Revive Our Hearts Radio

It Is Finished

Leslie Basham: A lot of suffering seems to be wasted, but Nancy Leigh DeMoss points out the suffering of Jesus was purposeful.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It’s a reminder that our suffering as followers of Christ is also purposeful. It’s also fruitful.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, April 6.

“It is finished.” Why did Jesus say this phrase on the cross? We’ll get some insight into that phrase as Nancy wraps up the series, Psalm of the Cross.

Nancy: Today we observe the day that really is at the crux of our Christian faith. That word crux is related to the word cross. Good Friday. Now if you just read the first half of the psalm that we’ve been studying this week, Psalm 22, you would say, what in the world could be good about this particular Friday, the day that the sinless Son of God was crucified by sinners, was put to death?

But what makes it good is the fact that He did it for our sin and that He didn’t stay on that cross.

Before we look back into Psalm 22, let me just read a passage from Isaiah 53 that captures this sense. Isaiah 53:10-11:

It was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring.

He was put to death but there is something beyond death.

He shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

This is a beautiful Old Testament description of the resurrection of Christ.

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous.

Praise the Lord! Because the righteous One went to the cross and bore our sin, many can be made righteous.

Ladies, that’s the gospel. That’s the gospel! Never, ever forget it. Never lose sight of it. Never let a day of your life go by that you don’t preach the gospel to yourself and remember that we have been made righteous because the righteous One suffered in our place.

Because as Isaiah 53:11-12 says,

He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

If you’re standing on anything or anyone or any hope other than, less than Jesus Christ, you have no hope at all. You have no ground on which to stand. You have no hope in eternity. All other ground is sinking sand. In Christ alone is our hope.

So we’ve seen in Psalm 22 that Jesus having been the suffering servant now anticipates in the second half of this psalm, the Resurrection. He envisions the spread of the gospel and an ever-expanding circle of blessing and worship and a growing congregation of believers among first Jews, and we looked at that paragraph in the last session, and then verses 25-29, among the Gentiles. Then in verses 30 and 31, we see the proclamation of the gospel and the expansion of His kingdom in future generations.

We’ve looked at the expansion of the gospel among the Jews. Now look with me at verse 25 of Psalm 22 as we see the gospel being proclaimed beyond the Jews, beyond the people of God, to the Gentiles. Now you say, what’s the big deal about that? Well, if you had been a Jew living a thousand years before the time of Christ and reading this psalm, there would have been a big deal to think that anyone else outside of the Jewish faith could ever have the favor of God.

It’s a prophesy that was fulfilled in Christ—the taking of the gospel to the ends of the earth and to the nations. You see in this paragraph the missionary heart of Christ who is concerned even as He’s hanging on the cross. In those last moments before He commits His spirit into the hands of His Father, He’s concerned that His Father will be known and worshiped throughout the entire earth.

It’s as if He’s saying, “Oh, God, let it happen (and it will happen) because if it doesn’t, then My death has been in vain." Now He knew His death was not in vain and that as a result of His death, the gospel would be proclaimed and many sons would be brought to glory, not only in the Jewish fold but now in the Gentile world.

Verse 25: “From you comes my praise.” He’s still praying. “From you comes my praise in the great congregation.” Just a reminder there, by the way, that true praise begins with God. It’s from Him, it’s for Him, it’s for His glory and not ours. He praises God in the great congregation. This is public praise.

Listen, your Christian faith is personal but it’s never intended to be private. We ought to be speaking, and comfortable speaking, about the gospel of Christ and the goodness of God and what He has done in saving our souls. We ought not to be shy regardless of our personality about speaking to others what God has done for His praise and His glory.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows [that is vows made in affliction] I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied (Ps. 22:25-26). 

Now that word afflicted is different in different translations, but it’s a word that means "the humble, the meek, the lowly."

Charles Spurgeon says about this phrase, “The spiritually poor find a feast in Jesus to the satisfaction of their hearts.” He’s the bread of life, the bread of the world who was given for the life of the world, who satisfies the deepest hunger and longings of our soul. So it’s an invitation to feast on Him, on Christ, the bread of life.

Now the setting of this paragraph, “My vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied.” The setting is something that Old Testament believers would have been familiar with. There was a practice that if they were in a desperate situation and a Jew would make a prayer request to God, “Lord, help me; Lord, deliver me; Lord, get me out of this situation,” they would often make a vow to God and would say, "When You do deliver me, I will come and offer a sacrifice to You. A sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice of thanksgiving."

