John 19:30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished." And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit.
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The Sixth Word from the CrossJ.R. Thomson John 19:30
To this solemn, awful moment Jesus had been looking forward during the whole of his ministry. As the ministry drew to a close he felt the approach of its consummation, and again and again gave utterance to his feelings. He knew that the hour had come, that he was about to leave the world; he had looked up to the Father and had said, "I come to thee." And now the reason for living was over, and nothing remained for him but to die. The end was marked by the brief, momentous exclamation, "It is finished!"

I. THE PREDICTIONS REFERRING TO THE MESSIAH WERE NOW ALL FULFILLED. It had been written, "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head;" "Thou hast brought me into the dust of death;" "It pleased the Lord to bruise him;" "The Messiah shall be cut off;" "I will smite the Shepherd." These predictions of the sufferings of the Anointed of God were now verified in the experience completed by the Son of man.

II. THE OBEDIENCE AND HUMILIATION OF THE SON OF GOD WERE NOW COMPLETED. His humiliation had been apparent in his taking the form of a servant, and enduring poverty and privation, anguish and contempt. His obedience had commenced with his childhood, had been continued during his ministry, and was now perfected in death, even the death of the cross. His active service was one long act of obedience, and his patient endurance now made that obedience complete. He "learned obedience by the things which he suffered." Nothing had been left undone which could prove Christ's unhesitating submission to the will of God his Father. When he had endured the cross, despising the shame, his offering of filial obedience, subjection, and consecration was ready to be presented to the Father by whose will he had come, and had endured all the consequences of coming, into this world of sin and misery.

III. THE TERM OF CHRIST'S SUFFERING AND SORROW WAS AT AN END. He had shrunk from no trial; he had drained the cup to the dregs. Now there was no more humiliation, subjection, conflict. He was about to exchange the mock robes of royalty, the reed-scepter, the crown of thorns, for the symbols and the reality of universal empire. The period of agony was past; the period of triumph was at hand.

IV. THE SACRIFICE OF THE LAMB OF GOD WAS ACCOMPLISHED. The one offering appointed by Divine righteousness and love was now to fulfill its purpose, to supersede the prophetic and anticipatory sacrifices of the dispensation which was passing away. The economy of shadows was to give place to that of substance. Reconciliation, not merely legal, but moral, not for Israel only, but for mankind, was now brought about by the work of the Divine Mediator. The veil of the temple was rent, the way into the holiest was opened. Provision was made for the inflowing of mercy like a mighty stream. The means were now introduced to secure the end dear to the Divine heart - the everlasting salvation of sinful men.


1. In this language we have an appeal to the Father's approval. It is to us a matter of infinite importance to know that the will of God was fulfilled to the very utmost by our Substitute and Representative.

2. We have also in this cry an exclamation expressive of Christ's own satisfaction and joy. To him it could not but be a relief to feel that the experience of pain and bitter woe to which he had submitted was now at an end. It is our privilege to suffer with him, and with him to die unto sin.

3. The hearer of the gospel may in these words welcome an assurance that redemption has been wrought, that the ransom has been paid, that salvation may now be published to all mankind through the once crucified and now glorified Redeemer. - T.

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar.
He wished to die sober, so He refused the wine, intended to deaden pain; but the vinegar was an insult. He took it, nevertheless. In some lives the saccharine seems to predominate. Life is sunshine on a bank of flowers. But in others there are not so many sugars as acids. A man who is always well cannot sympathize with the sick. But the fact that Christ took the vinegar makes Him able to sympathize with those whose cup is filled with the sharp acids of this life. There is the sourness of —

I. BETRAYAL. Christ was hurt by the treachery of Judas. There was one friend on whom you put especial stress. After he turned upon you. You were stung, and the wound will never be healed. I commend you to the sympathy of a betrayed Christ, whose friend sold Him for less than twenty dollars.

II. PAIN. Some have not had a well day for years, but you never had worse pains than Christ. All the pains of all the ages were compressed into His sour cup; He can therefore feel for you.

III. POVERTY. Well, you are in glorious company. Christ owned not the house in which He stopped, the colt on which He rode, the boat in which He sailed. He had to perform a miracle to pay a tax.

IV. BEREAVEMENT. Jesus knows all about that. He had only a few friends, and when He lost one it brought tears to His eyes.

V. THE DEATH HOUR. Christ knows what it is to leave this beautiful world. He died physicianless and in agony. Application:

1. To all those to whom life has been an acerbity, I preach the omnipotent sympathy of Christ. Do not carry your ills alone. When you have any trouble, take it to Jesus, knowing that for our sakes He took the vinegar.

2. My utterance is almost choked at the thought that people refuse this Divine sympathy, and drink their own vinegar.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

He said, It is finished.

1. As the Incarnate Son of God.

2. Of poverty and toil.

3. Of weariness, hunger, and temptation.

4. Of holy obedience and usefulness.

5. Of grief and pain.


1. The promises beginning with that at the Fall.

2. The covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Israel.

3. The prophecies.

4. The types.


1. Every obstacle was removed, symbolized by the rending of the veil.

2. The way of mercy was opened.

IV. THIS CRY COMPREHENDS THE FUTURE, AS WELL AS THE PAST. As the oak is contained in the acorn, as the fruit is wrapped up in the blossom, so the fruits of Christ's redeeming work were contained in the death of the cross.

(W. T. Bull, B. A.)

1. It is but one word in the original; but in that one word is contained the sum of all joy, the very spirit of all Divine consolation. The ancient Greeks reckoned it their excellency to speak much in a little, to give a sea of matter in a drop of language. What they only sought is here found.

2. According to the principal scope of the place we observe that Jesus Christ hath perfected and completely finished the great work of redemption, committed to Him by God the Father. To this great truth the Apostle gives a full testimony (Hebrews 10:14). And to the same purpose Christ speaks (John 17:4).

I. WHAT WAS THE WORK WHICH CHRIST FINISHED BY HIS DEATH? The fulfilling the whole law of God in our room and for our redemption, as a Surety for us. The law is a glorious thing; the holiness of God is engraven upon every part of it. It cursed every one that continued not in all things contained therein (Galatians 3:10). Two things, therefore, were required in him that should perfectly fulfil it, and both found only in our Surety.

1. A subjective perfection. Perfect working always follows a perfect being. That He might therefore finish this great work, lo! in what shining and perfect holiness was He produced! (Luke 1:35. Hebrews 7:26). So that the law could have no exception against His person.

2. An effective perfection, or a perfection of working and obeying. This Christ had (Matthew 3:15). He did all that was required to be done, and suffered all that was requisite to be suffered. And this work, finished by our Lord Jesus Christ, was —(1) A necessary work.(a) On the Father's account. I do not mean that God was under any necessity, from His nature, of redeeming us this, or any other, way. But when God had once decreed to redeem sinners by Jesus Christ, then it became necessary that the counsel of God should be fulfilled (Acts 4:28).(b) With respect to Christ upon the account of that previous compact that was betwixt the Father and Him about it (Luke 22:22; John 9:3).(c) Upon our account; for, had not Christ finished this work, sin had quickly finished all our lives, comforts, and hopes (John 3:14, 15).(2) Exceeding difficult. It cost many a cry and tear before Christ could say, "It is finished." All the angels in heaven were not able, by their united strength, to lift that burden which Christ bore upon His shoulders — yea, and bore away. But how heavy this was may in part appear by the agony in the garden and the bitter cries upon the cross.(3) Most precious. Justification, sanctification, adoption, &c., in this life flow from it, besides the happiness and glory of the life to come.


1. Obediently (Philippians 2:8; Isaiah 50:5).

2. Freely (John 10:17, 18; Psalm 40:1.).

3. Diligently (Acts 10:38; John 4:30, 31).

4. Fully. Whatever the law demanded is perfectly paid; whatever a sinner needs is perfectly obtained.


1. The infinite efficacy of the blood and obedience of Christ.

2. The discharge God the Father gave Him when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand. If Christ, the sinner's Surety, be, as such, discharged by God the Creditor, then the debt is fully paid (Hebrews 10:12-14).

3. The blessed effects of it upon all that believe in Him. Their consciences are now rationally pacified, and their souls at death actually received into glory.

IV. INFERENCES. Hath Christ perfected all His work for us? Then —

1. How sweet a relief is this to us that believe in Him, against all the defects and imperfections of all the works of God that are wrought by us.

