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Is It Finished? - John 19:28-30

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In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem. This was predicted by prophets, witnessed by disciples, and acknowledged even by skeptical scholars. So what is the significance of Jesus' death on the cross? Many were crucified during that time. What made Jesus' death stand out? And what exactly did Jesus "finish" on the cross? Pastor Nathan Creitz answers the objections of skeptics and the questions of seekers in this Good Friday message from Calva

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Please turn to John chapter 19.

We've heard the scripture read you've heard the story told for many of us. This is a very familiar familiar story because it is the most important story we've ever heard. And it defines Our Lives. But I also recognize that there are many people who do not believe this story. They don't understand this store. For many people around the world and in our city and in maybe even in this room right now, this story is a little bit hard to believe.

And it's a story that for those of us who have faith in Jesus. We trust by faith that it is true. And we thank the Lord for what he has done in our lives as a result. But you and I have neighbors and family members, maybe some of whom you've invited to be here with us today. Who don't believe the story?

And so as we read just a very short portion. Of the final words of Jesus just before he died on the cross.

I want you to think of this story in a fresh way those of you who believe it or should have put yourself in the mind of a skeptic. And those of you who are Skeptics we want to say welcome. Thank you for being here. We want to share this story with you. It says in John 19 verses 28 through 30 after this when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the scripture might be fulfilled. He said I'm thirsty a Jar full of sour wine was sitting there. So they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine. He said it is finished then bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

There are no more important words that have ever been uttered. in the history of language

and the words it is finished. I can think of some very special words that are three words long. Like I loved you. Those are some pretty significant words if you've ever been told I Love You by a mom or a dad or if you have a spouse or someone that you care about your children when they say I love you. In fact recently. My son the youngest one Caleb has taken to same to either my wife or myself. He'll say Daddy. I know I know you love me. Instead of saying I love you. He'll say Daddy. I know you love me and I love that those those are special words to my heart. There's three other words that might be significant to you something like You are forgiven. Or I forgive you. Those are three words that mean a lot, especially when you have wronged someone and you know that you've made a mistake. You've hurt someone and they say I forgive you. And even in scripture those words mean a lot to us because when we learned that we are forgiven of our sins. That's a wonderful that's a wonderful thing for us personally, but I cannot think of three more important words than the words. It is finished historically significantly these words spoken at a certain time and a certain place by a certain person are the most significant words that have ever been spoken. It is finished. But I have a few questions.

About that if we're going to put ourselves into the minds of a skeptic for a moment or if you are here and you are skeptical of these words the first question you might be asking you if you are skeptical or we as Christians should should a reason about our faith. The first question they were going to ask this evening is is it true? Is it true did this really happen? Did Jesus truly died on a Roman cross in the first century ad and I see a lot of people shaking their heads. Yes, and I understand most of you do agree with that, but for the sake of argument and for the sake of any of our lost friends who may have come this evening and for the sake of us taking this message to others we need to Grapple with the truth of this and the reality of this. Question objectively is it true is the story of Jesus's death true 2000 years ago. Now I want to be clear. I'm not asking yet. If the resurrection is true, that's the hard part to understand or to believe that's what really requires fake. I just want us to understand or ask. This question is the death of Jesus on a cross in the first century a d on a Roman cross. Is that true? Well, I want to present to you three groups of people who believe that it's true. The first group of people is the disciples the disciples believe that Jesus died on a cross. The disciples were the followers of Jesus. They had gone with him for several years. They have lived with him. They had spent time with him. And then when he died on the cross, they were horrified. And so they were feeling the agony of that moment more than anyone else ever has before or since and so the disciples believe that Jesus truly Dynamic cross. They were grief-stricken in that moment and we might be tempted to say well, of course the disciples believe it's true. How could they be objective about their beliefs? well You have to understand that we have four different accounts of the death. And of course of the resurrection of Jesus, we have the gospel of Matthew the Gospel of Mark the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John and these are four different authors who were riding shortly after the events. Of the crucifixion Matthew was one of Jesus's closest disciples. Mark was a little bit later on but he was a disciple of Peter and Paul and Luke was a traveling companion with Paul and John was perhaps the closest of all of the disciples. It was part of an even Inner Circle. And so these were people who loved Jesus dearly and two of them were apart of the 12 apart of disciples that Jesus had spent the most time with and these authors wrote at a time when anyone could have corrected them. All right. Have you ever heard of things being peer-reviewed? This was at a time just a few decades after the events when they wrote down what happened when Jesus died on the cross and anyone could have said, oh no wait, I didn't remember it that way, right? They could have come along and corrected Matthew or Mark or Luke or John? And yet these are four different accounts and and we might be tempted to say welp. Again, how can they be objective? They were disciples. They love Jesus. There's an event that happened a lot more recently. Did the vast majority of us know is true? It really happened. I'm talking about the Holocaust.

