It is Finished…Finally ( A Good Friday Sermon)
The Sixth Word
“It is Finished”
John 19:30 and Isaiah 49:6
† IHS †
May these words cause your heart to dwell on the grace, the mercy, the peace that God our Father gives to you, even as by Christ’s stripes you are healed…..
A long night and day
I cannot imagine how tired Jesus is at this point, how weary, how broken. There isn’t a muscle in his body that isn’t crying out in pain, and yet, how weak he must seem.
And yet, he realizes that His work is done, for he cries out those words, “It is finished”
Part of me hears those words echoed in my dad’s voice, as we worked building stone walls on our property back in New Hampshire. We would get up early, and mix the cement in a wheel barrel, and find the rocks on the property and build these walls, four foot high or so,
At the end of the day the shoveling of sand, the fighting the wheel barrel, the carrying of stones would leave our bodies beaten, our minds weary, and then as my dad ut the last stone into place, we would hear my dad utter the words,
It’s finished. Let’s go back up to the house.
O wait, there is one more thing to do…
And we would each take a nail, and carve our initials and the date into the cement.
The hard work was finished, the creation complete, it was time to relax, to rejoice for the work is done.
The Scope of the Work
My dad, as he walked our property, would envision the walls He wanted to create. Some were retaining walls, a way to level a section of the property, and strengthen it so it wouldn’t erode away. Some were for planters, some were simply there, to divide this section from that one.
He could picture what he wanted to create, even though it could take an entire summer to make it happen. Likewise, Jesus looks at our lives, and sees what we can not see, and heals us and declares us holy and righteous.
He saw the places where we are weak, where our hearts and souls fail and fall for temptation. He sees the sins which erode our spirit, the temptations that have eroded and broken us, making us unstable and unable to grow anything.
We see this in the prophecy in Isaiah 49:16,
Always in my mind is a picture of (your lives) Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)
sees this, not just for what it is, but for what it can be. And in embracing the cross, he took on the work, and the pain and the crushing of his life, of His soul.
Jesus didn’t create a wall of stone and cement, like we did, but all his energy, all his life was for this moment, when He would build a temple made of us, as the Book of Revelation describes, A temple built of those who would trust and depend on Him, of those who would walk with Him.
We are His work of art, the recreation that is holy and righteous, not because of our won work, but because of His work on the cross, and through us, as He calls and draws more people to Himself.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus looked to the cross for the joy set before him, for this moment, when despite the agony, despite the pain, despite it all this moment when He could look and see His work, making us new creations would take place.
This is his moment, as he looks out on the Centurions, the crowds, the priests and Pharisees, people so oppressed by sin, but in a moment, even as His blood spills onto the ground, they are saved, redeemed, healed and restored.
Then He could say, it is finished, it is done. It is time to rest… almost
I said that one of the things we did when finished a job was to carve our initials into the wall. It was a sign of our pride in our work.
In that passage, I quoted from Isaiah earlier, about always seeing our brokenness, Isaiah says on God’s behalf something similar
16 See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16 (NLT)
He’s marked us as His own, He’s completed our re-creation, We are His…
Good Friday isn’t good Friday unless we realize our part in His death and resurrection. It isn’t Good Friday until we realize the declaration that “It is Finished” is talking about us, our salvation, our rescue, our being made new in Christ.
This is about you and Jesus… and His holding you, etched into His hands…
It is finished! AMEN!