It is Finished
Tragically, men have taken the words of the Bible out of context. Consider the following illustration. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” there was no way anyone there could have understood what He meant. Have you ever thought what the Jewish leaders thought was finished at the cross?
It was not finished for the religious leaders who crucified. I do not know how many of them heard Jesus say, “It is finished,” but they definitely thought the death of Jesus brought the finish to problems which had plagued them for many years.
The preaching of John the Baptist was the beginning of their first-century problems. When John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees in his audience, he said, “Brood of vipers…flee from the wrath to come…bear fruits of repentance…even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees…” (Matt. 3:7-10).
The death of John did not end their problems. Read Jesus’ rebuke of them in the “eight woes” of Matthew 23 to see that Jesus was even more severe. After His death, they could have taken Jesus’ words about it being finished and said, “Thank God, it is finished,” but they would have been so wrong. Bible words always have a Bible context!
It was not finished for those who thought the threat from Rome had past. Rome was very much aware of the unrest that the teachings of Christ was creating. Both Pilate and Herod knew of Him. The Jewish leaders could say, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15), but the multitudes wanted Jesus as their king (John 6:15). Those leaders might have thought that the death of Jesus would finish the threat of Roman intervention, but they were wrong. It was not finished, and in that generation, Jerusalem was leveled. Jesus’ words, “It is finished,” have a Bible concept.
It was not finished for those who thought they would never have to deal with Jesus again. We have His very words in that book which God has provided for us. That book also tells of the words and actions of those who killed Him. It is not true that His death ended it all. One day that book will be opened and these same men will face the One they crucified!
What was finished? Not the work of Jesus, for He was raised and is our mediator with God. He continues to work on our behalf. What was finished? It was the work God had given Jesus to do. Redemption, salvation, the purchasing of the church, atonement, the uniting of all men in the one glorious body, the remembrance of sin, the end of that old covenant, the destroying of the power of Satan—all that the New Testament shows has been brought to us.
Bible words always have a Bible context!