Now it's been sixty or seventy years. since the Holocaust

But there are still people to this day who were maybe children at the time of those events and they can tell you their experiences. They know that it happened. Let me ask you a question. Whose story do you want to hear? If you're asking about the Holocaust a holocaust Survivor or a holocaust denier. You have to understand that Holocaust deniers are a very small minority of people because the vast majority of us know objectively that these events happened in the 1940s. We know that it happened there's newsreels that happened but there's also a witnesses that that can tell us of what they saw and so, who should we listen to the crucifixion Skeptics or the crucifixion eye witnesses? See these disciples. They knew that it had happened. But I'm not going to ask you to take their word for it. Not only were skeptical we're disciples who were with Jesus. They believe that Jesus died on the cross, but also Skeptics of today believe that Jesus died on the cross and again, I'm not arguing for the resurrection yet. I'm just simply stating that Jesus truly did die on a Roman cross. That this is true. It is in fact true. It did in fact happened Skeptics today believe that Jesus died on the cross now not talking about the you know, the the pajama wearing blogger who's sitting on his computer typing up conspiracy theories like a holocaust denier or a crucifixion denier someone who's just kind of spewing out this, you know Aunt I'd like some people don't even believe that Jesus was real that he even walked the Earth are there denying all these things. They they close their minds to objective truth, but I'm talking about the people who are New Testament PhD Scholars who are Skeptics and and that actually exists. Okay, there are some people who study the New Testament who are Christians, but then there are also Skeptics who study the New Testament My friend might like Kona refers to the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus as historical Bedrock. Now, of course, there's going to be people who deny the resurrection we're not going to get to that yet. But as far as Jesus dying on a Roman cross 2000 years ago. It's virtually Undisputed. So if you are a skeptic today, and you don't want to take the disciples word for it take the Skeptics to hold phds in New Testament studies refers to his friend Gary habermas. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him. But Gary habermas is a researcher and a historian. He researched every academic journal or book or article written from 1975 to the present by those who hold phds in New Testament studies or are similar fields and he looked at all of the different academic journals written by Christian Scholars Jewish Scholars or skeptical Scholars, and he not only analyzed all all of the articles that you could even find for 1975 to the present in English, but he also studied everything in German and in French as well. And he said that whether you are a Christian or a Jew or a skeptical secular scholar of New Testament and you hold a PhD of some sort that they virtually do not dispute across-the-board. They will not dispute the death of Jesus on a Roman cross.

So is it true all again? If you're a skeptic take the Skeptics word for it, but I one more group of people that I want to share.

Just to solidify in her mind is it actually true? Did Jesus die on the cross? Well, there's a third group of people not only disciples from the past and I only Scholars and Skeptics from today, but the prophets of old. In Isaiah 53:5 there was a prophecy that said that he was pierced because of our Rebellion Crush because of our iniquities punishment for our peace was upon him and we are healed by his wounds and Psalm 22 16 through 18 is a prophecy of this suffering of the Messiah where it says for dogs have surrounded me a game of evildoers has closed in on me. They pierced my hands and my feet I can count all my bones people look and stare at me. They divided my garments among themselves and they cast lots for my clothing understand something in Isaiah. It says he was pierced. In Psalm, it says they pierced my hands and my feet. Do you know what the common form of execution was in Israel at that time? When David when the psalmist wrote and when Isaiah wrote it was through Stone. Who's not through persecution? So I guess you could say well maybe a stone Mike Pierce. This person maybe somehow as he's being stoned it might pierce his hands and speak with you understand something about these prophecies in Isaiah, which was written 700 years before Christ and end song which was written a thousand years before Christ. Do you know that the Forum Of execution by crucifixion was not yet invented.

There was no such thing as crucifixion yet. Nobody was hanging Somebody by their hands in their feet. Nobody was piercing hands and feet until 600 BC almost a century after Isaiah wrote that he would be pierced for our transgressions.

So the prophets were prophesying that a person would come and he would be pierced for our sins and our iniquities his hands and his feet would be pierced and crucifixion was not yet a form of torture and death. So if you don't want to take the disciples word for it. And if you're skeptical about the Skeptics, you don't want to take their words for it. Take the words of God. But he spoke through His prophets that this is how his Messiah would suffer. And if you don't want to take any of their words for it take Jesus's words for it as he entered up before he went to Jerusalem. It says in Mark 10. See Jesus says we are going up to Jerusalem. The son of man will be handed over to the chief priests and the Scribe now if it stopped there at the prophecy stop there that's believable. Of course, you're going to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes. These are the religious leaders of Jerusalem. And what are they going to do? They're going to Stony that's likely what they would have done. But now Jesus knew what would happen to him Not only would I be turned over to the chief priests and scribes but then they will condemn him to death and they will hand him over to the Gentiles. How would he know that and they will mock him spit on him flog him and kill him. How would they know that? How would Jesus know that and he will rise after 3 days away. We're not getting to that yet.

