It Is Finished Top

                      IT IS FINISHED  

                        By James L. Thornton 

Our text is found in John’s Gospel – John 19:30. It is a simple text but profound. Its implications are far reaching and enduring. This text tells us that Jesus had a task to fulfill.


1. Introduction

2. Jesus' death Brings Atonement For Sins

3. Jesus Conquered Death

4. Jesus's Death Brings Reconcilliation To God

5. Gives Access To The Holy Of Holies

6. Brings Acceptance By God

7. Jesus' Death Takes Away Enemity

8. Gives Assurance Of Salvation

9. Conclusion


1. Introduction

John 19:30 says, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

The barbaric execution that Jesus suffered is summed up in these three words.
"It is finished."

In his book, The Day Christ Died, Jim Bishop conveys the horror of such an execution. He writes: “The executioner laid the crossbeam behind Jesus and brought Him to the ground quickly by grasping His arm and pulling Him backward. As soon as Jesus fell the beam was fitted under the back of His neck, and on each side, soldiers quickly knelt on the inside of the elbows…The thorns pressed against His torn scalp…

With his right hand, the executioner probed the wrist of Jesus to find the little hollow spot. When he found it, he took one of the square-cut iron nails…raised the hammer over the nail head and brought it down with force. Two soldiers grabbed each side of the crossbeam and lifted. As they pulled up, they dragged Jesus by the wrists. With every breath, He groaned. When the soldiers reached the upright, the four of them began to lift the crossbeam higher until the feet of Jesus were off the ground. The body must have writhed with pain.

When the crossbeam was set firmly, the executioner knelt before the cross. Two soldiers hurried to help, and each one took hold of a leg at the calf. The ritual was to nail the right foot over the left, and this was probably the most difficult part of the work. If the feet were pulled downward, and nailed close to the foot of the cross, the prisoner always died quickly. Over the years, the Romans learned to push the feet upward on the cross, so that the condemned man could lean on the nails and stretch himself upward [to breathe]."

Chuck Swindoll, adds, “Excruciating pain accompanied every upward push for breath and every downward release from fatigue. Each movement cut deeper into bone, and tendons, and raw muscle. Fever inevitably set in, inflaming the wounds and creating an insatiable thirst. Waves of hallucinations drifted the victim in and out of consciousness. And in time, flies and other insects found their way to the open wounds.

At this point, Jesus knew He had accomplished everything the Father had sent Him to do. To fulfill one last Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” (John. 19:28b-30).

Those three words, “It is finished” come  from one Greek word tetelestai.

“The word "tetelestai" is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life in those days.

 A servant would use it when reporting to his or her master.
Jesus is saying, “I have completed the work assigned to me”
"I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (John 17:4).  

When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, this word would apply.”

The word means,
“It is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished!”

These words specify not the end of Jesus’ life, but the completion of His task. The verb tense is perfect. “It is finished!” The purpose of His hour has been completed, and the consequences of His work are enduring.

Max Lucado writes, “The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished. The task of selecting and training ambassadors was finished. The job was finished. The song had been sung. The blood had been poured. The sacrifice had been made. The sting of death had been removed. It was over.”

Warren Wiersbe says, “Perhaps the most meaningful meaning of tetelestai was that used by the merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” When He gave Himself on the cross, Jesus fully met the righteous demands of a holy law; He paid our debt in full."

What then do we learn about the completion of our redemption?

"It is finished or paid"
John 19:30

Christ satisfied God's justice by dying for all to pay for the sins of the elect. These sins can never be punished again since that would violate God's justice. Sins can only be punished once, either by a substitute or by yourself.

What do we learn about the salvation that Jude says “was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3)?

Jesus’ words, “It is finished” provides for us 4 glorious benefits.


Warren Wiersbe, writes, “None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins; their blood only covered sin. But the Lamb of God shed His blood, and that blood can take away the sins of the world. (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:24–28).”


John 1:29. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. {taketh away: or, beareth} (KJV)

Hebrews 9:26b. "..: but now once in the end of the world hath he (Christ) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
28 a. " So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;" (KJV)

He “purged our sins” (a cleansing from the guilt of sins wrought by the expiatory sacrifice of Chris) (Hebrews 1:1-3)

1 John 1:7. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

“cleanse” Gr. katharizo, “to declare clean, make clean, purify”
This (the cleansing of sins) is an ongoing process.

Kenneth Wuest says, “And while we are having this fellowship with Him, the blood of Jesus, His Son, keeps constantly cleansing us from sins of omission, sins of ignorance, sins we know nothing about in our lives. And for the reason that we have not grown in grace enough to see that they are sin. These (Sins) would prevent our fellowship with God if this Divine provision of the constant cleansing away of the defilement of sin in our lives was not taken care of by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. So holy is the God with whom we have fellowship."

Hebrews 9:14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (K.J.V.)

Revelation 1:4.  John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
5. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. (K.J.V.)

Ephesians 1:7. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; (K.J.V.)


Hebrews 2:9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. (K.J.V.)

John MacArthur, writes in his commentary on Hebrews: “We see the extent of Christ’s humiliation in His death. Angels cannot die; but Jesus came to die. He went so far beneath angels that He did something that they could never do. His death was not easy or cost-less. It was a suffering death. Christ’s exit from the land of the living was not calm and peaceful, but was accompanied by outward torture and inner agony.

The death He tasted was the curse of sin. What Jesus felt while dying on the cross was the total agony of every soul in hell for all eternity put together, suffered in a few hours. All the punishment for all the sin of all time—that was the depth of His death. He was guilty of no sin, yet He suffered for all sin.”