So they would make that vow. Then the prayer would be answered, and when it was, they would fulfill that vow with a sacrifice. The sacrifice would be followed by a feast—a thanksgiving feast. You see Jews who cried out to the Lord and experienced God’s mercy and favor were not to keep their newfound joy and happiness to themselves. They weren’t even just to keep it within their own family. They were to invite others—their servants, people who were needy, the Levites, etc., to join with them in eating in this thanksgiving feast before the Lord.

You can read about these feasts in Leviticus 7, in Deuteronomy 12, and I think that’s what Jesus and the Psalmist have in mind here as they talk about “performing my vow before those who fear you. The afflicted, the humble, the lowly, the meek will eat with me and be satisfied.” He’s saying, “You have come through for Me. You have delivered Me. Now I will fulfill my vow. I’ve made the sacrifice. Now I’m going to invite others who are needy to the feast to enjoy that feast with Me.”

He tells the congregation what God has done for Him and He calls on them to join Him in giving thanks. You see, our worship is not just a matter of singing songs, holding up our hands, clapping our hands, listening to music. Our worship is to be grounded in the gospel, grounded in the cross.

If Jesus did not die and pay on the cross on that Good Friday the price for our sin, then what cause have we for worship? What reason have we to praise? What hope have we to celebrate? But He did die. He did pay the price and our worship, our joy, our praise, our celebration is a reflection of, a response to what Jesus has done for us there on that cross.

It continues in verse 26, “Those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!” or as the King James says there, “Your heart shall live forever.” It reminds me of Jesus saying in John 6:51,

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

On the cross, Jesus, the bread of life, gave His flesh, broken for us, that we might live forever. His death brings us life. With arms extended on the cross, He invited us to come, to believe, to repent, to take His sacrifice as the payment for our sin. To eat of Him—the bread of life—and to be satisfied and to live forever. Oh, what a wondrous cross! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Then He says in verse 27,

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

Remember, turn (or repent), and worship. That’s the sequence. Then He says this. "This sacrifice I’m making here, the offering of My life that I’m giving up on this Good Friday is for the sake of all the ends of the earth, all the families of the nations, that they may remember what I have done, that they may turn from their sin and worship God."

Verse 28: “For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” As Jesus was dying on that cross, that supreme act of love and sacrifice that we celebrate on this Good Friday, what mattered to Him in those final moments before He took His last breath was that His suffering would result in God’s reign and rule being acknowledged through all the earth.

Thy kingdom come was what He was praying. Kingship belongs to the Lord. He rules over the nations. He rules today. He rules tomorrow. He is the King forever and ever and ever. Jesus was acknowledging that God is the King. He is the One who rules. Because of Christ’s death on the cross and our faith in that, we become instruments of furthering His kingdom, His righteous reign and rule throughout this earth.

I was talking with a friend recently who’s going through some real hard times—a lot of issues in her life and extended family. She said,

I’m learning to recognize that in every situation of my life, what God is about is furthering His kingdom. When this is happening, I will say, "Lord, You are furthering Your kingdom through this situation. And when my daughter does this, Lord, You are furthering Your kingdom. And when this happens to me, Lord, You are furthering Your kingdom in this situation.”

We talked about some of the challenges I’m facing right now and challenges our ministry is facing. She just repeatedly throughout this conversation would say, “And the Lord is furthering His kingdom in the midst of this situation.” That’s all that matters. That’s all that matters is that His kingdom would come and His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (see Matt. 6:10).

Verse 29,

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.

The prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship. That word prosperous actually means “the fat ones.” That’s a symbol for those who are proud and self-sufficient. It’s not talking about physical size. It’s talking about those who are stuffed, and they’re stuffed with themselves. They’re self-sufficient and they don’t think they need God or anything or anyone else. They’re proud; they’re prosperous, like the Laodicean church: “We’re rich. We have prospered, and we need nothing” (see Rev. 3:17). 

That’s what it’s talking about here. The prosperous, the proud, self-sufficient ones. What will happen? They will be humbled. They will join the humble at the feet of God in worship and at the feast of Christ eating and being satisfied. All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him.

Jesus talked earlier in this psalm about going down to the dust of death. Going down to the dust refers to death. It’s saying that even in death there is hope because of what Christ has done on the cross. So the proclamation of the gospel and the expansion of His kingdom takes place first among the Jews and then among the Gentiles, the ends of the earth. All nations of the earth will come and bow down before Him.

Those who are proud will be humbled and will worship Him. Those who are self-sufficient, those who are dying will find hope because of what Christ has done. It’s the expanse of the gospel that makes a difference, it makes all the difference in the world for everyone in this world.