So is it true? Did Jesus die on the cross on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. This means yes. I believe he did. But the next question we need to ask is so what? It is it true. I say yes, but the next question is so what if it is? What if it is true? What does that have to do with me two thousand years later. I mean Cyrus crucified a whole bunch of people in the 6th Century, BC. I hope that doesn't mean anything to me. So what if it's true, what does it matter? Who cares?

So what? well What is the share a little bit with you? about three different options

a guy named CS Lewis He said an end by the way CS Lewis had been an Atheist and he was a skeptic of Christianity you until he read the Gospels. He said on Jesus either this man was and is the Son of God or else a Madman or something worse. That was his conclusion. Now, he's riding after becoming a Christian but he's riding back and he's looking at the death of Jesus in the same. Look this guy has got to be the Son of God. He's got to be who he said he is. What if it is true. Well, that means something right there something significant about it if it is true. And the significance is that he is the Son of God now again, you may not believe that. Maybe he has CS Lewis said maybe he's a Madman or something worse. Bruce Metzger gave it stayed in the argument this way. He said it is often been pointed out that Jesus is claimed to be the only son of God is either true or false. Well, if it is false Jesus either knew the claim was false. Or he did not know that it was false in the former case. He's a liar in the latter case. He was a lunatic no other conclusion beside these three is possible. This is what's referred to now in apologetics circles those who defend and argue for the faith as a trilemma any of you ever been in a dilemma, cuz it's like I don't know what to do. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. Imagine the trailer or there's three different options and the options here are Jesus is either Lord or he's a liar or he's alone.

And so maybe for the sake of our argument, maybe Jesus is a liar.

Well, there was a man named Cicero who lived in the first century before Christ. And he said the crucifixion was the cruelest and most hideous punishment possible.

You think Jesus lied? about who he was

I think that at some point if I'm a liar. And somebody's telling me well, I don't believe you're the Messiah and so I'm going to hang you on this cross. I think sometime between being spit on and be mopped. Somewhere between there and maybe having the crown of thorns being placed on my bro. I would have said hey, wait a second, you know, I just made all this up. Please forgive me. Could you just let me go I don't want to have any more of this. Or maybe if you really have your you're really committed to this line and maybe maybe it's somewhere between the crown of thorns being jammed on your head and the moment when you're being nailed to a cross. I mean, it's some point a liar is going to Bess up don't you think that seems logical seems reasonable? So you could say that maybe Jesus is a liar, but it just doesn't add up. So maybe he's a lunatic maybe he didn't know that he was not the Son of God. Maybe he was saying that and he was delusional. Have you ever heard in modern-day terms of the term Messiah complex, you know where we get that we get that when you or I think that I can just save Everybody by my own effort and we get that because some people look at Jesus as if he had a messiah complex. Maybe he's crazy. Maybe he's delusional. Maybe he's just Ridiculous. I have to admit that there are some things that Jesus said that If I were to say it, it would sound crazy. Alright, Jesus said I'm going to lay my life down and then I'm going to take it back up again. if I said that you need to find another pastor.

Is there there were many things that Jesus said they're hard for us to understand but but crazy doesn't describe his teaching. You realized it around the world. Approximately 2 billion people and probably more claim to be Christians. They at least maybe they're not. You have truly saved but at least there are many people are practicing religiously. They are Christians maybe in a different denomination or a different church or whatever but not everybody who claims to be a Christian is a Christian, but let's just say for the sake of argument that about a third of the population of the world. Claim to be Christian. So they at least venerate the teachings and the actions of Jesus. Would you also realize that Muslims around the world? Revere Jesus at least to the highest level of a profit. Do you know that even Hindus and Buddhists will look at the teachings of Jesus and they will say man. This guy is a great teacher perhaps they'll assign him the level of Guru right or or some sort of a great teacher. No one looks at the wife and the teachings of Jesus and says, he's crazy. Okay. So maybe he's a liar. And he was so committed to it that he allowed his body to be beaten. Maybe he's a lunatic and he just didn't realize that he was not the Messiah. He thought he was the son of God, but clearly he wasn't maybe he needs to be put in a straight jacket instead of across. Well, as I said, neither of those two options is believable. You cannot convince me. The Jesus was a liar or a lunatic. It's a really as Bruce Metzger says there's really only one other conclusion. Maybe Jesus is truly who he said he is. Jesus is Lord. So what if it's true? If Jesus died on the cross, it means something it means that Jesus is either a liar or a lunatic or he is Lord. And again, we haven't gotten to the resurrection yet. I'm not asking you to believe in Resurrection.

