Introduction: ~John 19:16-30~
The four gospels were written to cover four aspects of the life and ministry of Jesus. Each gospel writer wrote from a different perspective to a different audience. The Gospel according to Matthew is aimed primarily at the Jew, the person familiar with the Old Testament. Jesus is portrayed as Israel's Messiah, the King of the Jews.
Mark, on the other hand, is not writing to the Jew or to those who are familiar with the Old Testament. His audience is basically those people in the Roman Empire who are unfamiliar with the religion of the Jews. Jesus is portrayed as the servant of the Lord doing that job that God has sent Him to do.
Luke was written to those more intellectually minded. Luke is not writing as an eyewitness but as one who is recording eyewitness testimonies. His portrayal of Jesus is as the perfect man. The Greeks in their art and literature were always looking for the perfect man. The Gospel of Luke reveals that man.
John, the writer of the fourth gospel account, was an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. His account, different from the other three, is much more personal. The things he recorded were for the purpose of establishing the fact that Jesus was the eternal God who became a man. John wanted his readers to exercise faith toward Jesus.
So, when John records his account of the crucifixion it is very personal and, I think, moving. In ~John 19:30~, he records the last words of Jesus: "It is finished!" and then he died.
The last words of Jesus are his declaration that he did what God sent him to do.
a) The phrase which is translated in English as "It is finished!" is translated from one word in NT Greek: "tetelestai."
b) This unique Greek word in this form is used twice in our text. In ~John 19:28~, when he says, "Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled..." and in ~John 19:30~, when he records Jesus' last words.
i) It means to "Complete or fulfill what is said or what is commanded." In other words, we might say, "I did it!"
ii) Its root word can also be rendered, "To discharge a debt; to pay in full."
To understand the high price of forgiveness, the Bible uses monetary terms. We get this!
a) In ~Matthew 6:12~, Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God for forgiveness of their sins, which he called "debts." "And forgive us our debts," Jesus said.
i) We're all in debt because of our sins.
ii) We can't pay it and expect to live hereafter. So Jesus paid it.
b) In ~Mark 10:45~, Jesus came to "give his life as a ransom for many." The price that Jesus paid to set us free from sin, death, and hell was his own life!
c) In ~Romans 6:23~, Paul wrote, "the wages of sin is death." Again, the wage, the punishment, we earned is something that Jesus graciously (that is, with grace) took upon himself.
d) In ~Hebrews 4:16~, the author wrote," Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
i) Grace is getting what we don't deserve
ii) Mercy is NOT getting what we do deserve
did Jesus accomplish?
When he said, "It is finished" what is the 'It' that he finished?
a) In John chapters 13 through 18, we have a very detailed account of what took place in the upper room during Jesus' final Passover with his apostles -- what we know as the Last Supper. Where Mark covers it in just 20 verses (~Mark 14:12-31~), John takes 5 chapters.
b) In John 17 we find the prayer that Jesus gave just before going to Gethsemane. In verses 1 through 5 of John 17, Jesus explains why he was sent to Earth.
c) In verses 6 through 19, Jesus prays for his disciples. In ~John 17:6~ he says, "I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world." In verse 8 he goes on to say, "For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me."
d) In verses 20 through 26, Jesus continues his prayer, not just for the disciples, but for us who were not even born yet, in ~John 17:20~ he says, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message" and again in verse 26 he ends with more explanation of what he accomplished, "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
e) In these verses, he has told us what he has accomplished. In verse 24 of John 17 he tells us why he did it, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world."
4) This is God's eternal plan -- that you and I can get to heaven. Jesus was obedient to his Father in order to make that plan possible. The ancient Hebrews needed to make sacrifices each year to be acceptable to God, as a way of making amends for their sin. Every year, the sins of the people were rolled forward another year so that God would look favorably on them. But in ~Hebrews 10:8-10~, we read, "First he (meaning Jesus) said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" - though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first (meaning the old Law) to establish the second (which is our new covenant with God). And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." And dropping down to verse 18, "And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary."
Conclusion: What do we take from this?
a) Jesus finished his work. He completed his mission. He was obedient, even to the point of death on a cross. We need to be part of the chorus who thank him, obey him, and sing the praises of the Lamb of God who paid the price to save us.
b) In ~Revelation 5:9~, we find a new song about Jesus, "because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation."
Our debt to God has been covered. Jesus paid it all!
Dr. Rob Fuller