When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.