John 19:30: "...It is finished."
" Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other." Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew
Time to Go Home
There was nothing left for his captors to do to him. After his capture in the garden, his interviews and trials, the crown of thorns on his head and the lingering pain of being struck in the face, the sting of the mob's rejection and the shooting pains that came from the soldier's whip, all they could do to him is hold him fast to the wood. Nail him to the cross. Strip him down and display his "crimes" to the people.
Then all anyone did was wait for him to die.
Surely the crowds did not wait around to watch his agony. They went on to their celebrations, emotionally spent from the cheering and jeering. Surely many of the chiefs priests and elders went on their way. They had been up early making decisions that would save the nation from this blasphemer, this agitator. What needed to be done was done. The process would punish Jesus. There was no doubt that their problems were over.
If he wasn't dead by close to sundown, then the Romans' would agree to the Jewish leader's request that the crucified criminal's legs would be broken so that they couldn't raise themselves up any longer to breathe. It was cruel, yes, but it was better than leaving them to die for three more days. Plus, the Sabbath that was swiftly coming should be honored...and there was nothing honorable about what was happening to Jesus.
The View From the Cross
From Jesus' point of view though, all of this was part of the plan. All of it happened so that what the Father had planned to happen from before the foundation of the world on this day would happen. Jesus could plainly see the Father at work around him because everything was going exactly how it should, and Jesus knew it was almost over.
From the vantage point of the cross, he could see the sin of the world lived out in front of him. Those who considered him an enemy did not understand what was happening and gloated in their victory. The soldiers who were striving for position and power within the Roman system, wiped their hands proudly at another day's work well done. Oppressors were still taking advantage of poor widows and orphans were treated a worthless. The "righteous" were still living their hypocrisy, looking good on the outside, but on the inside being ravenously hungry to indulge their sin.
That's why Jesus hung there. Not because of the charge of being a false king of the Jews or a blasphemer, but because of the sin that was working in the deep places of people's heart's even at that moment.
His role was to be the Lamb that was slain for them. For the Father's forgiveness of the unworthy to be just, Jesus had to endure the punishment. It was either him or everyone. For any reconciliation to happen he had to do one final work.
He had to die.
And that is what he did. Lovingly obedient to his Father for every moment. Joyfully hopeful in trusting himself to the Father even in the midst of deep agony, he did his last work. He gave up his life in full view of the reality of how much we do not deserve his love, his gift.
He died saying "It is finished."
No, Really, "Finished." Complete. Done.
His shame was finished. His suffering was finished. The vulnerability he lived in a world opposed to him was finished.
The need for ritual sacrifices was finished. No lamb needed to die ever again for a selfish man's sin.
Striving to try to please God by doing good was finished. The compulsion to try to get God to accept us could end because Jesus' death secured our acceptance in trusting him.
The separation from God that is the result of sin was finished. Now, because Jesus became sin for the undeserving whole of humanity, those who trust that Jesus' death alone (and no other striving to be "right") can make us right with God can be brought home to him.
All of God's work to bring his people home to him was finished. The penalty was paid. There was nothing left to do, but entrust ourselves to him and enjoy his presence. (And even that is a gift too.)
It really is finished.
Its just hard to believe sometimes, isn't it?
Love Demonstrated for All of Us to See
Romans 5:8 "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. "