After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
(John 19:28-30)
When Jesus, spoke the words "IT IS FINISHED," He was covering a lot of ground.

He didn't mean that His life was finished. He didn't mean that His torment on the cross had ended. He was saying that the work that He had come to perform had been completed.

Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the Old Covenant and write a New Covenant in His own blood. He was saying that no longer would it be necessary for man to be separated from God because of sin. No longer would we be separated from the throne of God by the veil of the temple. No longer would the blood of animals be required for an atonement that was only temporary. Why?

Because the Lamb of perfection, the Lamb of the ultimate sacrifice, the Lamb of God, shed His blood on the altar, and God received that sacrifice for the total and permanent remission of our sins.

Original Meaning
The New Testament was originally written in Greek. If you were to study the word "finished" in the original Greek you would find that it is a banking term. The word is "t-e-l-e-o" (pronounced tell-ay-o). Do you know what that means? It means PAID IN FULL! Glory to God!

So what Jesus was saying when He cried out on the cross at Calvary was, "PAID IN FULL!"

When Jesus finished His work on the cross, we are told in Colossians 2:14-15 that He had blotted "...out (erased the debt of) the handwriting of ordinances (legal decrees and demands) that were against us, which were contrary (hostile) to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

When Jesus said, "It is finished," He was saying that if you accept me as your Lord and Savior:
  • Sin shall no longer have dominion over you (Rom. 6:14)
  • Your sin debt is paid in full
  • Death and the grave have been paid for
  • Debt, lack, sorrow, pain, sickness, and disease have no power over you because of the price paid on the cross
  • And He was saying that He will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and iniquities will He remember no more, because He has bought, paid for, and finished a New Covenant on our behalf, that is established in His own blood! Hallelujah!
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow!

Dear brothers and sisters, we owed a debt that we couldn't pay, and Jesus paid a debt that He didn't owe! And because He is paid in full, and once and for all, IT IS FINISHED!

Source: It Is Finished by Jim Wandell.
Excerpt permission granted by
Shield of Faith Family & Youth Ministries