Last Words: “It Is Finished”

Much has been written about the last moments of Jesus at the cross—a series of historical events that were planned by God since before the foundation of the world. The prophecies about His death were fulfilled down to the detail (Psalm 22:18; 34:20; 69:21).

Looking back at all the events that took place during the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can see that the entire Old Testament, which explained in great detail the sacrifices and ceremonies needed for the atonement of sins, pointed to this one great sacrifice that was to take place at Golgotha. The sacrifice that culminated in three words: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Having lived a life of perfection, as Jesus gave up His spirit in the moments that followed, He modeled for us perfect obedience, even unto death.

When we consider the words “It is finished,” tetelestai in the original Greek, we can see something remarkable: when everything that was necessary had occurred, when every element of God’s plan was in place, the fullness of time arrived (Gal. 4:4).

It was a moment of contrasts between the old and the new. In the Old Testament, the people prepared places, objects, and elements to offer their sacrifices: the altar, the tabernacle, the utensils, and more. In the New Testament, only two things were necessary: the cross and the lamb. In the Old Testament, a cloud suddenly covered the tabernacle, making it impossible for people to enter because it was filled with the glory of Yahweh (Ex. 40:34–35) . . . But on that Friday, a different scenario emerged—instead of being filled with the brilliance of God’s glory, darkness filled the earth, causing great fear to come over everyone who was there. And at that moment, our Lord surrendered His soul; His work had been completed with perfection.

Before and After

The crucifixion marked a before and an after point in the history of the world. At the exact moment when every element of God’s plan was in place, when the sacrifice had been made upon the altar, when great darkness covered the earth, Jesus uttered the words “It is finished.” The veil described in Exodus (26:33) was torn from top to bottom, marking a new covenant between God and man. When Jesus died on the cross, He became the once-and-for-all sacrifice that would cover your sin and mine, giving us eternal life and permanent entrance to that throne of grace, to that most holy place.

Does your heart stand in awe like mine as you grasp what was happening there? The apostles and those who were present may not have fully understood all that was occurring, but today we have the full revelation of God’s Word. Through it, we can see God’s faithfulness and love for His people and for all who would believe. His holiness was satisfied once and for all, and only the perfect God-man could accomplish it.

But most clearly of all we see an astonishing model of perfect obedience, an obedience that went to the point of death on a cross. While there’s no denying the pain that Christ experienced on the cross, He always kept His eyes on the outcome, exercising an obedience that trusted the One who sent Him and who is worthy of His trust—and ours.

Students of the Cross

Andrew Murray says in his book Humility

Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilled the destiny of man, as a creature, by His life of perfect humility. His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility. . . . Believer! Study the humility of Jesus. This is the secret; the hidden root of thy redemption.1

Let’s be students of the humility of Jesus, following His example of obedience to what God shows us in His Word.

Spend each weekday leading up to Easter doing a deep dive into the “Psalm of the Cross” on the Revive Our Hearts podcast. If you’ve ever felt like God was ignoring you, you’re in good company. Jesus Himself felt abandoned, asking the difficult question, “Why?” Focus on the incredible work of Christ as Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth teaches on Psalm 22. Listen to “Psalm of the Cross.”

Andrew Murray, Humility: the Beauty of Holiness, Second Edition (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1896), 11, 23,

About the Author

Yamell Jaramillo

Yamell Jaramillo

Yamell Jaramillo is currently the content and special projects manager for Aviva Nuestros Corazones, the Spanish division of Revive Our Hearts. She loves the Word of God and passionately lives the Christian life.

Join the Discussion

Related Posts