A Cry Of Defeat Or Of Victory?
E. Russell King
The crucifixion of Jesus, from a strictly human point of view, was the most tragic event ever to occur. In this event we see man at his worst! How could intelligent, sensitive human beings deliberately shut their ears and close their eyes to Jesus’ substantiated claims of being the Son of God and disregard the fact that He “… went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil ...” ? Acts 10:38 How could the “created” sink any lower than to attempt to destroy his Creator? cf. Matthew 21:38-39
Why did the Son of God allow this to occur? Why did He not call, as He said He could, “twelve legions of angels” to overwhelmingly defeat the evil deeds and designs of His tormentors and killers? Matthew 26:53
There are those who say the sixth saying (cry) of our Lord from the cross, “It is finished,” was a cry of defeat, that He died in disillusionment and despair, that He was overcome by the rejection of men and the shame of the cross, feeling abandoned by His Father. John 19:30 It is hard to conceive that any person who has even a passing familiarity with the Bible should entertain such a thought. It is even harder to conceive that one who professes Christianity should say that Jesus died a defeated man, failing to establish His projected kingdom. So, say they, this necessitated substituting the “church” to serve the interim preceding the eventual establishment of His kingdom and a theorized “thousand-year reign” on earth at a later victory-accomplishing event.
“It is finished,” a single Greek word, teleo, is not expressing either disillusionment, despair, or defeat, as per some misguided conjectures! (teleo — completed, finished) The cry, teleo, came from His lips after he knew “... all things were now accomplished...” John 19:28 This was not a cry of defeat; it was a cry of victory! He had successfully completed (finished) what God had sent Him to do. He was on the cross, and at the point of death, by His own will – subject to the will of His Father. He, as the Hebrew writer said, “... endured the cross, despising the shame ....” 12:2 He had, as He promised, laid down His own life willingly; no man took it from Him. cf. John 10:17-18 He knew He was paying the penalty for the sin of every man! His cry of victory was echoed in heaven by “... ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” who cried out with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:11-13
All that Jesus came to do He finished. John 17:4 Nothing was left unfinished. The prophecies were fulfilled. Luke 24:44 Redemption was attained. The kingdom was established, encompassing heaven and earth. It is on earth now according to the Holy Spirit’s declaration who, through the mouth of the apostle Paul, said the Christians in Colossae were in it. Colossians 1:13-14 It may be entered now by all who undergo the new birth, as Peter wrote, “... in obeying the truth ... being born again … by the word of God ...” John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:22-23 The condition is stated by Jesus, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved ... .” Mark 16:16 (NKJV)
To all who make this choice, the cry of Jesus, “It is finished,” is the greatest victory exclamation ever to pierce the sound waves on earth and reverberate in heaven. Make that choice this very day. Enjoy citizenship in the kingdom of heaven. –Rt. 5 Box 310-A, Keyser, WV 26726.
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