It is Finished
by H.H. Pope Shenouda III
The statement, "It is finished," is the cry of joy and triumph. He has fought and He has won. Our Lord Jesus Christ the righteous and perfect in everything; the holy and the one - and only one - who committed no sin; the one who lived on earth a whole life to the full satisfaction and pleasure of God the Father, was also perfect in His preaching and ministry.
"It is finished." (John 19:30).
Our Lord Jesus was able to accomplish what the Father wanted Him to accomplish and then cry triumphantly: "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17. 4). He was able to accomplish every righteousness, that which the Law required. He was able deservedly to declare: "Which of you convicts Me of sin " (John 8: 46). He realised all prophecies regarding His advent and the great act of redemption, all within the span of three years and a few months. He achieved things that nobody was able to achieve before. He was able to spread the Gospel and say to the Lord: "I have glorified You on the earth... I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world... For I have given to them the words which You have given Me... those whom You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost... And I have declared to them Your name and will declare it" (John 17:4-6).
Thus, He realised the prophecies, accomplished obedience and every righteousness, performed His ministry and gave His love in full to His own whom He loved to the end (John 13:1).
Then He ascended the Cross to accomplish His sacrificial act, to bring about redemption, forgiveness and salvation to finish the act of reconcilement between Heaven and earth; between the spiritual and the carnal.
On that altar He carried on Himself the iniquities of us all: all the sins of all people throughout the ages from Adam to eternity. Outrageous sins as they are: profanity, perfidy, failing, adultery, dissipation, theft, murder, envy and arrogance. Then He was able to declare: "It is finished." We, in turn, touch this pure offering, and confess our sins everyday and add them to His pains that He might forgive us, and that His blood may atone for our new trespasses.
As sins were accumulated to the ultimate upon His person, shame and disgrace were fully personified in Him as it is said: " I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting." (Is. 50:6), He said also: "All those that see Me, laugh Me to scorn... A reproach of men, and despised of the people ". (Ps. 22: 6, 7).
In all that, He was subjected to scourging, humiliation and derision: "Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?" (Matt. 26: 67, 68). They dressed Him in the purple garment, crowned Him with thorns and crucified Him between two malefactors so that the prophecy may come true "Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree" (Gal. 3:13, Deut 21:23).
Even on the cross He was still a target of humiliation and derision so that He might realise all His disgrace and cry: "It is finished."
And as His disgrace was complete, His physical pain and God's wrath were perfected. The Lord has paid it all - offered Himself as a sacrifice, and the fire went on, consuming His offering until it turned into ashes (Lev 6:10). When Our Lord realised that He had completed the act of redemption and atonement, and that He had satisfied the divine justice fully and nothing else could be done, He cried triumphantly: "It is finished."
The act of salvation for all has been accomplished, redemption has been fulfilled; the Son of Man was able to crush the serpent's head. God, by reigning over the cross (Ps. 96:10), was able to demolish the kingdom of the devil. The atonement now became all encompassing and adequate to liberate everybody. Now the veil of the temple could be rent in twain, and the way to the sanctuary could be opened; reconciliation is now accomplished and the hope of the deceased saints have been fulfilled. Nothing is left for You, God, but to, "gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty, with Your glory and Your Majesty" (Ps. 45:3); the Lord cried in joy; "It is finished."
The words, "It is finished" is the cry of joy and triumph. He had fought and won. He was able to pay for us and establish His heavenly spiritual kingdom - to shatter the kingdom of the devil who was formerly called "the prince of the world. " (John 24:30).
Could you, Brethren, win what the Lord has won? Could you ascend the cross and crush the head of the serpent? Could you look at the work God assigned to you and say: "It is finished"? I wish you would always consider this maximum: "I have finished the work which You, God, have given Me to do." Put before you always the picture of the Lord perfecting His mission.
*Taken from the larger work entitled, "The Seven Words of our Lord on the Cross". Edited from the original for grammar.
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