On a Friday like this one about 2000 years ago, Christ was hanged on the cross at about 9 O’clock in the morning (Mark 15:25). From noon to about 3pm, darkness engulfed the land and Christ bore the wrath of God on behalf of his people (Luke 23:44). Theologians call this penal substitution of vicarious atonement. As he who knew no sin became sin for us on that old rugged cross (2 Cor. 5:21), for first time in his life, he experienced a broken fellowship between him and his Father. As one hymn writer once put it, “the Father turned his face away.” And for first time in his life the Son could not call God the Father, “my Father.” The sense of abandonment was so huge that the Son cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Here one of the Christian Creeds, the Apostles creed, summarizes very well what Christ went through and calls it, hell- “He descended into hell.” It was hell that Christ suffered the last three hours of his life. Of course all his earthly life was marked by suffering but this was the climax of it all. And it was all for our sake. What amazing love! “Love so amazing so divine demands my life, my soul, my all.”
Then after paying the full penalty and drinking the cup of suffering to the final dregs and knowing that all was now finished, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” It is done! Then he voluntarily gave up his life (for no one could take it from him) and said, “Father in your hand I commit my Spirit.” (Luke 23:46). These were the very last words of Christ on the cross!
That phrase, “It is finished,” is very powerful and means everything for every person who is in Christ.
- It is finished: Expiation is done: By that we mean that Christ has taken away the guilt of our sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
- It is finished: Propitiation is done: By that we mean that Christ has fully appeased God’s wrath; therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 3:25-26; 8:1))
- It is finished: Reconciliation is done: By that we mean we have been reconciled to God and God has removed the enmity that existed between us and him (Col. 1:19-20; Romans 5:10-11).
- It is finished: Redemption is done: By that we mean Christ has paid his own life as a ransom to redeem us from the bondage of sin (1 Peter 1:18-19).
5. It is finished: Conquest is done: By that we mean that Christ has conquered sin, Satan and death (Col. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15)
Friends, this is why the cross is everything for a Christian. This is why we ought to always preach Christ and him crucified.
God’s blessings in Christ as you meditate on what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross.