Christ Has Finished Your Salvation
Christ Finished Your Salvation
17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him and two others with him, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had a sign made and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’ ”
22 Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing., This is what the soldiers did.
25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
28 After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, “I’m thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth.
30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit. (John 19:17–30 (CSB))
Dear fellow redeemed: “It is finished.” That’s English. Jesus spoke in Aramaic. John wrote in Greek, “τετέλεσται,” “It has been completed.” Interestingly enough, that is what a merchant of Jesus’ day would write at the bottom of a bill you paid, “tetelestai,” Paid in Full.
It is finished. Do you realize how your understanding of the phrase differs from the world around us? We understand that IT, the redemption of the world, is finished. Jesus has drunk the cup given him to the very dregs and made satisfaction for the sins of men.
But the world reads it differently. The world thinks HE is finished. You’ve seen the Hollywood and Broadway spectacles that end with the crucifixion, and others that only hint at a resurrection. And it is safe to say that the disciples also looked at the death of Christ as the end of their hopes.
But John writes with dramatic irony, and we read it the same way – knowing what those in the middle of things couldn’t know. To those who lived through it, the situation must have been mystifying: How could someone who saved others not save Himself? How could one who brought Lazarus to life succumb to death?
To unbelievers today there is an even greater challenge – how to account for Jesus’ power and relevance today. If Jesus was finished on the cross, then why make a big deal about Him? Lots of people were crucified, including people who rebelled against Rome. There are numerous law-givers with compelling messages, arguably more popular than Jesus at the time. If he were to give the sermon on the mount at a major school today, His affirmation of traditional marriage alone would bring out the cry-bullies to stop Him.
If Jesus was finished on the cross, then it makes no sense to honor him or follow him. Paul pointed this out in 1 Corinthians 15:17–19 (ESV) 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But to John the crucifixion is the climax of Christ’s mission. Jesus set the tone with His words in John 3:14 ““Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,” (John 3:14, CSB)
. He was lifted up, after all, on the cross. Ironically, “lifted up” could mean “exalted.” His crucifixion was the crucial moment when the greatest sacrifice was given. Matthew recorded Jesus’ perspective, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11, CSB)
Our salvation hinges on this moment. The death of death, the conquest of Satan, and undoing the devil’s work all rest upon this moment, as Jesus Himself said, though such a “victory” as death by crucifixion made no sense to the crowds, “Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate what kind of death he was about to die. Then the crowd replied to him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah will remain forever. So how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”” (John 12:31–34, CSB)
The skeptical crowd made no sense of it. The unbelievers of today cannot explain how by crucifixion a man could rise to the heights of power, greatness and victory. Those with hearts oppressed by guilt and loneliness, by fear of death and lamentations of life may wonder how hope can be found here. But you know, and if you do not, let me tell you (or let John tell you). “He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2, CSB)
While sin earns death, righteousness gives life. Christ atoned for the sins of the world and no longer bore the sins of the world: It was finished. The crucifixion is the climax of Christ’s mission. Once death had been defeated, death could no longer hold Him. “God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death.” (Acts 2:24, CSB) In fact, Jesus Himself made clear that, having paid the price of our sin, and in all righteousness Himself, death was His choice, not the devil’s or death’s. He laid down his life in obedience to the Father to atone for the sins of the world: “This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”” (John 10:17–18, CSB)
Nor can it hold you when you by faith bear the righteousness of Christ.
Repent and believe the gospel.
Turn to Christ for He pours His righteousness out upon you. In your guilt, in your fear, each day in in the hour of death, turn to Christ for your salvation is complete, is finished. Your debt is paid in full.
Our hope therefore depends not on what we must do, but upon what was done. Our life comes not from that which is to come, but from what was done.
Christ, our Passover lamb has been slain for us, and we are free.