2. How dangerous and dishonourable a thing is it to join anything of our own to the righteousness of Christ in point of justification before God.

3. There can be no doubt but He will also finish His work in us (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:2).

4. How excellent and comfortable beyond all compare is the method and way of faith!

5. How necessary is a laborious life to all that call themselves Christians (Philippians 2:12)! Imitate thy Pattern.

(1)Christ began early to work for God.

(2)As Christ began betime, so He followed His work close (John 4:31, 32; Mark 3:21).

(3)Christ often thought upon the shortness of His time, and wrought hard because He knew His working-time would be but little (John 9:4).

(J. Flavel.)

These words, whether we consider their import or the moment of their utterance, are memorable. No fiat of Godhead had ever equalled this. It comprised in it all others, whether past or future. The expression —

I. MARKS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF PROPHETIC SCRIPTURE. "Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished." The general series of prophecies to which the Evangelist refers, supply a body of evidence perfectly irresistible in favour of His Messiahship. Can it be doubtful whether the very expressions contained in Psalm 22. and 69. relate to the phenomena of the Crucifixion? The particulars cannot apply to any other kind of death besides. But the impression is yet more full when we regard the whole complexion of prophetic testimony, marking their perfect agreement with the character and temper of the Sufferer. How truly does the drawing set forth the great living Original! What, then, is the inference, but that heaven's hand guided the pencil, and mixed and applied the colours? Mere nature could not furnish such a combination; nor could the same class of circumstances ever again exactly meet. Nor does the bee, by the force of instinct, working out heaven's art, or the bird building its nest, or any natural agent performing works beyond the power of reason and the art of man, show the all-presiding intellect and will of Providence more truly than did the agents, whether human or satanic, show the presence of the all-controlling mind in this instance. They did the will of God when doing their own.


1. Admitting that our Lord came to fulfil these Scriptures, why do such Scriptures exist? Certain fore-announcements were not put into the record for their own sake, or merely in anticipation of certain events to meet in the history of one illustrious person. They might authenticate a character, but not let us into the reason and end of that character. When our Lord therefore cried, "It is finished," He must have looked back on the entire career of His mediatorial service, comparing it with that programme which He brought with Him to earth.

2. What was the true character of our Lord's obedience? His human and Divine natures make up but one Person, in all the acts of obedience He performed, beginning with His descent from heaven, and ending with His death upon the cross. The assumption of a lower nature might, and did, give a specific character to His obedience; but it was the presence of the higher nature that gave it majesty, merit, glory. Hence He came Divinely furnished for His great work. And what a career was that on which our Saviour upon the cross looked back, surveying the whole as with one glance; and, marking its faultless perfection as He had done the work of His hands on the sixth day of creation, could say, "It is finished!" No actions of creatures, no agencies even of God, as God alone, ever partook of the same characters as His.

3. There was sovereignty as well as submission. It was a voice as supremely royal, though uttered from the head crowned with thorns, and surmounted by a mocking title, as that heard in the Apocalypse from the throne of the Lamb, saying, "It is done."

III. APPLIES TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE GREAT DESIGNS OF THIS DIVINE OBEDIENCE, IN THE REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD. It has especial respect to His preceding endeavours, whether in body or mind, whether in anticipation or in actual suffering. The great body of Scripture testimony gives marked pre-eminency to the sufferings of Christ. The first intimations of deliverance gave promise of a terrific, though decisive, struggle between the father of evil and his superhuman antagonist. The typical system, from that hour to the moment in which our Lord yielded up the ghost, prolonged the same strain of doctrine, exhibited the same sign. The whole history, from Moses to Christ, is one prolonged testimony, that without the shedding of blood there is no remission. One mind is thus seen presiding over the religion of the world from the beginning. One grand principle is brought out and upheld, like its Author, without variableness or shadow of turning. The doctrine of sacrifice was the substance of faith, and the great channel of grace to the world. It was a type of the act of God, by which the covenant was finally to be ratified by the offering of Christ. Hence the atoning nature of the Messiah's sufferings was set forth by the prophets, especially by Isaiah and Daniel, provisionally at least, though not actually, agreeably to John's exclamation, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." The hour, therefore, that had arrived, showing the Lord upon the cross, was consummatory of the mighty, all-restoring plan. In that most momentous hour, every perfection of the Divine nature was glorified in Him who ordained and in Him who offered the satisfaction of the cross for the sins of the world. No further act was needed, no repetition possible; the offer could never be supplemented.

IV. DENOTED THE FULFILMENT OF THE CONDITIONS OF HIS MEDIATORIAL EXALTATION. It was expressive of the termination of His descending course, the sepulchre being only an adjunct of His Cross Everything antecedent to this was preparatory only; this was consummating. From this hour all our Lord's after glory sprang, as the harvest from the seed, to which He so beautifully likens it.

1. The first glory in order — the Resurrection — was a testimony to the truth of the text. Else how could He have destroyed death in His own Person, had not His work upon the cross been complete, had He not in that hour finished the transgression, the visible standing penalty of which was death? But the Resurrection was the proof of this fact, and that Satan had been dethroned, and the curse no longer dominant over the race.

2. His return to His own glory followed. He took possession of the throne of the universe, to display His victory, and to evince how every scheme of creature malice and opposition had not merely been frustrated, but made to advance His glory to its fulness. Then was man in Him crowned with glory and honour, and in Him advanced to personal fellowship and oneness with God.

3. But His supreme prerogative, as Mediator, was to send forth the Spirit. This was a glory far greater than the government of all things made; and as truly as the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, so did the Son send the Spirit to illumine and sanctify the world; and hence, as Christ came not to do His own will, nor to glorify Himself, so neither did the Spirit come to do His own will, or to bear testimony to Himself.

V. IMPLIED THE PROVISIONAL COMPLETENESS OF HIS ATONING REIGN. He is emphatically "the Lamb in the midst of the throne." All the doctrines, institutions, and powers of His religion flow from the sovereignty of His Cross. The only satisfying reasons for the abolition of Judaism arise hence — a fact which the rending of the veil at the moment of His death testified. The full reign of evangelical grace took date from the advent of the Spirit. Then was His truth perfectly revealed, the gifts received for man richly poured from heaven upon man, that the Lord God might dwell among them. His servants were empowered to give testimony for Him in all nations, to form the Church on His own model, to offer mercy to all men. It is as impossible there should be a fresh and more perfect administration, as that there should be a more perfect sacrifice for sin than the one He has offered. His salvation is immutably treasured up in His truth, and dispensed to faith in His Cross, which is "the power of God and the wisdom of God."

VI. THIS ONE EVENT INCLUDED AND BETOKENED EVERY OTHER. It was our whole redemption, from which every event, whether past or future, stood in the relation of an effect to its cause. It sealed redemption to all who had previously lived and died in the faith of this great event. It placed in our Lord's hands the keys of the unseen world. That hour, in its fullest sense, was entirely His own; thenceforth were all ministries His; adverse principalities and powers were spoiled; judgment was passed in heaven against the usurper; and our Lord was enthroned to carry out that judgment to its ultimate issue — expulsion and final punishment.

(G. Steward.)

