I really have a problem with “finishing.” What I’m talking about here isn’t so much a problem with “following through” as a problem with declaring a project complete and moving on to something else. Sometimes, I’ll be enjoying the process of doing a project so much that I don’t want it to be finished, because then the fun part will be over. The way I’m wired, I can always find a few loose ends that haven’t yet been tied up, and little details that can be refined and improved. I usually don’t declare a project “complete,” and just stop working on it. Most of the time, it’s a process of disconnection, almost as though I’m “weaning” myself from the project.
The upside of this kind of brain wiring is that most projects that I undertake are finely detailed works of art. The downside is that, if we’re talking about a technological project, it’s likely to be obsolete before I really declare it “finished.”
With that background, you can probably see why a concept like “finite points of conclusion” is hard for me to handle. In years past, even though I knew that Jesus said “it is finished” just before He died, I assumed that He didn’t mean that He was really finished. Perhaps He meant that His part was finished, and all we had to do now was be good people and, by our good behavior, put the finishing touches on our salvation. I’ve learned, however, that my assumption was wrong.
Look at what Jesus actually said in John 19:30:
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
Jesus DID NOT say, “It is pretty much a done deal.” Neither did He say “It is almost finished.” He didn’t say “If you work hard, someday it will probably be finished,” or “I’ve done my part, now you’re on your own.” His statement was simple yet profound and powerful: “IT IS FINISHED.” According to Strong’s, the Greek word that’s translated “finished” means “…to end, i.e. complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt): accomplish, make an end, expire, fill up, finish, go over, pay, perform.”
When Jesus said those vital words “It is finished,” He was saying that the old separation between God and man was at an end. The task of atonement was complete. Our eternal pardon was executed (as in executing, or signing, a contract). The bondage of sin was concluded, and our debt of sin was fully discharged, having been stamped “PAID IN FULL” by Christ Himself. Jesus’ death on that cruel Roman cross accomplished what no human effort could possibly do, making an end to the law of sin and death, which automatically expired when Jesus died. The great divide between God and man, that we could never begin to fill in, was suddenly filled up by the finished work of Jesus Christ. By His grace, we can go over to the other side and have full fellowship with God, because Jesus paid the price of our sins, performing the act of atonement that we could never accomplish on our own.
When Jesus said those powerful words—”IT IS FINISHED”—He meant exactly what He said. The work was done, and there was nothing more to do but accept His salvation and enjoy His grace, whether we deserved it or not. We can pick and poke, and try to find some loose end that we need to tie up before He will accept us, but there aren’t any there to find. Jesus has already accepted us. All that remains is for us to accept Him.
You and I may have a hard time declaring our projects to be truly “finished,” but Jesus had no problem at all finishing His project. He said those powerful, eternal words—”It is finished”—and He bowed His head.
And He died—for you.