Sermon March 29, 2013: It is finished

Posted in Sermons
[Dr. Roberto Miranda]
  • Presenter: Dr. Roberto Miranda
  • Date: March 29, 2013
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

Come with me to John chapter nineteen verse thirty, John 19:30. There's seven words, seven expressions, seven statements that Jesus made when He was in the cross that have been recorded in Scripture. He probably made many, many more, it was a long, lengthy kind of process. But the Holy Spirit has seen fit to leave us seven of these ordinances of the Lord in the Scripture and I think with a purpose.

There are no coincidences in the Word of God, each word, each separation has a meaning, has an intention. Each of these words projected some aspect of the cross or His sacrifice or the ministry of Jesus and this is why it was left in such a way. The Holy Spirit has seen fit to illuminate His Church throughout the centuries to dedicate sermons to these words and you will be relieved to know that I do not intend to discuss all seven of them tonight. I'm just going to take one of those Words that I think is very powerful, many reflective of many, many wonderful truths of the Scriptures.

And so here in verse 30 it says that: "When Jesus had drank of the vinegar" vinegar a very strange concoction to be drinking at that moment but there is an explanation for that, He said: "It is finished" it is completed, it is consumated, it is fulfilled and having inclined His head He gave up the Spirit. And that word which we translate as "it is finished" is a greek work tetelestai which really only appears twice in the entire Scripture and is seen in the book of John in verse 28, it says after this that: "Knowing Jesus that everything had been finished" completed, consumated, fulfilled "He said in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: I am thirsty."

I want us to meditate on that expression "it is finished". I'll ask you at the end to come and just leave your offering here, I don't wanna interrupt the flow of the service tonight, just come and leave your offering here at the end of the service and make sure that you do, make that commitment in your heart right but. But anyway: tetelestai, it is finished.

This word tetelestai, commentators, students of the greek say that it was a word that was used many times in statementes of account, bills meaning paid in full. In other words this debt has been completely fulfilled, has been paid in full, has been completed, the process is finished, nothing else is old. Paid in full, completed, consumated.

There's an element of absolute finality, completeness. This word "it is finished" it's an expression that suggests to me that there was a plan, there was some sort of strategy that had been previously established so that when Jesus makes a recount of everything that had transpired during His life and Ministry, He compares those achievements to that initial plan and when He sees that indeed everything has been completed and fulfilled, check - check - check - check He can then at the end say: ah, it is finished, it is consumated. The plan has been completed. There was an intentionality behind this expression.

What Jesus was saying at that moment was as He mentally ran through every plan, every design of the Father, every eternal conception that He had established by the Father and that He came to fulfill and to carry out. As He ran His mind through all of those things and all of those moments of agony He was able to say: yes I did this, yes I did that. Yes I did confront that power, yes I did establish that precedence, yes I did say that truth, yes I did settle that death, yes I did shed the blood that needed to be shed. Yes the price has been paid.

As He checked every step of the Father's plan and He was able to compare with His achievements in His Ministry and also the achievements of great men and women of God throughout history, precedence, truths that had been established, moments that had taken place in the great Grand Plan of Salvation. Jesus was able to say in that last moment before he gave up His Spirit and a certain element of finality was established. Nothing else could be done, He's dead now and He was able to say now: wow, thank God. Everything has been done. Everything that the Father wanted done has been done I have accomplished what had to be accomplished.

What things had the Lord accomplished throughout His Ministry?. What things could He go through in His mind that gave Him room for satisfaction in such a way that He could say: Yes I have done what was established, what was planned, what was foreseen and determined by God, what are some of those things?. I believe that potentially the number would be infinite but we can meditate on just a few of the ones that come to mind immediately.

You know these moments as I say, Jesus was responsible for many of those realizations but as I just announced we see that even before in the Old Testament I believe that maybe this plan of course it was hatched in eternity but historically speaking maybe we could say that it began in the Garden of Eden, with the creation of man and woman, with the creation of the world that plan was set in motion and had been conceived from all eternity but now it was set in motion and Jesus is at the other end of that initiation.

You know this drama begins in the Garden with man's transgression, his breaking the law of God and separation is established. Drama requires conflict, requires loss, requires failure and deficit and at that moment the whole story is unleashed. And when Jesus says: it is consumated, it is finished He is merely putting the period at the end of that beautiful, sublime, heroic, epic "it is consumated." Now what things are we talking about?.

This is the essence of my meditation what were some of those things that Jesus was saying consumated it is, it is finished?. I think one of the major things that is consumated, one of the details that was fulfilled and not a detail but really a major component of the plan of salvation is this promise that was engendered in the very Garden of Eden where God says to the woman that: the serpent would bite her in the "tobillo", in the ankle (laughs) my english failed me for a moment there, I'm glad that there's some people that speak english here.

