When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
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.
II. HOW AND IN WHAT MANNER JESUS CHRIST FINISHED THIS GLORIOUS WORK.
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.
III. WHAT EVIDENCE WE HAVE THAT CHRIST HATH SO FINISHED REDEMPTION-WORK.
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).
Parallel VersesKJV: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.