“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished!’”
These last words of Jesus are actually one word in the original language. This word was written over the record of a prisoner who completed their sentence in a Roman prison. They were written above the cross of a prisoner crucified by Rome. What a providential irony that Jesus would choose this word at the end of His suffering for your sins and mine.
What He meant was that He paid in full a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Theologians refer to this as the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. One thought is that we cannot possibly add anything to what He finished for us there on that cross. A more profound thought is that we must put our faith in what He did for us there.
Still another thought is if we could add anything to what He did, or be forgiven on the basis of our own good works, then Christ did all that suffering for nothing. In the garden He sweat great drops of blood as He pleaded with the Father to let this cup pass from Him.
The Father’s response was that there was no other way, so He had to go to and through the suffering of the cross. To think that we could save ourselves by works is like saying to the Father and to our Savior “You really didn’t have to go through all that suffering because I can save myself by the good works I am doing.”
The response we must make is to believe in what He finished.