What was finished? What are we to suppose that our blessed Lord meant when He spake that word? To finish, you know, is to bring to an end; and there are two ways in which things may be brought to an end or finished. A work is said to be finished when it is completed or brought to perfection. Thus in the Book of Exodus we read that "all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation was finished"; and again, in the First Book of Kings, that "Solomon built the house of the Lord, and finished it"; and again, in the Book of Ezra, that the elders of the Jews rebuilt the house of the Lord, "and finished it." In these passages, you will easily see, "finishing" means completing; and in like manner the account of the Creation in the Book of Genesis is wound up with these words: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." On the other hand, a thing may come to an end by being destroyed; and then also it is sometimes said to be finished. When Daniel is interpreting the writing on the wall to King Belshazzar, he says that the interpretation of the first word, "Mene," is "God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it." So, too, Gabriel tells Daniel that "seventy weeks are determined upon the Jews, and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins. Again the word is often used to signify merely that something is brought to an end, without regard to the nature of that end. As we read in St. Matthew: "When Jesus had finished all these sayings"; "When Jesus had finished all these parables." Thus St. Paul, in his Letter to Timothy, says, "The time of my departure is at hand; I have finished my course." Now, in which of these senses are we to conceive that our Lord on the cross said, "It is finished"? What was finished at that moment? what was brought to an end, and to what manner of end? When we look at these words along with those which come immediately after them, the first sense in which we are led to understand the word "finished" is much like that which it bears in the passage just quoted from St. Paul. So, and more completely, was our Lord's earthly course then finished-so entirely finished, that but a moment afterward "He bowed His head and gave up the ghost." The end of life — of every life, whatever notion we may be wont to form of that which is to come after — is an awful moment. It is an awful moment even in the eyes of ignorant savages. The eye no longer sees; the limbs no longer move; the heart ceases to beat; all speech, thought, feeling, are extinguished at once; and from that moment the body, the only part of the man that we see or know any more of, begins to moulder and crumble into dust. Moreover, while we are torn away from everything that we have been accustomed to love and prize and seek, we go we know not whither. Faith alone, enlightened by revelation, enables us to feel an assurance that death is not annihilation, but a change from one state of being to another. What this new state of being, however, may be, with what facilities we may be gifted in it, what we may have to do in it, whom we shall find in it, we can frame no conception or imagination. Therefore a man must be very thoughtless and heartless who could hear any one say .that his life was finished without being moved thereby to something of compassion for him who is departing, and with something of awe at witnessing this evidence and proof of the destiny which awaits himself and all mankind. But when we call to mind all that had gone before — when we think ourselves of all that Jesus had to endure, of the cruel indignities that were heaped upon His innocent head, we may understand the exclamation, "It is finished," in a further sense, as declaring that now at length His sufferings were come to an end, that His soul was about to flee away and be at rest, and that He should no longer feel wounds from the smiting, or the still more painful scoffing of His persecutors. When we look at them in this light, the words "It is finished" acquire something of a consolatory character. Even after a long and grievous illness, we at times see persons looking forward almost wishfully to the moment that is to put an end to their pangs and release their souls from the house of torment. In a still higher degree was it a joyful moment to the martyrs, when they felt that their spirits were on the point of taking flight from their earthly tabernacles; and stories are told of those who, from the midst of the flames, cried to the bystanders to pile up more fire around them, and thus to hasten the moment when their torments would be finished. Such, or akin to these, would be the feelings with which we should hear the words "It is finished" from the lips of a common man in a like situation; and such would be the meaning we should attach to them. But, as uttered by our Saviour on the cross, those words have a far wider and deeper meaning. For as His life was totally unlike that of all other men, so was His death. He did not live for Himself, or to Himself, nor as one of many; nor did He die so. Therefore that which He declared to be finished, when He was about to give up the ghost, must have been the great work, to work which He came into the world, and which was wrought by Him and in Him for all mankind. It must have been the work which, when sacrifices and burnt-offerings, and all things else, were found unavailing to reconcile man to God, He said that He came to do, and that He was content to do it with His whole heart. Already, in our Lord's divine prayer, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of our Gospel, He had said, when He besought His Father to glorify Him, "I have glorified Thee on earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." He had then finished everything that He came to do. He had finished the doctrine which He came to teach, so far as for the present He purposed to make it known. He had finished and completed the example, which He came to set before men, of a life entirely at one with God, of a life spent throughout in doing the will of God, of a life in which no motion of any other will than the will of God was ever allowed to arise in the soul, of a life which had never been sullied or disturbed by a single sinful or selfish act or word or thought. All that He came to do by action had already been finished. But His greatest trial was still awaiting Him. His work was still incomplete. The hour of the power of darkness, as He Himself calls it (Luke 22:53), was still to come. His great work was to be completed and made perfect, as every truly great work must be, by suffering. All this, then — the whole work of the redemption of mankind, the whole work which from the beginning He had taken upon Himself — does our Lord in the text declare to be finished. Even as we read that, on the seventh day, when the heavens and the earth, and all their hosts, were finished, God rested from all the work that He had made, in like manner our Saviour on the cross, having brought down heaven in all its perfection to earth, and manifested the fulness of the Godhead in the form of a Man — having thus finished this His great work — was about to enter into His rest. As God's work was the work of creating the world, and His rest was the rest of governing and guarding and upholding the world which He had created, so our Saviour's work was that of renewing man's nature, and of laying the foundations of His Church — of laying down Himself, His own Incarnate Diety and Divine Humanity, to be its chief Cornerstone; and His rest was that of watching over and directing and strengthening and sanctifying His Church and all its members. The work which was then declared to be finished was the greatest work ever wrought upon earth — a work which none but God could work, which the wisdom of God came down from heaven and dwelt upon earth in the form of a man to work, a work in which all the generations of mankind are more or less interested, and through the power of which alone can any man escape death, can any inherit everlasting life. You may feel a trustful assurance that, as Christ at that hour finished His work for you, at the cost of such bitter suffering and humiliation, so He will assuredly be ready to finish His work in you, and to enable you to finish the work which He has set you to do. For although the great work which Christ came to work was finished once for all on this day, it was not finished as when we finish a work, and leave it to itself, and turn to something else. It was wrought, even as the work of the Creation was, in order that it might be the teeming parent of countless works of the same kind, the first in an endless chain that should girdle the earth and stretch through all ages. While in one sense it was an end, in another it was a beginning — an end of the warfare and struggle which had been desolating the earth hopelessly ever since the Fall, and a beginning of the peace in which the victory won on that day was to receive its everlasting consummation. He conquered sin and Satan for us, in order that He might conquer them in us, and that we might conquer them for Him, through His love constraining, and His strength enabling us. Yes, my brethren, every one who sets himself to fight against his enemies in the way in which Jesus fought against them — by patience, by meekness, by silent endurance, by humility, by faith, by holiness, by love — shall assuredly conquer them; and every one who seeks this armour earnestly and diligently from Him, from His example, from His word, from His Spirit, shall obtain it. We know that the work has been finished, and by whom. We know who is for us; who, then, can be against us? When thus considered, our Saviour's word is a source of the greatest comfort and encouragement to the believer, who desires to die the death and to live the life of Christ, and to have Christ formed in his heart. But to him who chooses to abide in sin, and who refuses to accept the mercy and grace of Christ's atoning sacrifice, this same word, if he would but attend to it, would bring a most awful warning. For it declares that everything which could be done for his redemption has been finished, that God has done His utmost, that His mercy is exhausted, that there is no second Saviour, no new way of salvation for him; and that, if he persists in slighting the proffered mercy, nothing can remain for him but to lie weltering and rotting in his sins, dashed to and fro by the restless waves of remorse and despair. "It is finished." Was it the last expiring cry of Hope and of Peace, of Righteousness and of Truth? Did it declare that the strife of God with man; that His efforts to save man, to teach him, to guide him, to restore him, were come to an end; that He was now forsaking the world, and giving it over to the powers of Evil? Thoughts of this kind, we may suppose, must have rushed upon those who loved the Lord, who had lived under the shelter of His wings, and who had set all their hopes upon Him for themselves, for the restoration of Israel, and for the establishment of righteousness and truth, when they heard the awful word "It is finished"; more especially if they meditated on it in connection with that terrible exclamation just before — His cry to the God who had forsaken Him. Looking at the immediate aspect of things, they could see nothing else than despair, the destruction of good, the triumph of evil. Yet how wide were these thoughts from the truth! how totally opposite to it! If they could have cast their eyes forward through forty hours, they would have seen that the hour of the power of darkness was also the hour when darkness was to be conquered for ever. Even in the darkest hour, the light is preparing to burst forth; nor, when it comes, can the darkness stand against it. The mourners shall be comforted. The hungry shall be filled. The meek shall inherit the earth. The dominion of the earth shall be with the kingdom of heaven, not with the kingdom of hell. On the other hand, the enemies, the murderers of Jesus, when they heard that same word, "It is finished," would interpret it according to the lusts of their hearts. They would exult in the thought that their work was now accomplished, that they had gained a decisive victory over Him before whose word their unrighteous power had seemed to totter, and that they might hold their revels over His downfall. Their master, too — the prince of this world — did he not deem that his empire over the earth was now established for ever? Yet this also was a vain delusion, which in forty hours was scattered to the winds. For the Second Adam had not been overcome. On the contrary, He had overcome sin, wherefore death had no power over Him. It was sin that had been overcome — sin in all its forms, with all its snares and weapons; and before Him who overcomes sin, death brightens into eternal life. Such was the real state of things then; and such it will ever be. Evil may seem to be mighty for the moment; but it shall perish; for God is against it. In like manner we are led to conclude, from the prophetic accounts of the last times, that Evil will then abound and prevail and hold its revels over the earth, while Faith will be weak and rare. Evil will again think that the earth is its own, and that it has driven out Faith for ever. Yet again the hour shall come, when the whole race of man and all the creatures upon the earth will cry out with one universal, wailing cry, "It is finished." That end, however, will only be the beginning. The power and the glory and the victory will again be with the Lord of Hosts; and that which shall arise out of the wreck of the world will not he the kingdom of hell, but the kingdom of heaven.

