay for the offence made and the offended should be recompensed, thus, satisfied. That is justice. If any part of this justice is not met, we call it injustice.
So, Jesus declares by saying “It is finished!” that man’s offence made to God is paid off and the offended God is satisfied. By His death on the cross, man’s guilt is atoned for or expiated or covered, thus, God’s justice is satisfied.
Then, we should ask a question – ‘Did Jesus offend God and so pays His due price for the offence He made?’ The answer is, no. As we’ve considered a minute ago, Jesus was sinless; He had never offended God at all. Then, why did Jesus die and pay the price for sin? For whose offence did Jesus give up His life? The answer is, for the offence you and I made, for your sins and mine! For us, Jesus gave His life up; to pay the price of the offence we made to God, Jesus the sinless God-Man died.
I said, Jesus the sinless God-Man died. And that’s exactly why Jesus had to die. He died as a man but not as an ordinary man but as the representative of sinners like us. That’s because man sinned against God, man must pay the due price for his offence. But because our offence is made to the infinite and eternal God, we who are finite can never pay off what we’ve caused in our offence. Imagine that you’ve slapped King Charles in the face in public. What might be the implications of your offence made to this king? What should be your payment to your offence? It must match the office of king and its dignity. That is justice.
But God’s justice cannot be met because we can never pay off the due penalty for our offence. The best we have is our life, and even by our life, God’s justice cannot be satisfied. So, sinners pay their due penalty in hell after their death for the rest of eternity.
To meet the justice of God, to satisfy the offended God, someone whose worth is infinite and eternal must die and pay the due penalty. This is why Jesus died. The God-Man died and cancelled the wrath of God against sinners like you and me.
This is what Jesus means when He cried out and said on the cross, “It is finished!” With His death, a perfect and complete payment is made; through His death, justice is met and God no longer is angry toward us for whom Jesus died. God’s judgment due for sinners is no longer our lot; all who believe in Jesus Christ are exempt from the impending judgment because Jesus has already paid it! This is what the Lord Jesus finished or done!
III. “FINISHED!” – THE POWER OF SIN IS BROKEN
So far, we’ve heard that sinless Jesus has begun a new race with those who believe, and by giving His life up, the sinless God-Man, Jesus Christ, has satisfied the justice of God. Then, what does this mean to you and me?
It means, no longer does sin have power over us for whom Jesus died. It means, Jesus has freed us from death, and Satan has lost his jurisdiction over us. Now we belong to Jesus as members of His new and living and blessed race. This is what dying Saviour Jesus pronounced, “It is finished!” Yes, you and I and all who believe in the Lord Jesus are now in Jesus, not under the power of sin, not under the sting of death. His work of moving us from sin’s death to Jesus’ life is ‘finished’!
One of the implications of this for us Christians is our ability to recognise sin. Our spiritual eyes are opened now, and distinguish what is good from what is evil. Although we lack in living up to what our spiritual eyes recognise, our new Christian conscience tells us light from darkness, points out to us which is the narrow way and what is the wide way. This was completely hidden to us when we were under the power of sin. All that we followed was our own sinful desires (and this is still the way of sinners in the world). And our own pleasure was the only standard we used to uphold. But now, we know what would please God and what we ought to say and do to glorify the name of Jesus Christ, don’t we? Sin no longer has dominion over us; its power is broken when Jesus declared “It is finished!” Now, Jesus rules for us in His power of grace and life!
IV. “FINISHED!” – YOUR SALVATION IS ACHIEVED!
Then, our last point to consider today is how we should live in Jesus. The simplest answer is to enjoy the Lord’s finished work. In a word, we must live as the ones saved from eternal damnation.
This means that you and I must live as members of Jesus’ new race. You no longer are of the race of sinful Adam. I’m no longer of the curse of the sin of Adam’s race. We belong to Jesus because He has purchased us by shedding of His blood on our behalf. Having purchased means that Jesus has washed you clean of all your sins. That sin you once inherited from Adam’s race is no longer with you. Your various sins will have no power to accuse you because Jesus has already paid for all.
Living as a member of this new race means that you and I do not fear death. I don’t mean we’ve become like the superheroes in Marvel Studio movies. What I mean is that death’s sting is no threat to us any more because sin has lost its power over us. What awaits us is the glory of Jesus Christ and we will share His glory in His kingdom!
If we belong to Jesus, should we fear sin? No! Should we fear men? Again, no! We fear God, meaning, we delight in His righteousness as we live in His grace. We enjoy God’s presence only. And Jesus has achieved it all – your salvation and mine are achieved and Jesus declared it as His finished work on the cross!
So, the day Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross was the day it all began. On that day, freedom dawned for all who would come to Jesus in faith. That’s why we call the day, by God’s grace, Good Friday!
Brothers and sisters in Jesus, hear Jesus’ voice and be filled with the joy of eternal blessing as He declares that all is finished! Your salvation is achieved! ***