Friday, April 06, 2012

Sermon: John 19:30 It is finished

Famous last words. It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by their last words. Some famous examples include Oscar Wilde – ‘either that wallpaper goes, or I do.’ Or what about the General killed during the US Civil War whose last words were: ‘They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…’

As we look at the last words of Jesus, then, what do they tell us about how Jesus dies? In verse 30, we read: ‘When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished”, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.’

It is finished. Was this a cry of defeat, of frustration? Was Jesus saying merely, that his earthly life was over, ending in defeat? Just a week before, he had entered Jerusalem to the shouts of the crowd, welcoming him with cries of Hosanna. Now, he dies to the cries of crucify, crucify. Was it all a failure? Did Jesus cry out in despair as he died on the cross?

By no means! When Jesus said ‘It is finished’, this was his shout of triumph, the first proclamation of the gospel. The shout of Jesus is good news, because of why he dies, for you and me.

The hours of darkness had finished, Jesus had borne our sins in his body on the cross; he had suffered for our sins. And that suffering was over, complete, finished. You see, because he has taken the burden of our sins, because he was pierced for our iniquities, then we cannot suffer for them ourselves, if we trust in him.

I wonder if you’ve ever been in a shop which has a nail that sits on the counter. When you take your bill to the counter, and pay for your goods, then the assistant takes the invoice and puts it on the nail. Once it is on the nail, he is in effect saying, this has been paid; you won’t have to pay again for this.

In a similar way, Jesus paid for our sins, and took the punishment we deserved, held by the nails of Calvary, so that we can go free, our sins have been dealt with. So let’s pray that we all will know God’s forgiveness, and the joy of sins forgiven, because Jesus has borne them in his body on the cross, and it is finished!

This sermon was preached at the Good Friday service of hymns and readings in Aghavea Parish Church on Good Friday 6th April 2012.

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