(Archdn. Hare.)

1. There have been other great works to which the words of the text might be applied. A great man undertakes some cause. He begins with the world against him, and ends with the world on his side — he has lived to see the principle to which his soul was devoted safe and beyond dispute. The writing of a history; the discovery of a new scientific method; the reformation of a religion; the consolidation of an empire; the completion of a beneficent scheme of policy; the creation of a new school of philosophy — these things have been perfected by the almost superhuman power of a single man. What singular thoughts must arise in the minds of such men at the close of life! and we should like to think of them as offering up their work to God, saying, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do."

2. But these examples are above the level of ordinary humanity, Most of us would like to have done something before we grow old and die, but the thought may arise in our minds of the shortness and uncertainty of life. I would rather consider this subject from the point of view of the comparative certainty of human life. The probable duration of our lives may be easily calculated, and is the basis of various dealings between man and man. We have not so long to live at thirty as we have at twenty, or at sixty as we have at fifty. Time becomes more and more valuable to us, and we fear that the night may overtake us sooner than we supposed. And as a man gets on in life, the feeling that his time is short should quicken him in the service of God. Every one has felt the satisfaction of having done something. To have carried through some business which we were disposed to put off; to have paid a, debt; to have written a book; even to have answered a letter, will be a considerable pleasure to us. There is a peace of mind to a man when he is dying in knowing that he has set his life in order, and left none of the common duties of life unfulfilled. We like to have done something, not to be always about to do something. In order to a completed life —


1. There is a sense in which people cannot go against their own natures; they must supplement rather than extirpate their original qualities. This is what we mean by a man feeling his own deficiencies. Until he knows himself as he is in his own weakness and in his strength, he will be always making mistakes. And, therefore, in fixing on a plan of life a man must consider his own character, and limit himself by that. There are some things which he can do easily, some which he can do with an effort, others which he flatters himself he can do, but which he cannot do at all. For example, he may fancy that he will be a great speaker when he has nothing to say, or a great poet when he has no sense either of language or of metre. The art is to start from what he is that he may become something more, to be equal to the present while attempting things beyond.

2. And he must not dissipate himself by trying to do too many things. One work, or one kind of work, is enough for the life of most men; he is not good for much who is good for every-thing — for everything but his own occupation. One man has no definite idea of what he is going to learn, or of what he knows. Another has at once presented to his mind an outline of what he means to learn; he divides the whole into parts; he makes every part throw light on every other; he examines himself to see whether he has his facts really under control; he has a hold of his subject, and is able to say of it that he knows and can use his knowledge.

3. Then, again, there are mistakes that men make in a life of study as in other things. They go on reading and never writing, until their acquisitions have become altogether out of proportion to their power of using them, or their taste may be so fastidious, their love of minutiae so great that no considerable work could ever be executed on the scale or with the perfection which they proposed.

4. But few of us are students, and there are works of the most different kind which have to be performed often in silence by women as well as men, by the old as well as by the young. There is the care of the household or of the business. Besides the engagements of society and the blessings of family life, let us make some other interest, if we can, which may bind our days together with a golden thread, and survive the changes which the lapse of years is making. To such works we should give not only the chance thoughts, or moments, or feelings — we should look forward a little and scheme for the good of others, and not merely for own narrower selfish purposes. Then again there may be works of the most private sort — of duty and affection. It brings a man great peace at the last to have fulfilled all these trusts, not to have the words "Too late" ringing in his ears. There are many lifelong works of this kind among the poor. Many of us must have known of servants who have devoted themselves to the bringing up of a family. They, too, have finished the work which was given to them, and have gone home and taken their wages.

II. WE MUST THINK OF THIS WORK AS THE WORK OF GOD UPON EARTH, in which we are allowed to bear a part. It wonderfully clears a man's head and simplifies his life when he has learned to rest, not on himself, but on God. He is not divided between this world and another, or trying to make the best of both; he has one single question which he puts to himself, one aim which he is seeking to fulfil — the will of God. He does not care about the compliments of friends or the applause of the world. This is the ideal which the Apostle holds before us when he speaks of offering up his work to God, of presenting the body "a living sacrifice," &c. Like Christ we have a work to do which we cannot transfer to Him, but in which the thought of Him, the great Example of mankind, may be always present with us. Conclusion: There must be some broken as well as perfect lives, which, owing to accident, or illness, or early death, could never be framed into any perfect whole. There have been men of genius cut off before their time — statesmen having the promise of a great future; and there is hardly any family in which the touching question is not sometimes asked, What would he or she have been if living now? Yes; we acknowledge that there are pieces of lives which have been begun in this world to be completed in another state of being. And some of them have been like fragments of ancient art, which we prize, not for their completeness, but for their quality, and because they serve to give us a type of something which we could hardly see anywhere upon earth. Such lives we must judge, not by what the persons said, or wrote, or did, but by what they were. God does not measure men's lives wholly by the amount of work which they are able to accomplish in them; He who gave the power of work may also withhold the power; and some of these broken lives may have a value in His sight which no bustle or activity or ordinary goodness can attain. There have been persons confined to a bed of sickness who yet may be said to have lived an almost perfect life. Such persons afford examples to us of a work which at any moment is acceptable to God.

(Prof. Jowett.)

Homiletic Monthly.
How seldom can one coming to die say of anything but life itself, that "It is finished?" Our projects overlap our days, and are either never accomplished, or left to others to complete. Most will then say with Job, "My days are past," &c. But Jesus was accustomed to measure life's meaning only by its results. "My meat is to do the will of Him," &c. When, therefore, He cried, "It is finished," it must have referred to the accomplishment of that for which His life was given Him. What was the deathless purpose which absorbed the life of Jesus?

I. TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING, AND TO REMOVE ITS OCCASION. it. He seemed to gather into His own sensitive heart all the pangs which He witnessed in others. "Surely He hath borne our griefs," &c.

2. As a practical experience of those who accept the ministry of Christ and His cross, the evil of suffering is gone; it is transformed into an agency of blessing. "In all these things we are more than conquerors."


1. He wept over Lazarus. Why, when He knew that in a moment Lazarus was to be restored to life? Because Lazarus represented all the dead for whom resurrection was not a possibility until after His own death should allow him to enter and vanquish the power of death in its own realm.

2. Since then, believers in Jesus triumph over the grave, being able to say, "This is life eternal."


1. The occasion of both suffering and death. Jesus always associated sin with sorrow and death. When He healed, it was in connection with some revelation of Himself as the sin-bearer. "Thy sins be forgiven thee" was in His mind equivalent to "Take up thy bed and walk." When He cried, "It is finished," He esteemed sin as a "broken hold" upon mankind. "When he shall make his soul an offering," &c.

2. Since then, believers can experience what they confess, "Being justified by faith we have peace with God," &c. The life of Jesus only was a complete one, except as our lives are "hid in His."

(Homiletic Monthly.)

What was finished? On the heaven side, no man can answer; on the earth side, we can perhaps reach some particulars.

I. THE PERSONAL SUFFERING OF JESUS. He was now dying. We cannot pretend to define the anguish of Christ, we must be content with noting three degrees in the apparent growth of His experience.

1. Jesus had a measure of inexplicable dread as He neared His death. He kept talking about an "hour," and seemed filled with solicitude concerning it. This feeling reached its supreme height in Gethsemane.

2. Soon, however, He righted up into a fine sense of tranquility, and we hear Him saying that He was quite willing to drink the cup which His Father was giving Him; and from that time forward we hear no more of His shrinking away as if from pain.

3. And here, in this explosive utterance, He has touched the supreme degree of His satisfaction; and this cry is an outburst of self-congratulation that His terrible cup has been entirely drained. And so He sends out before an anxious universe this "loud voice" like a bulletin from a field of battle. He is all through the charge, right, safe, at rest.


