"IT IS FINISHED." (Jn.19:30)
The Lord's above pronouncement from the cross at Calvary represents
the DIVINE perspective. Its emphasis is, therefore, NOT on the Sacrificial Lamb, but on the final outcome of the sacrifice - i.e. the fulfillment of the Heavenly Father's sovereign will. If paraphrased to represent the HUMAN perspective, it would read: "I have finished it."
The Lord's emphatic declaration, "It is finished," leaves no room for skepticism. However, to appreciate what has been finished, and at
what stupendous cost it has been finished, we need spiritual discern-
ment besides a sound understanding of the relevant Scriptural texts.
God's New Covenant with Israel, spelt out in Jer. 31:31-34 and alluded
to in Ezek. 36:24-28, has the following four (04) provisions: (i) Re- generation: God's law will be ingrained in their minds and written on their hearts; (ii) Israel's Restoration: Yahweh will be their God and Israelites will be His people; (iii) The Holy Spirit's Direct Ministry:
They will ALL be individually instructed by the Spirit of God; and (iv) The Assurance of Full Justification: Their sins will be forgiven and remembered no more. The shed blood of the Lamb of God on Calvary's cross guarantees to Israel its New Covenant while assuring forgiveness of sins to believers comprising the Church, which forms God's New Israel. In Rom. 11:25-26, St. Paul anticipates a day when all Israel would accept Jesus as the Messiah and His death on the cross as the atonement for their sins. "A hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved."
The cross is as much a symbol of 'divine justice' as it is of 'divine love'. Divine justice dictates that the wages of sin is death. The reference here is NOT to 'physical' death, but to 'spiritual' death. Spiritual death means 'separation from God'. That is, the indwelling spirit, which is the "inward being" (Ps. 51) or the "inner man"/woman (Eph. 3:16), becomes separated from God as the inescapable consequence of sin. This is attested in Isaiah 59:2. "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God." When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they instantly died spiritually. Consequently, they lost their fellowship with God and their God-centeredness, and became self- centered, and scrambled for fig leaves to cover their nakedness. What has been finished at Calvary is the BRIDGING OF MAN'S SEPARATION FROM GOD in accordance with the rigorous, but just and fair require- ments of divine justice. The Sinless Christ became our sin on the cross, and died in our place, not only physically, but also spiritually, to appease God's wrath against us. The Lord's SUBSTITUTIONARY SPIRITUAL DEATH on our behalf implies His momentary separation from God the Father, necessitating the heart-rending cry, "My God, My God, why hast
Thou forsaken Me." (Mt. 27:46) The strange salutation is profoundly
significant in that it is NOT, 'My Father, My Father', as it should
otherwise be. Suffice it to say that God punished Christ as though He
had committed our sins. On the other hand, when we believe in Christ,
God accepts us as though we were as righteous as Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21)
In Biblical terminology, it is called "reckoned"/imputed righteousness. (Rom. 4:6)
The Lord Himself affirms in Lk. 22:37, "For what is written about Me has its fulfillment." The Lord's clarity of vision as to His epoch-making mission at Calvary is apparent in Lk.12:50. "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!" It was indeed a baptism of fire; an acid test of His obedience and faithfulness. Accord- ingly, the Lord "offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him, Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard for His godly fear." (Heb. 5:7) The Lord also thoughtfully prepared His disciples for the impending tragedy.
The mission at Calvary has four (04) primary purposes: (i) Bearing our iniquities; (ii) Carrying our sicknesses; (iii) Washing away our sinful- ness and purchasing with His precious blood the forgiveness of our sins; and (iv) Dying physically to rise from the dead, and thus to destroy for ever the power of death.
Isaiah, who lived 700 years before Christ, perceived in his spirit, the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical agony of the dying Christ on the rugged cross, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote: "He (the Father) shall see the fruit of the travail of His (the Son's) soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the Righteous One, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and He shall bear their iniquities." (Is. 53:11) "He shall bear their iniquities," means that Heshall suffer substitutionary spiritual death.
Again, Isaiah saw in his spirit Lord Jesus Christ at the whipping post being ruthlessly lashed by the Roman soldiers, and Isaiah cried out: "Upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His
stripes we are healed." (Is. 53:5) The stripes, left on the Lord's back by the soldiers' strokes with the whip, are a provision for our divine healing. In other words, the Lord took upon Himself our ailments and diseases to be nailed to the cross, and gave us in return health and healing with His stripes. It is NOT coincidental, but prophetic, that David writes in Psalm 103: "Who forgives all your iniquity," (because of the spilled blood at Calvary), and "Who heals all your diseases," (with the stripes on the Lord's back).
The Lord's mission having been triumphantly 'finished', it is up to us, the believers, to claim and receive Calvary's everlasting victory over Satan, sin, sickness and death, as our own inheritance during this Holy Lenten Season.
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen,
Austin, TX. (ID. No. 4160)