“It is finished” — WHAT was finished? (John 19:30)

The Johannine account records Jesus’ statement on the Cross “It is finished!” as He slipped gradually into death.

The question is: Did Jesus accomplish ALL concerning salvation on the Cross? The sincere answer would be no. 1 Corin. 15:3-4 tells us that the COMPLETE message of salvation includes His burial and culminates at the Resurrection. Since Jesus was neither buried nor raised on the Cross, we truly cannot say the work was FINISHED on the Cross. What then was Jesus referring to?

Note that the word “finished” translates the Greek verb “teleó” (τελέω) which means “fulfilled or accomplished.” The good Bible student would thus ask “What EXACTLY was fulfilled?” Observe that this same word is used other times for Jesus. In Luke 22:37, for instance, it was used to refer to His being “numbered with the transgressors.”

Since the Tanakh (Genesis to Malachi) spoke ahead concerning the Messiah (see Luke 24:44), as He fulfilled those prophecies, He was “finishing” (or accomplishing) them. Hence, when Jesus healed the sick, all the prophecies that said He would do so were “finished” (accomplished). Same as when He was betrayed, persecuted by the Jews etc. He was fulfilling the Scriptures.

“It is finished” is thus determined by the context of what was being accomplished at that point in time. In John 19:30, what Jesus “finished” (or accomplished) on the Cross was Him becoming a curse for us, just like the OT Scriptures had said He would (see Gal. 3:13-14). Similar to the Old Testament offerings, He bore the sins of the people in their place (see John 1:29).

Hence, the work of Christ was not finished (completely fulfilled) on the Cross, just an aspect of it relating to the Old Testament sacrifices.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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