1. He had met man's desperate need as a transgressor.

2. He had satisfied the law's demand in God's government.

3. He had answered every scriptural type with an antitype.

4. He had fulfilled every ancient prophecy concerning Himself.

5. Thus, in one word, Christ exhaustively discharged that entire former dispensation in a new one.

III. HIS OFFICIAL CONFLICT WITH SATAN. For this purpose He had been manifested (1 John 3:8).

1. He was the "last Adam" in order that He might take up the defeat in the Garden of Eden and reverse it into a victory (Romans 5:14).

2. This was the reason why He was made to endure the open attacks of the same adversary. He "was led up... into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil." Jesus must submit Himself to a like condition of exposure, yet He must conquer in the fight (Hebrews 2:18).

8. He had been anticipating this renewed trial for a long time. Hence He kept giving those mysterious hints of a "prince of this world."

4. At last, when He uttered this cry, He knew He had conquered His foe (Colossians 2:15). When a shout of victory like this came forth from the cross, who shall attempt to picture the unutterable dismay it must have sent into the shadows of Hades?

IV. THE GOSPEL MESSAGE. One more word to His Father — just a decorous salutation at coming; then there remained only a human body on the tree.

1. For believers, then, here is ground for confidence unwavering (Hebrews 10:12-14).

2. Per backsliders there is also a lesson here (Hebrews 11:4-6).

3. For all others, here is invitation free and full. Is anything more needed? "All things are now ready." Why does any one wait? "It is finished" — what can be wished for more?

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE JEWISH RACE HAD GONE. The offer to them was completed. Their response to it was now final. There they were gathered, the two typical groups: those who had received Him for life, and those who had received Him for death. His blood was upon both; but upon the one to the cleansing of sin; upon the other to the making indelible its stain. "His blood be on us and on our children."

II. PILATE'S OPPORTUNITY WAS OVER. When he had written that title and had had it placed upon the cross, saying, "What I have written, I have written," his position was finally taken.

III. THE MERELY HUMAN RELATIONS OF JESUS WERE FINALLY ADJUSTED (vers. 26, 27). And the final adjustment of His relations with us, and so of our social relations with each other, is at the cross. To Mary He says, "Another shall fill My place. Fill thou to the one I choose, as far as possible, the relation thou hast occupied to Me." To John He says, "Be such a son as I have been." Should we not see a consecration of all these ties of earth if we could come often beneath the cross and listen to the Saviour's last bequest? He has entrusted us to each other as with His dying breath, as with the seal of His blood.

IV. ALL THE PROPHECIES POINTING TO THE CROSS WERE NOW ACCOMPLISHED. The scrupulousness with which prophecies concerning our Saviour were accomplished is most notable in the two periods of His infancy and His sacrifice. Two references only to prophecy occur in the other three gospels. In Mark (Mark 15:28) the language of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:12) is recalled. In Matthew (Matthew 27:35) is a reference to the Psalm (Psalms 22:18). John makes four definite citations (chap. John 19:24,28,36,37).

V. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST WAS COMPLETED. He had come to mediate between God and men. For this He was both God and Man. What was between them He must take away. He must bring them together, or they were to remain separated forever. This He did perfectly, and what He did has only to be received in penitence and trust, and salvation is assured. Conclusion: Perhaps the noblest building in the world is the Cathedral of Cologne. It was designed on the most magnificent scale, so costly and vast that after the lapse of five centuries it was still unfinished. At last it was resolved to make a great effort to complete it. It was resumed as a national work. The most competent architects were obtained, the most skilled workmen in great numbers were employed, and, at last, the crowning stone was laid in the presence of a vast assemblage gathered from all Europe, and from America, with the most august ceremonies. A shout broke from that vast concourse, as the surmounting cross was secured in its lofty place, whose burden was, It is finished. I stood before that pile, that crowning triumph of architecture, with emotions of awe and wonder. I thought of the centuries of the building, in which generations of builders had toiled and passed and left it incomplete. I saw the cross everywhere wrought into the walls and ornaments, and lying outspread in the majestic outline of stone, upon that ancient square, where once had stood a heathen temple. How grand a response, I thought, to the cross of my Redeemer. It seemed some worthy rejoinder to the cry of Calvary. But there is a response grander far than the cathedral builders have given Him, the response of the lowliest sinner, coming to the Cross for pardon, opening his heart for the finished work to be wrought within him. It requires no costly offering for this, no pile of masonry, no generations of builders, and centuries, to make it complete. Now, without the delay of a minute, it may be made complete in you, because Jesus finished the great provision. It is complete. He who receives it at once is completely saved.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. IT, not this and that: all that lays the foundation of a new, eternal world of God.

II. It Is, not is being (Hebrews 10:14).


1. As a spiritual act.

2. As a mortal suffering.

3. As a triumph of Christ.

4. As the salvation of God.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

Let us consider —


1. He was God.

2. He was Man.

3. He was a Person in whom the Divine and human natures were united.

4. He was the Surety of sinners.


1. The predictions of ancient prophets concerning the work and sufferings of the Messiah were now accomplished.

2. The purposes and designs of the ceremonial law were answered.

3. The righteousness of the law was fulfilled.

4. The great end of legal sacrifices was completed.

5. The whole of the work which the Father had given Him to do was finished.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THESE WORDS WERE UTTERED. Matthew and Mark inform us, that "He cried with a loud voice;" and the same is recorded by Luke, who also adds that He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit;" but John mentions a word unnoticed by the other evangelists — "It is finished!" The manner of the Saviour uttering this exclamation did not so much consist in the sound of the voice or the strength of the expression, as in the important signification it conveyed.

1. It was a declaration of an important truth.

2. It was the signal of victory.

3. It was not the cry of the languishing or the wounded, or the dying man, but the triumphant shout of an Almighty Conqueror, "He spoiled principalities and powers" on the cross.

(W. Thorpe.)

I. Let us hear the text and UNDERSTAND IT. The Saviour meant —

1. That all the types, promises, and prophecies were now fully accomplished in Him. The whole Book, from the first to the last, was finished in Him. There is not a single jewel of promise, from the first emerald which fell on the threshold of Eden, to that last sapphire-stone of Malachi, which was not set in the breast-plate of the true High Priest. Nay, there is not a type, from the red heifer down to the turtle-dove, from the hyssop up to Solomon's temple, which was not fulfilled in Him; not a prophecy, whether spoken on Chebar's banks or on the shores of Jordan; not a dream of wise men, whether they had received it in Babylon, or in Judaea, which was not now fully wrought out in Christ. And what a wonderful thing it is, that a mass of promises, apparently so heterogenous, should all be accomplished in one person! Take away Christ from it and the Old Testament becomes an insoluble problem.

2. All the typical sacrifices of the old Jewish law, were now abolished as well as explained. Imagine for a minute the saints in heaven looking down on what was done on earth. From the times of Noah, they see altars smoking, recognitions of the fact that man is guilty, and the spirits before the throne say, "Lord, when will sacrifices finish? — when will blood no more be shed?" The offerings soon increase. Aaron and the Levites every morning and evening offer a lamb, while great sacrifices are offered on special occasions. And all the while the saints are crying, "O Lord, how long? — when shall the sacrifice cease?" David offers hecatombs, and Solomon and Hezekiah and the spirits of the just say, "Will it never be complete?" But lo, He comes who is to close the line of priests! Not now with linen ephod, &c., but His cross His altar, His body and His soul the victim, and cries, "It is finished!" — that for which ye looted so long is fully achieved and perfected for ever.

3. His perfect obedience was finished. It was necessary, in order that man might be saved, that the law of God should be kept, for no man can see God's face except he be perfect in righteousness. Christ undertook to keep God's law for His people; to obey its every mandate, and preserve its every statute intact. It needed nothing to complete the perfect virtue of life but the entire obedience of death. Our perfect Substitute put the last stroke upon His work by dying. Christ the Creator, who finished creation, has perfected redemption. God can ask no more. The law has received all it claims.

4. The satisfaction which He rendered to the justice of God was finished. The debt was now, to the last farthing, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once for all, and for ever, by the one offering made in Jesu's body on the tree.

