When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
No one at the time truly understood the magnitude of what had happened in this moment. The disciples were devastated, while the enemies of God rejoiced. But it should have been just the opposite. In what appeared to be a loss, Jesus was gaining the ultimate victory. And all who knew Him and loved Him and served Him should have rejoiced that their salvation was secured and that death was soon to be defeated. But for now, all they saw was their Lord dead on a cross, and it didn’t make any sense.
On the other hand, the enemies of Jesus rejoiced, but they should have been trembling in fear. There is no victory over God, no defeating Him, no overthrowing Him or overcoming Him. Death is not stronger than life. Darkness is not more powerful than light. Evil does not defeat good. And so Jesus’ words are not a concession of defeat, but a cry of victory.
It was finished. But what was finished? The perfect plan of salvation, established before the world began, culminated right here. A perfect sacrifice in the form of the Son of God was offered. His blood was shed. He actually died and gave His life in exchange for ours. Redemption was complete because now our sins were paid for since Jesus faced the wrath of God in our place. The rule of sin upon the earth is over. The power of death is overcome and eternal life is offered in its place. Jesus had ushered in a new era—an era of grace, of freedom, and of redemption.
So which side are we on? Have we come to understand what Jesus truly accomplished on the cross? Have we accepted that free gift? Or do we still stand on the side of His enemies who will eventually have to face the wrath of God? The most amazing truth that we can come to understand is that Jesus Christ willingly gave His life, out of love, for our sakes. And now we can know Him personally and rest in His finished work. Jesus did all that would ever need to be accomplished for us to be cleansed of all sin and united with God eternally.