I am deeply saddened at how many Christians give a works-based answer to the diagnostic question, “If you stood before God and he were to ask you, ‘Why should I allow you into my heaven?’ what would you say?” The answers typically sound like a spiritual resume. Today we will focus on the final words of Jesus on the cross, and how these words resolved the problem of sin.
- How would you answer that question, “Why should I allow you into heaven?”
READ THE WORD: JOHN 19:23-37 (ESV)
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 25-30. Verses 23-24 and 31-37 were covered previously.)
- Reflect on Jesus’ final words, “It is finished.” How have you experienced the reality of these words in your life?
- What do the implications of the words, “It is finished,” have on your struggle against the power of sin?
- How is the final description of Jesus in verse 30 a perfect picture of submission?
RESPOND TO GOD
The message of the cross speaks to the sufficiency of Jesus. His last statement, “It is finished,” is actually a single word in the original language (John 19:30), but that word holds a limitless depth of meaning. What Jesus gasped was, “Completed!” or “Ended!” That cry from the cross announced that not only had Jesus’ suffering come to an end, but also his redemptive work was eternally accomplished. All that Jesus had come to achieve in his human life was finished. Done! We can do nothing to add to Christ’s sacrifice for our sin. His death was and is sufficient.
- Spend a minute in reflective celebration that Jesus did not just make a down payment for sin, but a full payment.