5. Victory over the powers of darkness.(1) Sin nailed Him to the cross; but in that deed Christ nailed sin also to the tree.(2) Next came Satan. Not long was the struggle; He who is the Son of God as well as the Son of Mary, having despoiled him of his armour, having quenched his fiery darts, and broken his head, He cried, "It is finished."(3) Death had come. against Him, as Christmas Evans puts it, with his fiery dart, which he struck right through the Saviour, till the point fixed in the cross, and when he tried to pull it out again, he, left the sting behind. What could he do more?

II. Let us hear and WONDER. Let us perceive what mighty things were secured by these words.

1. Thus He ratified the covenant. That covenant was signed and sealed before, but when the blood of Christ sprinkled it it could never be reversed, nor could one of its stipulations fail.

2. His Father was honoured, and Divine justice fully was displayed. He would, as a God of love, and now He could as a God of justice, bless poor sinners.

3. He Himself was glorified. He had honour as God, but as man He was despised and rejected; now as God and Man Christ was made to sit down for ever on His Father's throne, crowned with honour and majesty.

4. The words had effect on heaven. Before, the saints had been saved, as it were, on credit. But Christ said, "It is finished," and oath, and covenant, and blood set fast the dwelling-place of the redeemed, made their mansions safely and eternally their own, and bade their feet stand immoveably upon the rock.

5. The words took effect on hell. Lost souls mourned that day, for if Christ Himself, the Substitute, could not be permitted to go free till He had finished all His punishment, then they can never be free.

III. Let us hear and PUBLISH IT.

1. TO those who are torturing themselves, thinking through mortification to offer satisfaction. Yonder Hindoo is about to throw himself down upon the spikes. Stay, poor man I wherefore wouldst thou bleed, for "It is finished"!

2. To the benighted votaries of Rome, when ye see the priests, offering every day the pretended sacrifice of the mass. "Cease, false priest, false worshipper, for 'It is finished!'"

3. To the foolish who call themselves Protestants, but who think by their gifts, prayers, vows, church-goings, &c., to make themselves fit for God; and say to them, "Stop!" Why improve on what is finished?

4. To all poor despairing souls. Ye find them on their knees, crying, "O God, what can I do to make recompense for my offences?" Tell them, "It is finished;" the recompense is made already.

5. To professed Christians in doubts and fears. We have thousands that really are converted, who do not know that "It is finished."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. As the evangel of Christ.

2. As the confession of the Church.

3. As the jubilation of the believing heart.

4. As an excitation to every work of faith.

5. As a prophecy of the last day.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

The words of dying men, says the great dramatist, "enforce attention." How much more the words of the dying God-Man. Note —


1. A great work. It is not of any ordinary or trifling act that we use this stately phrase; it belongs to what we regard as an achievement to get off our hands. And never was it more worthily applied than to the work of redemption. What is great, if that is not? The Hebrew equivalent of this expression, and which concludes Psalm 22. (from which probably our Lord took it), is the same as we have in Genesis 2:3. That voice from the cross marked the termination of a work far greater in its nature and issues than the work of Creation. It made known the manifold wisdom of God in a way which no creative acts could do. It unfolded the very heart of God, and revealed Him to be Love as well as Light.

2. A difficult work. A work may be great and yet not difficult — the Creation, e.g. — "He spake and it was done." But who can imagine the feeling of infinite relief represented by "It is finished." Christ's human nature quailed before it. "Father, if it be possible," &c. But now that the last drop has passed His lips; now that the justice of God is satisfied, He gives vent to the relief felt in these words.

3. A definite work. He knew when it was done. It had a beginning, certain well-marked stages, and an unmistakeable termination. He often spoke of it as something prescribed. "The work Thou gavest Me to do." The same is implied in His Messiahship. Ambassadors have always definite instructions. This view is needed in these days of theological vagueness when Divine mercy is panegyrized, but no positive statements forthcoming as to how a sinner is to be accepted of God. We are twitted with our theology being hard and dry, but when solid footing is wanted these qualities are preferable to quicksands and quagmires. The Saviour's work was definite in its nature, objects, and results.

4. A perfect work. A definite goal was reached, and all up to that point was perfect, and could never again be reopened or improved. And the Scripture leaves us in no ignorance of what was perfected — the Atonement (Hebrews 10:10, 14).


1. That it was finished in every view of it was manifestly not the case; for it is still in progress, and will not be absolutely finished till "the days of the voice of the seventh angel" (Revelation 10:7).

2. As a whole it was finished as a battle is finished. After the conflict at Gravelotte had raged for twelve hours, Moltke rode up to the King of Prussia and quietly said, "The battle is finished." He meant that the key of the position was wrested from the enemy, and that it was only a matter of time for his dispositions to close the struggle. So here the contest was raging fiercer than ever, and still rages: but Christ won the key of the position, and virtually secured everything.

3. In certain details it was absolutely finished. The typical system was abolished, animal sacrifices had accomplished their mission, and prophecy was fulfilled.


1. It ought to annihilate all disposition to self-righteousness. The natural man has no pleasure in contemplating Christ's work as finished. He must first be made to feel himself a helpless, worthless, perishing sinner, and then a work requiring no contributions of his will exactly suit his case.

2. We should see in it a ground of immediate peace and joy — as it was to the early disciples (Acts 2:46, 47; Acts 8:39; Acts 16:34). Jesus has done all that you need for your acceptance: nothing remains for you but to accept it, and take the comfort of it.

3. We see the pledge that Christ's work will be complete in all His people. Conclusion: This pillar of light has a frowning aspect for unbelievers. Christ's enemies were terribly frightened when He said, "It is finished." The earth quaked, &c., and the onlookers Smote upon their breasts and fled, fancying that all was finished. They were mistaken, of course, but a day is coming when it will be no mistake. It will then be finished for the ungodly; finished with prayer, mercy, pleasures of sin, everything except the wrath of God, and that will be for ever.

(James Moir, M. A.)


1. Prophecy was fulfilled.

2. The substance of the types was accomplished.

3. All was finished that was necessary to make Him a fit pattern for us.

4. All was done which God required as an expiation of sin.


1. The dignity of the Person finishing.

2. The greatness of the work.

3. God's approbation of Him and it.


1. It answers the grand scruple which is at the bottom of all our fears (Micah 6:6, 7).

2. God can now require no satisfaction from us (Isaiah 53:5).

3. It affords the strongest motive to duty and gives to duty its sweetest pleasure.

4. It encourages us to look for great things from God in this life and the next.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. A PROPHETIC WORD — all Scripture fulfilled.

II. A HIGH PRIESTLY WORD — the expiatory sacrifice completed.

III. A KINGLY WORD — the kingdom of heaven founded.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

Thirty Thousand Thoughts.
The significance of these words as regards —

I. CHRIST PERSONALLY. They indicated —

1. That His passion was accomplished.

2. That the Father's will had been perfected in the Son.

II. THE POWERS OF DARKNESS. They indicated that Christ's absolute sovereignty was established over Satan, death, and hell.

III. MANKIND. They indicated that the debt of sin was cancelled and man's atonement made. Conclusion: The saying teaches us —

1. To realize in the apparent failure of His mission the true dignity of Christ.

2. The necessity of individual co-operation with Divine grace.

3. To offer ourselves to God in living consecration.

4. To be faithful unto death.

(Thirty Thousand Thoughts.)

It is interesting to see the first outlines and drawings, the rough sketches which some of the great painters have left of their great pictures; but what are these compared with the completed masterpieces when the shade and colour have been put in and the final touch has been added! It is interesting to see the block of rough marble that has received the first strokes of the chisel, but how is this surpassed when the statue is finished and appears to breathe with life! And the pleasure of the beholder is eclipsed by that of the artist. When Palissy, after years of toil and experiment, amidst privation and reproach, at last mastered the secret, and found that his jars came out of the fire covered with the beautiful white enamel, what an intense relief he must have felt when he discovered the long-lost art! When one has undergone a painful operation and it proves successful, with what intense relief does the sufferer whisper, "Thank God! it is over now." So in this word on the cross there seems to breathe an intense relief and joy that the work which the Father had given Him was finished.

