John19:28-30 and Luke 23:46
The sky grew dark. All of creation seemed to hold its breath, waiting in anticipation – sensing something significant was about to happen. John tells us in John 19 that Jesus also knew that His work was rapidly coming to completion, and His final three sayings from the cross would point so very clearly to God’s plan for mankind’s redemption from long ago. The first one was, “I am thirsty”, drawing from the verses of the prophetic Psalm 22 written by King David hundreds of years before. That psalm clearly describes Christ’s crucifixion and predicts God’s Chosen One would suffer terrible thirst before His death. Another psalm of David’s, Psalm 69, also declared: “I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They … gave me vinegar for my thirst” – which is exactly what the Roman soldiers did, as John details: “A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.” In times long since passed, God had revealed through His Word what would happen to His Son and no detail went unnoticed.
Once Jesus had received the drink, He declared, “It is finished.” The word He used for “finished” was “te-tel-es-tai” which was commonly used in several ways. A servant would use that word to declare to his master that he had completed the work he had been assigned. A priest would use this word to declare that a sacrifice was perfect and ready to be offered. A merchant would write “tetelestai” across an outstanding debt, documenting that it had been paid in full. With this word, Christ declared He had finished the work His Father had given Him to do. He was the perfect sacrifice offered for the sins of mankind, and He had paid the price for our sin in full. Redemption has finally been accomplished! It is finished!
The sun had stopped shining when Jesus offered His last words from the cross, calling out with a loud voice: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. At that moment Christ gave up His Spirit and immediately the curtain of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn in two. This curtain was no ordinary curtain. Its purpose had been to keep mankind out of the Holy of Holies where the presence of God abided. Historians tell us that the fabric of it was specially woven so that it could not be torn. Yet, as Christ died on the cross, that curtain did tear and more than that, Matthew notes in his Gospel: it tore “in two from top to bottom”. The perfect illustration of the fact that God, and not man, had ripped it open. The intimate presence of God was finally made accessible to all!
The book of Hebrews declares in chapter 4 verse 16, we can now “… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Christ bore our punishment and because He has paid the price for our reconciliation with the Father, we now have direct access to the LORD and we can rejoice in the Lord, saying: “…He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10)
Christ gave up His life for us, but we must receive it. In a spiritual sense, we must come to the foot of that cross to ask Christ, the sinless one, to forgive us for our sin and to cover us with His blood that was poured out for us all.
Do not put this off until tomorrow, for none of us know if tomorrow will come. Our lives are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes! Choose to accept Jesus Christ today and you can boldly approach His throne of grace with confidence!
May God bless you!