Then as if that is not enough, we come to verses 30 and 31 where we see the expansion of the gospel and the expansion of God’s kingdom to future generations, those who are yet unborn. Verse 30:

Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn.

Now this is, by the way, a powerful apologetic for the preaching and the proclamation of the gospel. We’re not just intended to take this for ourselves and enjoy our own salvation. We’re intended to proclaim it, to share it, to tell to the coming generation, those yet to come, to proclaim His righteousness. Another meaning of that word is His deliverance. We are to proclaim His salvation to the coming generation.

By the way, and we’re reading again this Psalm 22 written a thousand years before the time of Christ but a prophetic psalm about Christ. We see a picture here of Christ on the cross praying, not only for those who lived in His day, but for those who yet would be born and would believe in Him as a result of what He did that holy day.

Remember in John 17:20, where Jesus in that high priestly prayer just before He went to the cross said something similar. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” It’s the baton of faith being passed from Jesus’ death, from the Jews to the Gentiles as the disciples took the gospel into all the known world. It’s them telling their children and their children telling their children and them telling their children and now multiple generations later someone passed that baton on to us. Someone told us, someone proclaimed the gospel to us.

I’m so thankful for parents who proclaimed the gospel to me when I was a little girl and for the Holy Spirit who opened my eyes and gave me repentance and faith to trust in Christ as my Savior. My goal in this life is to do everything I can to tell the generation yet to come about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to proclaim it to those who are alive and to those who will be their children and their grandchildren to pass on to the next generation, future generations.

We have a responsibility not only to evangelize our generation, but to evangelize the next. Tell it to your children. Tell it to the young ones. Listen, the percentage of the younger generation coming to believe in Christ today is far smaller than it is in my generation. There could be several reasons for that, but one of the reasons surely is that we have not been faithful enough in proclaiming to the generation to come the righteousness, the deliverance, the gospel of Christ.

What’s the message? Well, we see the content of the message in the very last phrase of Psalm 22. “They shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.” That phrase can be translated, “It is finished.” That’s the message. It’s the message that Jesus gave from the cross as He realized that the sacrifice had been paid, that God’s anger against sin, God’s righteous wrath against sin, God’s holiness, God’s justice had been fully satisfied. The sacrifice had been made once and for all, and it was finished.

The plan of redemption was accomplished. There was no more offering of sacrifices, no more lambs to be brought and offered up on those altars every time somebody sinned. The sacrifice was finished. The price was paid. The gospel was accomplished. It was at that moment when He cried out, “It is finished,” that the curtain that separated men from the presence of God in the holy temple, that curtain was torn in half from top to bottom opening up access for sinners who came through Christ into the holy presence of God.

It is finished! The pivotal point, the crux of all of human history. The Lord has done it. It is finished. That is our message: the conquering, saving power of the cross.

So in this last paragraph of Psalm 22, we’re reminded that Christ’s suffering was purposeful. It was not in vain. It was fruitful. It has resulted in salvation coming to sinners and in glory and worship being given to God from all around the world—Jews and Gentiles—for one generation after another.

It’s a reminder that our suffering as followers of Christ is also purposeful. It’s also fruitful. The suffering of God’s chosen ones is part of His plan to redeem the world and to establish and extend His rule over the nations and over future generations.

As the ESV Study Bible says at this point, “The sinner’s personal story of trouble and vindication is part of the larger story of God’s redemptive work in the world.”

As I was just journaling on this psalm, meditating on it in days past, I wrote down this prayer. “O Lord, may my life be part of an unbroken anthem of praise that sounds forth into the generations to come. Keep me faithful in the race all the way to the finish line for Your glory and for Your name’s sake.”

That’s what it’s all about—coming and making personal in our own lives the death of Christ on the cross. Making sure that He is our Savior, that we have trusted Him for our deliverance and our salvation.

If that is true of you, then today truly is a Good Friday because there is the hope, not only of Jesus’ resurrection that we commemorate the day after tomorrow (Resurrection Day), but of our ultimate resurrection and our living eternally with Him. But it’s not just about our salvation. It’s about us now being bearers of the gospel—light bearers—bearers of the good news. Proclaiming the gospel of righteousness, salvation, the deliverance of Christ to generations yet to come.

What’s the message that we proclaim? It is finished. The sacrifice has been made. The price has been paid. Believe and be saved.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us why the suffering of Christ brings us hope no matter what suffering we’re going through. That program wraps up the series, Psalm of the Cross.

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