(W. T. Bull, M. A.)

means more than "ended." Five times in the course of the evangelic record Christ is said to have used the word now in question. In four instances out of the five our translators have rendered it "accomplished." We must certainly take it as conveying the idea, not simply of ending, but of ending to perfection. Some interpreters understand Christ to speak only of His life. It would, however, be little for any one of us to say in the last hour, "Life is ended" — the question will be, Is it finished? When a certain graceful queen of fashion was dying, she said, "Oh, my God, it is over! I have come to the end of it — the end — the end! To have only one life — and to have done with it — and to lie here! To have lived and loved, and triumphed, and to know that it is over! One may defy everything else, but not this!" While the listener to these words sat, not once moving her eyes from the face of her who was speaking, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," that face changed into a mere mask of stone on the pillow, gazing at her with fixed stare. Oh the difference between one who could only say, "I have ended my course," and one who could say, "I have finished it" (2 Timothy 4:7, 8). When a poet, long the pride of Germany, was writing his last work, death stopped him in the midst of it, and the unfinished manuscript was placed upon the coffin as it was carried to the grave; touching type of what might be done at every funeral! Our lives on earth are broken fragments of existence, crowded with the beginnings of things. Unfinished pictures in the studio, unfinished plans on the anvil of thought, unfinished papers on the desk, unfinished houses in the street, unfinished settlements of affairs; and the beginners of these taken away, all remind us of the difference between us and our Master. His purposes are never "broken off." In creation, though various checks, blights, and frosts are permitted, as far as His creative processes are concerned, you find that even in the smallest thing nothing is left unfinished; you meet with no unfinished insect, no unfinished flower, no unfinished "medallions of creation." "All His work is perfect;" and everything, from the shell on the shore to the star in the sky, is what He meant it to be. No one can say of Jesus Christ, in any department of His operations, that He only half does, or only almost does. What He does, He finishes. No one shall point to the cross and say of "the Man, Christ Jesus," "This Man began to build, and was not able to finish." What He did then, He did thoroughly; and it was with truth most exact and absolute that He said, "It is finished!"

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

Looking at it —


1. The wonderful composure it indicates. Dying men have often spoken composedly, but this has generally been when they have had no in. tense bodily suffering to distract them, and all quiet within their souls. But Jesus is dying in a storm. His bodily frame is sinking with agony, and as for His soul, none but Himself can form an idea of the waves and the billows that are going over it. Yet where are His thoughts? He is described in the verses preceding as calmly reviewing the predictions concerning Him, and finding one of them yet unfulfilled, providing for the fulfilment of it. What an honour is here put on Holy Scripture! And this mental composure appears yet more wonderful, when we contrast it with the agitation He manifested only a few hours before in the apprehension of His sufferings in Gethsemane. One of the most wonderful things attending His sufferings, is the amazing power of suffering He discovered under them. And where did this power come from? From His Father. And for what end? To enable Him to bear the weight of misery now laid on Him; but also that His Father might show forth in Him the boundless power of His strengthening grace. And this strength has never been withdrawn from Him. He calls it His grace, and He delights in sending it forth to the weak and suffering. He who bore with calmness the misery of the cross could bear up a whole miserable world would that world but cast itself on Him.

2. The language is that of joy also. Here is —(1) Great suffering over. The strength given to our Lord on the cross did not render Him insensible of the burden He bore there. This is not the nature of Divine grace. It enables the soul to endure suffering, but it adds to, rather than diminishes, its sensibility under it. His joy is like that you may have witnessed when the long tried Christian has been told on the bed of sickness that the hour of His release is come.(2) A great evil removed. Our Lord's sufferings were to expiate once for ever the transgressions of His people. When, therefore, Jesus sees this accomplished by Himself; we can. not wonder that even in a dying moment joy springs up in Him that must have utterance. It is like the joy a father feels who, after years of toil, has just paid down the sire that is to ransom his captive children; or like the joy of another father who has plunged into a raging sea to save his child.(3) A great work accomplished. Our Lord had not only to expiate sin for His people, He had to work out for them a complete righteousness in which they are to appear at the last before the bar of God.

3. But here is triumph also. Picture to yourselves a general maintaining an important post. He cannot move to drive away his foe, but there he is obliged to remain and sustain all his reiterated attacks. And these are renewed so often and so fiercely, that they become at last exceedingly trying to him. "I can never be beaten," he says. "My troops will never yield. But oh, that the hour were come, when I might put forth my strength, and by one blow crush that enemy." The hour does come, he strikes the blow; and as he sees his astonished foes fleeing before him, with what a mixture of joy and triumph can we imagine him shouting, "It is over; I have finished it!" There is a picture of Jesus as He is described in this text.

II. AS ADDRESSING HIS FATHER IN IT. In this light the exclamation before us takes the character of a faithful servant's language, claiming from a faithful master his well-earned recompense. The blessed Jesus is often spoken of in Scripture as His Father's servant. He seemed to take pleasure in speaking so of Himself. Now, then, when the appointed work is done, the final victory won, all the glorious purposes for which He left the heavens performed, we see Him looking up to His Father with an appeal to His Father's faithfulness and munificence. His resurrection, heavenly exaltation and joy, the diffusion and triumphs of His gospel, the salvation of His Church, the establishment of His kingdom, all enter His thoughts, and in one word He reminds His Father that they must be His, for He has paid the price of them. "I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me."

III. But there is a third party concerned in this text — OURSELVES. He muttered it in man's hearing; His Holy Spirit has recorded it in His Word. We may be sure, therefore, that He intended it for man. It speaks to us the language of —

1. Joyful congratulation. Angels came down from heaven to bid the earth rejoice when this Saviour began His work on it; He seems to have uttered this cry to congratulate His Church again now He has completed it. "And has He left nothing for us to do?" Yes, but only to seek, accept, and enjoy the salvation He has completed.

2. Of invitation. What is your soul's desire? "I want pardon," you say. "It is finished," this sentence says, and all you have to do is to go and say, "Lord, give it me." And do you want a perfect righteousness in which you may stand with humble fearlessness before a holy God? "It is finished," this dying Saviour says again. Or is it the grace of a Holy Spirit that you want to teach you, to comfort you, to strengthen you, to sanctify and guide you? Again the same voice says, "It is finished."

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

There never existed but one Being who in truth could affirm of His work — "It is finished!" Incompleteness and defect trace the most vast, elaborate and accomplished products of human genius and power. Let us consider these words as —

I. THE CRY OF A SUFFERER. Contemplate —

1. His Divine dignity. "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd and against the man that is my fellow," &c. Upon the doctrine of Christ's Deity reposes the fabric of the atonement.

2. The expiatory and vicarious character of His sufferings. "He was wounded for our transgressions," &c.

3. These sufferings were unparalleled and intense. That is a sublime sentence "on the liturgy of the Greek Church — "Thine unknown agonies."

(1)There was the physical element.

(2)There was mental agony, and what He endured in His mind who can conceive?

(3)But the soul-suffering was more intense than all.My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. The billows of God's wrath began now to penetrate His nature. When a vessel coursing its way over the ocean is arrested by a storm, as long as his gallant bark ploughs its way, and keeps its course, the mariner treads its deck undaunted by fear, confident in its strength and firmness. But let the cry be heard, "A leak! the waters are coming in!" And in a moment despair enters, and the hearts of the stern sons of the sea die within them. That was the moment of our Lord's unknown agony, when He could explain, "Save Me, O God, for the waters are come into My soul." In what else can we resolve all this mystery of agony but in the "love of Christ which passeth knowledge." Oh mystery of suffering! Oh deeper mystery of love!

4. But these sufferings now are over. Rejoice, then, that the tempest will no more beat around him, and all the sorrow, through which He leads you home to Himself, hath not one drop of the curse to embitter it. He took your cup of grief and of the curse, drank it to its dregs, then filled it with His love, and gave it back for you to drink, and to drink for ever.

II. THE LANGUAGE OF A SAVIOUR Those words speak hope to the hopeless, pardon to the guilty, acceptance to the lost. He had finished all that justice asked, that the law demanded; and opened the bright pathway for the sinner to retrace his steps back to God, and once more feel the warm embrace of his Father's forgiving love.

III. THE SHOUT OF A CONQUEROR. Christ was a man of war, our glorious Joshua was He. He met His foes on the battle field, confronted all His enemies, and on the cross He destroyed — He divested death of its sting, triumphed over Satan, the grave, and hell. Conclusion:

1. What a spring of comfort is here for the true believer amid his innumerable failures, flaws, and imperfections. What service do you perform, what duty do you discharge, of which you can say, "It is finished?" But "Ye are complete in Him." God beholds you in Christ, "wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved."

