Christ’s Finished Work
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30, ESV)
The season’s first LPGA major championship, the ANA Inspiration, begins today. The Tournament Course at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, CA is one of the most challenging and fair courses I have played. I had a hole-in-one at the fifth, I finished in the top-10 once, and the course devoured me over many other rounds. All the players will feel the struggle over the next four days; only one will finish with victory on Easter Sunday.
Jesus’ journey to the cross was anything but easy. He was stripped, flogged, beaten, mocked, and unjustly accused. Jesus, exhausted and ready to complete his work said, “It is finished.” Jesus knew everything that was supposed to happen, had happened.
The word translated finished in our text today is the Greek word teléō. It means to bring it to perfection, to carry it through. Teléōcovers the whole work of salvation that Jesus came into the world to accomplish and finish. Let us look at four purposes that Jesus accomplished when he cried out on the cross.
Purpose #1: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). God instructed the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and use a hyssop branch dipped in the blood to cover their doorposts as a sign to pass over his people in the Exodus story (Exodus 12). It is no coincidence that Jesus hung on the cross, took sour wine on a hyssop branch, and gave up his spirit at the same time of the Passover celebration. Jesus was the Lamb, the final sacrifice, slaughtered for the sins of the world. It is finished.
Purpose #2: My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish (teleioō) his work (John 4:34). The food that motivated Jesus was not physical bread; it was the will of his father. The story of the Samaritan woman represents Jesus’ work that includes all people in the harvest. It is finished.
Purpose #3: For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish (teleioō), the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me (John 5:36). The religious leaders were more concerned with keeping the Sabbath, at all costs. Jesus ripped the curtain from top to bottom and brought healing and hope to the broken, at all costs. It is finished.
Purpose #4: And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished (teleioō) the work that you gave me to do (John 17:3-4). Heaven and earth came together when Jesus shed his blood on the cross. Eternal life, to know and be known by God, is made available to all who choose to follow Jesus. It is finished.
Before we celebrate the joy of Resurrection Sunday, we must first honor the blood-stained cross. It is finished.
March 29, 2018
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