The serpent would bite the woman in the foot but she would give a blow that was definivite. Now when you are bitten in the tobillo (laughs) it may be seen as a temporary, partial thing but when you step on the head as a serpent can only be killed by being stroken in the head it is a definitive blow. And this is kind of an anticipation of what was going to take place on the cross, as Jesus on the cross it says in the book of Coloseans that Jesus on the cross number one: "He defeated the principalities and powers." Number two it says that: "He exhibited them publicly" in other words He humiliated them. He did it in front of the sight of all humanity and the powers that be, and also says that: "There He anuled", he erased all the accusations that the enemy had arised against us, totally nullified.

That's why the Bible says: "who will condemn those that God has justified?" In the cross Jesus gave a death blow to the serpent fulfilling the Father's promise. Yes the serpent did a number on the woman by betraying her and leading her to sin but the descendant of the woman, Jesus Christ one day would destroy the serpent, destroy the works of the serpent through His death on the cross. So as Jesus is there on that cross bleeding and dying it is not the death of a defeated being but rather the victory of a hero who is giving His life on His own and through the sheding of that blood He is fulfilling the Father's promise thousands of years before, that the descendant of the woman would give a definitive blow to the serpent. Jesus remembers that prophecy of the Father and He realizes: here on the cross I am fulfilling it completely, there's nothing else left on that score.

Another thing that is fulfilled there at that moment on the cross is that the justice of God has been satisfied. God had declared centuries before: the soul that sins, that soul shall die. God is a just God, transgression requires penance, requires condemnation and punishment. And the punishment for Lèse-majesté the greatest offense to the Majesty of God was absolute death, that's the only penance that is worth of such an infinite offense.

And so when Jesus clings on the cross and sheds His life and His blood for us He assumes that death, He assumes within Himself that declaration that anyone who sinned had to die, anyone that offended the Majesty of God had only one end that was deserving and that was death. So Jesus absorbed within His own self in an unmerited way the contamination of man's sin, He sucks it in and He pays the price. And so all of a sudden God's justice is satisfied because infinite death has insued through the life of this infinite being who is the Son and infinite justice has also been fulfilled, and therefore we now all that we have to do is enter into that justice that Jesus Himself has established, and that justice is given to us.

So what an amazing, what an extraordinary accomplishment. All you have to do is to enter into the justice of Jesus Christ. To participate in that plan, to integrate yourself into what Jesus achieved on the cross and you also can enjoy that same sense of justice, that sense of peace and reconciliation with God, that is the essence of the plan of salvation.

So when Jesus is up there He is remembering and He says: check, God's justice has been satisfied, death is not an inevitable thing, there can be reconciliation between man and God through what I have done.

When Jesus is on the cross there's a moment you know like forwarding a video and He rememebers His battle with the enemy, and He remembers in the desert before He initiates His Ministry that He has a frontal encounter with evil, with temptation in all of it's different manifestations. And before He initiated His Ministry He had to defeat Satan and establish His superiority as the Son of God. And so He remembers that also, that confrontation in the desert, He remembers that Satan has been defeated.

Jesus remembered at that moment that what a biblical writer would later say which is that Jesus came and Jesus manifested Himself in order to undue the works of the devil. And so He remembers that moment in the desert where He had a confrontation with Satan, with temptation, with sin, the affirmation of the eye principal that Satan over and over again submits to Him as a possibility to tempt Him and to defeat Him, and Jesus defeated once, and twice, three times and then He initiated His Ministry being certain that a man, a perfect man He can win that battle of temptation, of sinfulness.

There were moments throughout His Ministry where He defeated over and over, and over He asserted the superiority of God over Satan and over all the powers of hell. When He came down from the Mount of Transfiguration and He delivered that boy who was demonized. When in the sinagogue in the initiation of His Ministry He delivers the woman who had been curved over by Satan or the demonized man in another sinagogue as well who claims: what have you come Son of God to torment us? when He freed the gadarean demoniac as well in one of the most spectacular victories over evil and then the final summary consumation of defeat on the cross as He gives the final blow to the principal of evil fulfilling this idea that the Son of God has come to undue the works of the devil.

So Jesus remembers those moments as He is there on the cross and He remembers the defeat of the principle of evil throughout His career and He says: it is finished, that aspect of My journey, of My Ministry is also finished.

You know another principle that Jesus remembers now is that you know death as an unavoidable thing, as a definitive element of human existence without appeal has also been defeated and that death no longer has preeminence over mankind. And the death of the life of Christ, the victory of Christ on the cross and His impending resurrection reminded Him that something very powerful had been accomplished throughout His life and at the cross, death had lost it's sting, it's definitive nature. It's unappealable dominion.

And He reminds us of the words of the apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15: "where oh death is your sting, where oh tomb, oh sepulcre is your victory?. It wasn't there. You know on the cross Jesus kills the principle of death that ruled humanity and now He establishes a principle of life. He defeats death and now we can all enter into that aspiration of eternal life through His career.

And Jesus defeats death many times throughout His journey, throughout His Ministry. He defeated death when the daughter of Jairus was resurrected. He defeated death when that woman, that lonely empoverished widow who had lost her only son and He stops the casket on it's way to being interned and He says you know: come rise young man and He gives him back to his mother, He had defeated death throughout His career. He had established precedence about the defeat of death and then in the cross by dying and being resurrected He gives a definitive blow to the principle of death in the universe as well.