2. If Christ's atoning work is finished, what folly and sin to attempt to supplement it! Away with your tears, confessions, duties, charities, even your repentance and faith, if these things dare to take their place side by side with the finished work of Christ.

3. Let me warn you of the utter worthlessness and fallacy of all grounds of faith, and of all human hope that comes in conflict with the finished work of Christ.

4. Beware of the errors of the day, the tendency of which is to veil the light and glory of Christ's finished work, and to mislead, misguide, and misdirect souls on their way to the judgment seat.

(O. Winslow, D. D.)

It was the labour of Mr. Charles', of Bales, lifetime to procure a complete and correct Welsh Bible. His toil was very great, and wholly unremunerative. He often expressed a strong wish that his life might be spared till the work was done, and then, he used to say, "I shall willingly lay down my head and die." He lived to see it completed; and he expressed himself very thankful to the Lord for having graciously spared him, and the last words ever written by him, as it is supposed, were these, with reference to his great work, "It is now finished."

Clerical Anecdotes.
In the year 735 there stood on the south bank of the Tyne, near the retired hamlet of Jarrow, a small monastery. On the evening of the 26th of May a stillness, unusual even in that peaceful sanctuary, reigned throughout the building. The monks moved along the corridors with silent tread and solemn faces, ever and anon addressing each other in low, anxious whispers. On an humble pallet in one of the little cells lay an aged monk. His body was wasted almost to a skeleton. The sunken eyes and hollow cheeks, and quick-drawn, gasping breath told but too plainly that death was near. Beside the bed sat a scribe. A book was before him, and a pen in his hand. He had just raised the pen from the page, and as he held it ready, he looked with an expression of deepest anxiety, mingled with grief, on the face of the dying man. "Now, father," he said, "there remains only one chapter; but you speak with difficulty, the exertion is too great." "It is easy," replied the monk, in feeble accents. "Take your pen; write — write as fast as you can." Sentence after sentence flowed from the tremulous lips, and was committed to writing. There was a pause. Nature seemed exhausted. "Father," said the scribe, with anxious tenderness, "only one sentence is now wanting — only one." In faltering accents that sentence too was repeated. "It is finished," said the scribe. "It is finished," repeated the dying saint. "Lift up my head; higher yet; let me sit in my cell. Let me sit in the spot where I have been accustomed to pray. And now, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." Thus died the venerable ; and thus was completed the first vernacular translation of a portion of God's Word in this country.

(Clerical Anecdotes.)

All the Scripture prophecies which spoke of Christ's death and sufferings were now accomplished, as —

1. That He should make His entrance into Jerusalem upon an ass in humility (Zechariah 9:9, cf. Matthew 21:4, 5).

2. That He should be betrayed by one of His familiars, His own disciple (Psalm 55:12, 13; Psalm 41:9, cf. Matthew 26:23, 47).

3. That He should be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12, cf. Matthew 26:15).

4. That with this price there should afterwards be bought a field of potsherds (Zechariah 11:13, cf. Matthew 27:7).

5. That being apprehended, He should be most barbarously entreated (Isaiah 50:6, cf. Matthew 26:67).

6. That they would wound His body with scourges before they put Him to death (Isaiah 53:5, cf. Matthew 27:26).

7. That He should be put to death (Daniel 9:26).

8. That His death should be that of the cross (Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10, cf. Luke 23:33).

9. That He was crucified between two malefactors was according to Isaiah 53:12 (cf. Luke 22:37).

10. That He was to pray for His enemies (Isaiah 53:12, cf. Luke 23:24).

11. That He should have vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, cf. John 19:30).

12. That they should divide His apparel, and cast lots for His upper garment (Psalm 22:18, cf. Matthew 27:35).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I will give the Old Testament to any wise man living and say, Go home and construct in your imagination an ideal character who shall exactly fit all that which is herein foreshadowed. Remember, he must be a prophet like unto Moses, and yet a champion like unto Joshua; he must be an Aaron and a Melchisedec; he must be both David and Solomon, Noah and Jonah, Judah and Joseph. Nay, he must not only be the lamb that was slain and the scapegoat that was not slain, the turtle dove and the priest that slew the bird, but he must be the altar, tabernacle, mercy-seat, and shewbread. Nay, to puzzle this wise man further, we remind him of prophecies so apparently contradictory that one would think they could never meet in one man. Such as these, "All men shall fall down before Him, &c., and "He is despised," &c. He must begin by showing a man born of a virgin mother, He must be a man without spot or blemish, but one upon whom the Lord doth lay the iniquities of us all. He must be a glorious One, a Son of David, yet a root out of a dry ground. Now if the greatest intellects could set themselves to invent another key to the types and prophecies they could not do it. These wondrous hieroglyphics must be left unexplained till one comes forward and proclaims, "the Cross of Christ and the Son of God incarnate." Then the whole is clear, so that he who runs may read, and a child may understand.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And He bowed His head and gave up the ghost.
I. WHEN. Not till all was perfected.

1. Why?

(1)Love to His Father (John 18:11).

(2)Love to the Church (Ephesians 5:25, 26; Revelation 1:5, 6; Ephesians 5:27).

(3)Respect to the glory set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

2. The lessons this teaches.

(1)Confidence in the benefit purchased.

(a)The wrath of God is appeased (Romans 5:9).

(b)The law is satisfied (Galatians 4:4, 5).

(c)Satan is vanquished (John 12:31).

(d)Guilt is removed (Ephesians 1:7).

(e)Sin is subdued (Romans 6:6).

(f)Death is unstinged (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

(g)The curse is removed (Galatians 3:13).

(2)Perseverance in duty that when we come to die we may be able to say John 17:4; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

(3)Comfort in death. It finishes all our labours and sorrows, as Christ shows when He gave up the ghost (Isaiah 57:2).

II. How?

1. Freely and willingly. He first bowed His head in resignation, or as beckoning death to come and do its office, and then yielded up the ghost. Wicked men, because they die against their wills, their souls may be said to be taken away (Luke 12:20; Job 27:8). In Christ's death, while there was much of violence, there was no coercion.

2. Why Christ was so willing to die.

(1)Out of obedience to the Father (Luke 22:37; Luke 24:46; John 10:18).

(2)Out of love to us (Matthew 20:28).

(3)To finish His labours. Death was Christ's last enemy.

(4)To complete His triumph (Hebrews 2:14; Colossians 2:15).

(5)To enter into His glory.


1. To commend the love of Christ to us.

2. To comfort humbled sinners. Take Christ as freely as He offers Himself. He resigned Himself to death, and will you not resign yourselves by faith?

3. Learn to imitate Christ.

(T. Manton, D. D.)


1. What is death? The dissolution of soul and body; departure from this world.

2. Christ experienced the usual accidents of death. His soul left His body and entered Hades; His body became inanimate.

3. But it is not the death of a man, but of a Divine Person — of the Lord of Glory, of the Son of God, of God. The Divine nature as little affected as the human soul. To this is due its infinite value and efficacy.

II. ITS DESIGN. In general the redemption of man, including deliverance from condemnation and restoration to the favour and image of God. This it effects —

1. By being a satisfaction to justice, a propitiation.

2. And hence He becomes our ransom by delivering us from the law and from Satan.

3. Presents us righteous before God.

4. Secures the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5. Secures access to God, and with His favour all the blessings of the covenant of grace.


1. It is our death, because it was the death of our Representative, endured in our place.

2. Hence it is also our death effectively as well as legally. It involves a death to the law, to sin, to the world.

3. It becomes a source of life; the motive for avoiding sin; the reason why we should live to God; the ground and source of our joy.


1. The great means of exhibiting the manifold wisdom, 1.e., the perfections of God — to good and fallen angels, to lost men.

2. Hence to sustain the authority of God.

3. To promote the holiness and happiness of the kingdom of God.

V. INFERENCES. The death of Christ should be —

1. The constant theme of our meditations.

2. The ground of gratitude and devotion.

3. The means whereby we should endeavour to convert the world.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

The death of Socrates, peacefully philosophising among friends, appears the most agreeable that one could wish: that of Jesus, expiring in agonies, abused, insulted, and accursed by a whole nation, is the most horrible that one could fear. Socrates, indeed, in receiving the cup of poison, blessed the weeping executioner who administered it; but Jesus, amidst excruciating tortures, prayed for His merciless tormentors. Yes, if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God.

(J. J. Rousseau.)

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