It Is Finished[1]

Scripture Reading: John 19:28-30

Sermon Thrust: As Jesus finished the will of His Father in his earthly life, so also we must finish the Father’s will in our lives.


1.      Oh, the thrill of accomplishment! What a relief to complete a task successfully. Eurika! It is over! Now I can get on with other things.

2.      I wonder if that is how Jesus felt, when he spoke from the cross. John 19:28-30 says, After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ 29Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

3.      Jesus exclamation, “It is finished,” spoken after extreme suffering, must have been only slightly more than an ejaculation. With shortness of breath, and with death nearby, he quietly said, ‘It is finished.’ What did he mean by that word of ‘victory?’

I. Jesus finished many things by his death on the Cross,

A. The agony of the cross was finished

1. The agony of the cross was anticipated from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.[2]

2. The agony of the cross began while Jesus was in Gethsemane praying and sweating great drops of blood.[3]

3. The agony of the cross continued through Jesus’ betrayal.[4]

4. The agony of the cross continued through the trials before Annas,[5] then Caiaphas,[6] then the Sanhedrin council,[7] thence to Pilate,[8] to Herod,[9] and back to Pilate.[10] In the course of which time he had walked 2 1/2 miles, had no sleep since awakening the previous Thursday morning, been scourged, mocked, and pierced by a crown of thorns on his brow.

5. Finally, forced to carry his own cross to Calvary,[11] he was then nailed to the cross,[12] after which he hung there, most uncomfortably, while being mocked by men[13] and forsaken by God.[14]

6. In despising the shame of the cross[15], Jesus did not waver at all! He endured to the end!

7. Yet, this is probably not what was meant when Jesus said, “It is finished.”

B. The earthly ministry of Jesus was finished.

1. His great messages had been delivered, e.g., the sermon on the mountain;[16] lessons on forgiveness,[17] humility,[18] service,[19] etc.

2. His great miracles of healing were over, e.g., raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, causing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, [20] casting out demons,[21] etc.

3. His training of disciples was almost done, lacking only some brief lessons after his resurrection.

4. Yet, although Jesus lacked nothing in fulfilling his ministry of teaching, healing, and training, this is probably not what Jesus meant when he said, ‘It is finished.’

C. The Law of Moses was finished

1. Separation between Jew and Gentile was destroyed by abolishing the law of Moses when Jesus died on the cross.[22]

2. The priestly ministry of Levites under Mosaic covenant was abolished, and replaced with the high priesthood of Christ, who was himself the sacrifice of a better covenant. [23]

3. Jesus was not in any way inadequate in his replacement of the Old Covenant with a better Covenant.

4. Yet, this is probably not what Jesus meant when he said, ‘It is finished.’

II. What Jesus meant when he said, ‘It is finished.’ (It can be said in several ways)

A. Jesus had accomplished the will of the Father. “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; In the volume of the book it is written of Me; To do Your will, O God.” Hebrews 10:7; quoting Psalms 40:6-8.

B. Jesus had offered himself a sacrifice for sins of all mankind.[24]

C. Jesus had completed God’s eternal plan for human redemption.[25]

III. Things which were not finished by Jesus’ death on the cross.

A. Jesus’ role as High Priest was not finished - it was just begun! He is now our mediator between God and man. [26]

B. Jesus’ role as King was not finished - it, too, was just beginning. He now reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.[27]

IV. Lessons To Be Learned From Jesus’ Finishing His Task

A.     We should keep our minds focused upon our purposes and goals.

B.     We should complete our tasks, regardless of their unpleasantness.

C.     When we’ve finished our tasks in life, then the generation immediately following may remember and benefit from our accomplishments.


1. Jesus work of redemption was not only finished, it was well done!

a. He failed not in the least of anything he had come to do. He had not come to establish a physical earthly kingdom, as sometimes declared, but because of resistance produced the ‘church age’ until he later comes! No. He accomplished the will of the Father.

b. He therefore had no regrets for either

1) doing something he should not have done, or

2) not doing something he should have done.
His was a perfect, complete, sinless life, in every respect!

2. Human perspective, at the moment of the cross, was that Jesus had failed. However, divine perspective, revealed by the resurrection, was that Jesus was VICTORIOUS! For out of death came life.

3. As Jesus completed his Father’s will, so also we need to discern the Father’s will for our lives, and finish them according to His will.

[1]Copyright © by author, Robert L. Waggoner, 1996, Slightly revised 2004. Permission is granted to duplicate and distribute this manuscript, if unchanged, for non-commercial educational purposes. All other rights reserved.

[2]John 3:14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up

[3]Luke 22:36-42, Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” 38So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” 39Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

[4]Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:3-11.

[5]John 18:12-13, Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. 13And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.

[6]Matthew 26:57, Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus.

[7]Matthew 26:59-68; Mark 14:53-71; John 18:19-24.

[8]Matthew 27:1, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-7; John 18:28-38.

[9]Luke 23:8-12, Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. 9Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

[10]Matthew 27:15-31; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:38-19:16.

[11]John 19:17, And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, Luke 23:33, And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

[12]John 20:25, The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

[13]Luke 23:35-39, And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” 36The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” 38And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

[14]Matthew 27:46, And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

[15]Hebrews 12:2, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

[16]Matthew 5 - 7

[17]Matthew 18:21-35

[18]Luke 18:9-14

[19]Matthew 20:25-28, But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

[20]Matthew 11:4-6, Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

[21]Mark 1:39, And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.

[22]Ephesians 2:13-16; But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Colossians 2:13-16, And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

[23]Hebrews 8:6 - 10:8.

[24]1 Corinthians 15:4, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

[25]Ephesians 1:3-14,

[26]1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

[27]Revelation 11:15, Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”