And so He realizes that as He dies as well and as He is there on the cross that whole process of death defiance and defeat has come to completeness as well, and He says you know: check as it is finished.

You know another thing that Jesus accomplishes and that He realizes that has taken place that He can be very satisfied about and that was also a process is that a new way, a new mode of access, a definitive mode of access to the Father has been opened that He is sheding on the cross and that by the death that he is incurring, there is now a red cover, a blood covered road to the Throne of Grace through the power and the death of Jesus Christ. Now we can come confident before the Throne of God.

Now the way to come to the Father is not through our sacrifices, not through our own efforts which can be absolutely impotent to gain us access to the Lord but through that grand open mode of access to the Throne of Grace, we can come boldly before the Throne of Grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through the life of Jesus Christ, through the justice of Jesus Christ, it is for free. Come to the waters all who are thirsty, come without price, come without having to measure, just drink freely of the waters that Jesus Christ has released through His life and through His death.

Another important thing. Through His Ministry when He is up there on the cross He can look back and He realizes that another thing that He accomplished was to establish His Church with a capital C, the universal Church of Jesus Christ, the catholic Church, the universal Church of Jesus Christ. And He said at one point that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

This is the Church that He gave His life for and that He comes back to take it with Him. It is a Church that will not be defeated. It is a Church that no matter what secular demons may arise against it and how threatened we might seem, and how on the spot we might feel that we are and how much in the defensive we might be, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ and we can be confident in that.

We can just stand on what God has declared. We do not compromise. We do not try to please the world, we stand humbly and confidently boldly on what God has declared and we let the world aline itself to the Word of God that we incarnate. We do not fear, we do not tremble, we do not compromise, we do not sell out. We know that this has happened before and will happen again, but we will be there to those beaten upbodies that trust themselves against the God and against the wall of Truth and they'll have to come back into the refuge of the Church. We simply have to stand because Jesus was the one that established that Church.

As long as we remain on the truth of the Word of God nothing will prevail against us. He established His Church. So Jesus there is remembering "I have established My Church, I have delegated now the rest of this story, this process, it will continue after me and I will be there simply to inform, to strengthen, to encourage, to teach, to correct but I have left the men, the women that I have determined to continue My Church.

Jesus knows His Church is gonna establish. Now this thing continues after Him. He will be to delegate, He will be there to inform, to teach, to encourage, to strengthen, to correct, to witness in the heart of His believers but the story of the Church now continues in another form. The redeeming power of Christ, the redeeming work of Christ now continues through His followers. Here we are two thousand years later completing His work.

There was nothing else to be done, this is why Jesus says: it is finished, it is completed, it is consumated. And I'm sure we can go on I mean there are many many things. When He is on the cross He is remembering all these things. We will be able to see every detail, all the things that were not even recorded. We will be able to see the entire unedited movie of the redemptive work of Christ, of the whole beautiful story, the core of salvation from creation to consumation.

So that's why Jesus says: it's finished, I have completed that. You know? there was nothing else to be done. Now we have to remember, that's the seventh thing that I see here, salvation is by grace. We enter into a God completed. We enter into His finished story and process. There is nothing that we can add into it, we cannot perfect a perfect drama we can simply ask to enter and believe it and to let it rule our life. There is nothing to be added to the drama of salvation.

We cannot improve on the plan of God. We cannot be more just than God, we cannot be more merciful than God, we cannot be more affirming or welcoming than God, we cannot be more gracious than God, we cannot be more patient than God, we cannot be kinder than God. We cannot improve on the narrative of salvation. I think that is the most important thing to me.

We enter into a finished product. We humbly submit to it, this is why Paul says: "If anyone tries to add to anything to this Truth that has been confided to us let him be cursed, let him be anathema" it is a profound thing because we cannot add to what Jesus completed on the cross.

I leave you with one last thing which is that I pray that each of us when the moment of our death comes we can also say, perhaps during the agony or pain of a disease, or the discomfort of a hospital bed or the loneliness of a bed far from our loved ones, but we are arised and set on that price and as we do a recount of our own life we will see moments of darkness and failure, and hurt and pain, and betrayal just as there was in Jesus' life that we can say: "it is finished" with that sense of satisfaction. I have done the Father's will, I have done my best. I have fought the good fight, I have come to the price, I have done the best with the power of the Holy Spirit.

That's why we have to leave with that sight in mind, with that reward in mind with satisfaction knowing that we have done what the Father asked of us. Let us run after the price. Let us live with that goal in life, to get the crown of glory in the end of it all. To die with a satisfied heart and to know that we have indeed finished what God set up for us.

May God bless us tonight, may we also live life with that goal in life of completion and realization of what God has established for us.

We enter into Your perfect plan Lord tonight, we give You glory and honor, we acknowledge Your perfect unfolding and Jesus we thank You for what You have done. We give you glory and honor Lord tonight.



This sermon was wonderful to hear and have been blessed by these words of power.

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