Herald Journal Columns
March 1, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Experience the power in Christ’s words, ‘It is finished’
By Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord, John 9:30: When he had received his drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

I ask you to meditate with me, in this Lenten season, on the passion story, in which we will focus our attention on the central figure, the suffering Jesus.

It is finished. These words that Jesus spoke on the cross throw light on His sufferings, which, in themselves, would seem strange and unintelligible to us.

He, Himself, interpreted every new stage of His passion with a clear and concise utterance; and now that the end had been reached, He adds a brief concluding statement to dispel all darkness.

In the words, “it is finished,” He includes His entire passion from beginning to end, also His imminent death. What this death would mean to the world, He desired to indicate.

Looking upon it as an accomplished fact, Jesus now placed His seal upon the great task and travail of His soul by declaring, “It is finished.” This is the moment of the cross triumphant, the divine plan of salvation for the redemption of humanity.

It is probable that the last moments on Calvary were very quiet. Even mobs become still when death comes.

Again, our Savior raises His head and the magnificent words “It is finished” sound over the hill and world like a trumpet of salvation.

To the mob, the Scribes and Pharisees, these words must have sounded like the crack of doom. They were killing this man, but Jesus seemed to feel He had won a victory. Had they, after all, lost in their battle against the carpenter’s son from Nazareth? Yes, they had.

Each thorn in His crown was becoming a shining gem in His diadem of glory. His nails were being forged into the scepter of a king, and His wounds were clothing Him with the purple of empire.

Jesus Christ had won. The world was changed. Humanity was redeemed. Now, the eternal fate of all people of all ages would be determined by the cross.

It is finished. This is the cry of final victory. All history testifies to this fact. Since that day, the story of men is a continuing testimony of His power.

Even when they hate Him, they cannot leave Him alone. They speak against Him, they write books against Him, they live without Him. It should be very clear to us of this current day that the enemies of our Lord provide one of the greatest proofs of His living victory and power.

When all is said and done, only the emotion of love reaches beyond the grave. People do not hate the dead. Today, no one hates Napoleon, or Nero, or Genghis Khan. By their hatred of Him, the enemies of our Lord testify to His continuing power.

There are two kinds of faith in the world, the saving faith of the redeemed and the protesting faith of the unbelieving. Both are evidences of the dynamic life of our Lord in the world.

It is finished. Today, we may be tempted to say, “Lord, nothing is finished.” The clouds of hate and fear cover the world. Untold millions are still without faith in Christ. Even your church is often sluggish and cold.”

When such thoughts come to us, we must remember the full meaning of His dying cry. It meant that His work was done and that He would now be with us and His church for all time. The work of redemption is finished. It is now up to us to bring that message to the world.

It is finished. Sometime, sooner or later, we will come to our own twilight, as Jesus came to it on the cross. We, too, will face the door of death. Our Lord’s voice will call to us, and we will go with Him.

Then, there will be another morning – our own Easter, the great moment of God. By the power of His dying cry, “It is finished,” we will wake up in heaven to see, finally and forever, the full plan of God completed for us and in us.

Yes, Christ’s words, “It is finished,” are the light and strength of our life. With the power which flows from Him and His world, we, too, will endure to the end.

May God, through his Holy Spirit, impress upon our souls these great words, “It is finished,” so that we may truly experience their power in life and death.

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