Easter Devotional | 2024 - Day 7

Jesus Dies on the Cross

By Sean Beach

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” ~ John 19:30

As the brutally beaten Messiah hung boldly on the cross, He uttered His final words, “It is finished.” What exactly was finished? Sure, His suffering was finished. Of course, His life was finished as He breathed His last breath. But there was so much more that was finished at this moment.

The Greek word that is translated as “it is finished” is tetelestai. It is actually an accounting term that means “paid in full.” This precise moment in history is the climax of all of Scripture. The sins of mankind had created a debt that called for a reckoning. Since God is a just God, His wrath had to go somewhere. The precious blood of Jesus was the only acceptable sacrifice. Jesus willingly and boldly accepted the mission that the Father had sent Him on . . . the first mission trip. Jesus had come to earth on a mission to seek and to save the lost, and that mission was now finished. With Jesus’ death on the cross, the debt owed to the Father was now paid completely and forever. Tetelestai. “Paid in full.”

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that the temporary covering of the Old Testament sacrificial system was no longer needed. His sacrifice was the perfect sacrifice that fully satisfied God’s wrath. He is the Spotless Lamb that has been slain for the sins of the world.

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that the fulfillment of the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah was finished.

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that He was the promised Messiah first prophesied in Genesis 3:15 who would come from the seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpent. 

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that He was the crucified Messiah that Psalm 22 prophesied a thousand years before crucifixions were even invented. 

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that He was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who was crushed for our sins, whose blood brings us healing, and whose death brings us peace.

With the words, “It is finished,” Jesus was declaring that the work of the long-awaited Messiah was finished. Jesus perfectly and completely satisfied all of these prophecies and so many more at this precise moment in history.

It is also of note that John 19:30 tells us that after declaring, “It is finished,” Jesus “bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” Earlier in the gospel of John, Jesus told us that He is the Good Shepherd and that no one takes His life, but He willingly lays it down. (John 10:17–18). Here, at the moment of His death on the cross, we find Jesus still very much in control and still very much submitting to the will of the Father. Jesus bows His head in reverence and willingly gives up His spirit. There was never a moment in time when Jesus was not fully in control.

Jesus had completed His mission to seek and to save the lost by willingly offering His own life as a ransom for many. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says it this way, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus is both our example in life and our substitute in death. He modeled for us what it looks like to live a life wholly devoted to the will of the Father and ultimately died a criminal’s death on a cross that was fit for you and for me. In exchange for our sins, He gives us His imputed righteousness. 

Of course, we know that Jesus did not stay dead, but on the third day, was raised to life and walked out of that tomb victorious over sin and death. In 1 Corinthians 15:55, we find the words, “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?” Though Jesus’ death on the cross is a dark moment in the chronicles of human history, it is truly the culminating act of redemptive history. Jesus’ death and resurrection have taken away death’s victory and sting. Jesus’ death has paid our debts in full and allows us to boldly stand without condemnation before the God of the universe, clothed in the righteousness of our precious Savior. Jesus’ death brings everlasting life.

Questions for Thought

  1. How does the understanding that Jesus willingly laid down His life impact the way you view His death on the cross?
  2. How does recognizing the Great Exchange that took place on the cross (our sin for His righteousness) change the way you live your life?

Daily Challenge

When Jesus declared, “It is finished,” He was declaring an end to the claim that sin has on those who would look to Jesus and repent. I want to challenge you to first reflect on your own salvation being purchased by Jesus’ death. Praise Him for this. Then, I challenge you to think of one person who needs to hear that hope of the gospel this week and ask God for the opportunity and the boldness to share.

Author Bio

Sean Beach

Associate Minister of Education

Sean serves as the Associate Minister of Education at First Dallas. He has a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently writing his dissertation for a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Liberty University. Sean and his wife, Katie, have been married for 11 years, and they have three girls, Caroline (9), Madison (8), and Emily (5).

Author in Israel