"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."—John 19:30.
Down to his very latest breath his mind was clear, as shown by every expression during those hours of agony on the cross. There he preached the gospel to the dying thief—"Verily...thou shalt be with me in Paradise;" he commended his weeping mother to the care of the beloved John; and when in the last agonies of death he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And then again his clearness of intellect, and his complete submission to, and trust in God, and his desire to utter a last word of instruction to his followers is manifested in his very last words, "It is finished; Father into thy hands I commend my spirit."
If such was our Lord's dying effort to make this last announcement, how carefully should we consider his words. What was finished there? Taking the standpoint of this dreadful moment we find him in prayer referring to the same thing a few days before, saying, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:11,4). Referring again to his death (John 12:27) he said, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name."
Then it was for this cause—viz., death, as the world's sin-bearer, for the world's redemption—that he came to that hour; and this was what he finished when he bowed his head and gave up the spirit of life—existence. There it was finished; the substitute, the corresponding or equivalent price for the life of Adam and all who lost life through him, was paid. The death penalty which could not be annulled, was thus assumed and paid by another, and henceforth that glorious fact was to be made known to all. Our dying Lord with his latest breath was the first one to proclaim the glorious message—"It is finished;" and after his resurrection he sent his disciples forth to tell to every nation the same blessed truth.
The other side of the great work of atonement yet remains to be accomplished, viz., the converting of the world to God. By this sacrifice which was finished on Calvary, the way of access to God was opened up; the claims of justice were fully met, "That God might be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." (Rom. 3:36.) And now God can receive all who come unto him acknowledging the merit of the sacrifice and trusting for acceptance through it. The promise that the Redeemer will shortly take control of the world, open the sin and prejudice blinded eyes and bind or restrain their great deceiver, is but another way of assuring us that this great truth—the ransom—so necessary to be believed, shall be testified to all in due time (1 Tim. 2:6), when all shall have full opportunity of accepting it.