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It Is Finished

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 NIV)

When Jesus died on the cross, his work of redemption was complete. Matthew, Mark, and Luke say he gave out a loud cry as he died, but John adds the detail of what Jesus said in that moment: “It is finished.”

Jesus, a carpenter most likely familiar with buying and selling, used a business term that could be rendered “paid in full.”

It is finished. It is paid in full.

Jesus completed the work required to bring us back into communion with God. No other work is required. We cannot do anything to further the work of Jesus, and, even if we somehow could, there is no need to do so.

The picture is this: Jesus, having completed his mission, gives a victory shout. It’s a shout emerging from his joy — not an “I’m glad this is over” but more like a good and faithful son hearing his father say, “It’s done. Well done!”

Jesus responds with this glorious shout, “It is finished!” The victory is won; the captives are free to come home.

Then to signify that this singular path to peace with God was now open, the “curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38 NIV; see also Matthew 27 and Luke 23).

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19–20).

Talk About It -

  • Does your perspective on Jesus’ death change when you picture him saying “It is finished” with joy?

  • Are you living with the joy that comes from knowing you have been reconciled to God?

To learn more about joy, read Kay Warren’s new book, “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough.”

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Jon Walker is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and a senior editor at This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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