God sent His Son, and His Son willingly came, to die to redeem man.

Galatians 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made (born) of a woman, made (born) under the Law,
5a. To redeem them that were under the law, …" (K.J.V)

Jesus Christ in His death purposed to die as a substitute for everyone. And it is only by the Son tasting death as a man, for man, that we are free from the sting of death. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) His death destroyed the power of death.

Historically, kings have had someone taste their food to protect them from possible poisoning. The cup of poison that belonged to us was drained to the dregs by Jesus Christ.

He substituted His own death for ours and released us to live with God.

Hebrews 2:14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

1 Corinthians 15:55. “O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)


Romans 5:8. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation).  (K.J.V.)

“Reconciliation” Gr. katallasso,
“to return to favor with, to receive one into favor.”
“To put someone into friendship with God.”

“Paul does not conceive it as his or our task to reconcile God to us.
God has attended to that himself.”

Ephesians 2:14. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us,
15. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16. And that He might reconcile both unto God, in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (K.J.V.)

Colossians 1:19. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell;
20. And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21. And you, who were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22. In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblameable, and above unreproveable in His sight.

Salvation is free, but it is not cheap.
Salvation is a gift and it cost me nothing,
But it cost God everything, it cost Jesus his life.



No one was allowed access to the holy of holies but the High Priest on the Day of Atonement which occurred once a year.

The Day of Atonement which occurred on the 10th day of the 7th month (Tishri, September/October) was to serve as a reminder that the daily, weekly and monthly sacrifices made at the altar of burnt offering were not sufficient to atone for sin.

Hebrews 10:11. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

On this one day in the year, atoning blood was brought into the holy of holies, the divine throne-room, by the high priest as the representative of the people. The high priest…first sanctified himself by taking a ceremonial bath and putting on white garments (Leviticus  16:4). Then he had to make atonement for himself and other priests by sacrificing a bullock. (Numbers 29:8).

God was enthroned on the MERCY SEAT in the sanctuary, but no person could approach it except through the mediation of the high priest, who offered the blood of sacrifice. After sacrificing a bullock, the high priest chose a goat for a sin-offering and sacrificed it. Then he sprinkled its blood on and about the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:12, 14, 15). Finally the scapegoat bearing the sins of the people was sent into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:20-22). This scapegoat symbolized the pardon for sin brought through the sacrifice (Galations 3:12; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Hebrews 10:19. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20. By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh,
21. And having an High Priest over the house of God,
22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 4:16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Christ’s sacrifice is effective because it removes sin, which the other covenant could never do. The New Covenant went from daily sacrifice to one sacrifice, from ineffective sacrifices to the one perfectly effective sacrifice.



Ephesians 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6. To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

“Accepted” Gr. charitoo, “to grace, i.e. indued with special honor:--make accepted, be highly favoured.” (Strongs)

“Because believers are accepted in Him, then they, like Him, are beloved of God.


Ephesians 2:14. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.

The enmity was between Jew and Gentile, was the results of the separating influence of the Mosaic Law. It stood as a barrier between Jew and Gentile.

Jesus' death on the cross removed the separation and the hostile feeling between Jew and Gentile by abolishing, or annuling, the dividing law itself.

Romans 10:12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (KJV)



Because His sacrifice was perfect it never needs to be repeated.

Hebrews 10:14. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

“Perfected” (Gr. Teleioo), “to complete, to make perfect” (Strongs)

“The use of perfected involves the completed cleansing of regeneration (Titus 3:5). This verse (Hebrews 10:14) reveals the twofold nature of salvation.

The believer possesses a positional, judicial standing of righteousness (1 John 3:7) and, a remaining need for practical, progressive holiness, that is, striving to perfect holiness in our lives.
(Colossians 3:5-16)

Three factors within this verse make perfected absolute security of the believer.

First, The word itself (Gr teleioo) involves completion, the bringing of something to its end.

Second, the use of the Greek perfect tense suggests that the perfection has been accomplished and its effects are continuing.  (1 John 3:20-21)

Third, the modifier, for ever, expresses security for the believer.
The death of Jesus Christ removes sin forever for those who belong to Him.

We are totally secure in our Savior.

Micah 7:18. Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (KJV)

We need cleansing when we fall into sin (1John 2:1-2), but we need never fear God’s judgment on us because of our sin. As far as Christ’s sacrifice is concerned, we have already been sanctified and perfected—which is why He had to sacrifice Himself only once.


John 10:27. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
29. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.
30. I and My Father are one.

1 Peter 1:3. us again unto a liBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten vely hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


What does Jesus’ death mean?

1. No more sacrifices,
2. No more sin bearing,
3. No more curse for the chosen of God!

“It is finished!” “The entire work of redemption has been brought to completion.”

It provides:

1. Atonement for Sin
2. Access to the Holy of Holies
3. Acceptance by God
4. Assurance of Salvation

We have a new life based on Christ's death.

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death (separation from God); but the gift of God is eternal life (eternal union of the soul with God) through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

This is possible because of the death of Jesus on Calvary's cross.

Jesus actually took sin's penalty for every man, woman, and child who has lived or will live.

As he hung upon the cross He cried, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" Being interpreted, He cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Jesus was separated from God the Father so that you and I do not have to be.
This is the heart of the atonement.

The marvel of it all is that He did this while we were His enemies.

Romans 5:8. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

We hope you enjoyed reading this study on the death of Jesus, and will read the other studies on our web pages.

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By, James L. Thornton