A Brief Meditation for the Month

July 2019

How satisfying is the feeling when an important task is completed and the one who has been employed in its performance is able to say, “It is finished.” Days, weeks, maybe months, have occupied the time, tested the stamina, and exhausted the intellect, in order to finish the project. Perhaps feeling weary but relieved: at last the work is concluded. Tradesmen, students, scientists, explorers; all feel rewarded upon the completion of some undertaking or venture, which has required their personal dedicated exertion both physically and mentally.

In the gospel of John, it is recorded of the Lord Jesus Christ, that from the cross upon which he was cruelly crucified, he said, “It is finished.” John 19:30. These words came from the lips of the Saviour, who took the place of his people, dying in their stead, under the sentence of God’s broken law. The prophet Isaiah informs us, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;…and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5–6. Having willingly and lovingly committed himself to the great task of making an atonement for the sins of his people, he suffered divine wrath, dying under the awful curse of the law. The apostle Peter expresses it thus; “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 1Peter 3:18. Christ’s atoning sufferings were of such a nature; so satisfactory and full, that Peter could write of his “once suffering.” The apostle to the Hebrews also emphasizes this important fact, writing, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:12–14. While the multitudes of animal sacrifices under the Old Testament could never atone for sin, Christ’s substitutionary death procured a complete and satisfactory purgation of sin for ever. From the cross on Calvary the triumphant Redeemer, who had experienced such incomprehensible “travail of his soul;” was “satisfied,” that he had done all that was required, (Isaiah 53:11) and announced, “It is finished.” We read concerning the Lord Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2. In a past eternity, the joy that our Redeemer was to experience as the result of his completed work, and the application of it to those for whom he suffered, was set before him. Having therefore made the required atonement for sin, and having received “the wages of sin,” (Romans 6:23) that was laid upon him, he now had the glorious prospect of seeing and embracing an innumerable multitude of redeemed and justified sinners whom he deemed to be worth suffering so much for. When our Saviour declared from the cross, “It is finished,” he was satisfied with his accomplishment.

Christ’s finished work needs nothing whatever to be added to it. It requires no improvement or modification. It is a glorious perfectly finished work. The great question for each of us is, are we satisfied with it, or are we harbouring the idea that some additional work or effort on our part, however little, is necessary to complete his unfinished work? What a dishonour and insult to Christ, to think he did not do enough! “It is finished”—what comfort is here for the anxious soul seeking acceptance with God! Yes, Christ did it all. Trust his finished work.

G. G. Hutton.