“Life isn't about owning the most land or building up a fortune of the nicest things money can buy. Life is about getting to know the Creator of our souls, the One who loved us enough to suffer and die for us.”
--Kenneth S. Pratt (Willow Falls)
"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."
--Hebrews 1:3 (NASB)
What do you think is the most important verse in the Bible? I'm sure many will quickly say, John 3:16, and it would be hard to argue that. Others may point to John 1:1-4 and that has its merit. My personal opinion is:
"Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."
--John 19:30 (NASB)
Everything from the time of creation, and even before creation, pointed to that day. Upon that statement by Jesus, eternity hinges. All, and I do mean all, revolves around that statement. There would be no need for John 1:1-4 without that statement. There could be no John 3:16 unless Jesus could make that statement.
Let me throw out some terms to you: atonement, substitution, propitiation, redemption, justification, pardon, mercy, grace, sacrifice, reconciliation, restoration--this was the work of the cross. Jesus took our infirmities, He bore our sickness, the sins of the world--past, present, and future--He took upon Himself at the cross. He assumed our burden on the cross, that is one reason this day is called "Good Friday."
Let me quickly add, I am not taking away from the resurrection. Without the resurrection, the cross would be worthless, but the "work" was finished on the cross. The crucifixion of Jesus is the "finishing of transgression and the making of an end to sin." We are reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Romans 5:10). I like the way Horatius Bonar states it, "To the cross, therefore, do we look and cleave; knowing that out of its death cometh life to us, and out of its condemnation pardon and righteousness."
Those words from the cross declare that the purpose of His coming is now complete. When Jesus cried, "It is finished!" sin, death, and the grave were defeated. It didn't happen in the grave, the work was completed on the cross. Jesus never wondered about the resurrection. He was secure in His divinity and the power of the Father and Holy Spirit to know that He would rise again. There was never any doubt there, but He dreaded all the pain of the cross in His manhood. He would feel pain, and the Holy One, the Pure One, would be touched by the sins of all.
He would not remain in the tomb! "The resurrection is the blessed announcement of the Father that the work had been accepted and the surety set free; but it was no part either of the atonement or the righteousness" (Bonar). "He rose, not in order to justify us, but because we were justified. In raising Him from the dead, God the Father cleared Him from the imputed guilt which had nailed Him to the cross and borne Him down to the tomb" (Bonar) His sacrifice was accepted, the Father's righteous judgment upon sin was accepted. When He cried, "It is finished" the judgment of man's sin was accepted.
Take time this weekend to read those wonderful words penned by George Bennard. He purposely draws our attention to the cross. Take heart in those words, understand that when Jesus cried, "It is finished," it was also a proclamation.
"So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown."
D. C. Adkisson