When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
From the nature of the case this could not be more than a mere ejaculation; but the meaning is plain enough to those who wilt put their minds into a state to perceive it. Suppose you have a friend who is building a house. You had been present when the foundation was laid, and from time to time you had watched the progress of the building. At last your friend breaks in on you some morning with the cry, "It is finished!" You would know at once what he meant - that the house was finished. And your friend would presume on your part a real and lively interest in hearing the news. So too we must know a good deal of what Jesus said and did during life, or we shall fail in understanding what he said and did in the hour of death. He who said, "It is finished!" must also have had seasons in which he could say, "It is begun," "It is going on."
I. We must illustrate how JESUS LOOKED FORWARD TO A TIME FOR UTTERING THIS WORD. Recollect what he said to the disciples by the well: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Recollect also his word to the Jews after he bad healed the impotent man on the sabbath day. He speaks there concerning the works which the Father had given him to finish. Here are specimens of the peculiar and testifying works of Jesus. Here are declarations by Jesus himself of the uniting and definite purpose with which his life was bound up. What he talked of now and then he must have thought of continually. To the superficial eye, indeed, the life of Jesus did not look as if it had any definite purpose. How would he have been put down in the "occupation" column in a census record? Yet the life of Jesus was full of purpose - purpose never absent, never forgotten. The parable of the man who went away from home, leaving his money as a trust in the hands of his servants, is surely a parable out of the very depths of the Savior's own experience. To him there was given a stewardship of inestimable value. How the servant with the five talents would look forward to the surrender and accomplishment of his trust! And just in this spirit Jesus must have looked forward to the hour when he should be able to say, "It is finished!"
II. THUS IN THE INCARNATE LIFE OF JESUS WE HAVE SOMETHING COMPLETE FOR US TO PROFIT BY. Something complete! The life of Jesus was complete, just as the life of a seed becomes complete when it has gone through all the cycle of its changes - germination, budding, blossoming, formation of fruit, ripening of fruit. The very life of Jesus was a finished work. It was like a book on the last page of which "Finis " could be truly written. Here is the book of a really complete human life. What a difference between Jesus and many authors and makers of finished things! Many complete things, things that the world is agreed in calling complete and precious in their own order, were achieved by very incomplete men. Read the words of Gibbon the historian, in which he records his emotions on completing his monumental work. He has succeeded, and yet in the bottom of his heart he has somehow failed. Thousands are finishing many things, but never touching the one thing needful. We, from our life's incompleteness, should look on the completeness of the life of Jesus, and, while we look, rise into that hope and confidence which his manifested completeness is meant to give. Here is One who lived out the life of humanity according to the ideal of him who made humanity. He never needed to pray," Forgive me my debts;" for he never owed a debt he did not pay, never closed a day of life which was not as full of service as of opportunities of service. And he finished that we might begin and also finish something which, but for the finishing of his own work, we never should have had the disposition to touch. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.