Bee Gees says

and his crucifixion proves it in my mind. Jesus is Lord.

Even if you look at the narrative in scripture pilot was nervous because he thought Jesus might be got the century and looked at him and saw his death and it was at that moment when you breathe his last that the century and said and a century it is a secular polytheistic, you know Caesar revering loyalist. And here is the Centurion on the death of Jesus looking at him and saying This truly must be the son of God.

So we've asked the question. Is it true? And we'd ask the question. So what if it is well, I think you understand why I believe this is a significant thing. Final question I want to ask is something we haven't even gotten to yet is what is it? What is it? Jesus said it is finished. It is finished.

again Putting myself in the shoes of a skeptic. I think a lot of people have looked at this passage and they they thought that maybe what Jesus was saying when he said it is finished.

Is that what he was doing? There is this was a cry of relief. His suffering was over.

Or maybe it was a cry of Anguish. It is finished because his ministry had ended in failure. That's what a skeptic who hasn't really thought it through mine might look at that and say what when he said it is finished. It was a cry of Anguish or it was a cry of relief. But what Jesus didn't say is I am finished. She didn't say I am finished. He said it is finished. And so what is it? What is it has to do with what precedes in verse 28 and 29. Look at that again. It says in verse 28 after this when Jesus knew when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the scripture might be fulfilled. He said I'm thirsty.

I don't know if Jesus was thirsty. He probably was. But the reason Jesus asked or are the reason Jesus said I am thirsty is to fulfill scripture. I want you to just look at that phrase bro another minute after this when Jesus knew. Here's what Jesus is doing on the cross. He's reviewing all of the prophecies about him. All through scripture and he's recalling all of the prophecies and that every single one of them has been fulfilled in him. except one

He says he knew. That everything was now finished that the scripture might be fulfilled. And so he said I'm thirsty and then a verse 29. So it's Jar full of sour wine was sitting there. So they fix the sponge full of sour wine on a branch and held it up to his mouth. Now. Do you know what sauerwein is? It's it's benigar. Wine when it grows sour it becomes vinegar. Psalm 69 which again was written a thousand years before Christ. Verses 19 through 21 Psalm 69 says, you know the insults I Endure my shame and disgrace you are aware of all my adversaries insults have broken my heart and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy but there was none for comforters, but found no one instead. They gave me Gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

And at this final moment of Jesus's life before he died on that cross Jesus new. All the prophecies about his birth about his life and about his death had been fulfilled in him, but there was one left and so whether he was thirsty or not doesn't really matter. We don't know what he says. I am thirsty to fulfill this prophecy.

And in his Divine foreknowledge, he knew that they would offer him vinegar and not water or something else. And so this all of scripture was fulfilled in this moment. This is what was finished. All of the the Fulfillment of scripture was completed in that moment. But there's one more thing that was finished in that moment again, I'm going back to John 19. It says when inverse 30 when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said it is finished then bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

Well earlier we read from Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah 53. Let me read verse 4 and verse 5 now is as yet he himself bore our sicknesses and he carried our pains but we in turn regarded him stricken struck down by God and Afflicted but he was pierced because of our Rebellion crushed because of our iniquities punishment for our peace was on him and we are healed. by his wounds

You know what Jesus accomplished on the cross? He accomplished the forgiveness for your sins. You are Center eye of a sinner. We are disobedient to God. We have broken his commands. We have done we have violated his laws. We deserve the death penalty. We deserve to spend an eternity in Hell separated from God. 4 Hour violations for what we have done against God. And you might think why I don't really care about. I don't I don't really I haven't done anything to him, you know. Well, you don't care about it. So God says to love him with all your heart soul mind and strength. You've already violated that one. That's just one for example. Love your neighbor as yourself. We've all violated his laws. And we are dead in our sins.

And what Jesus did on the cross what he finished what he accomplished and by the way, it's done. Okay, it is done. He took our sins to the cross and died on the cross for them for the payment of our sins. He paid the penalty. That we never could have paid for our own stands and he died on the cross.

And the work is complete.

So what is it is it is the Redemption? The restoration the reconciliation the Forgiveness of sins the great being brought back in to the family of God to be met righteous before God. This is what Jesus accomplished and if you whether you're a skeptic or whether you're a disciple or whether you're a church member or the weather you say you're a Christian or or who at whatever group you say that you're in I want to share with you some great news that you are a sinner objectively. That is true. You have sent. Anybody who wants to deny it come to me afterwards, but you have sinned. As a result of that sin you are lost and you would have no hope if it were not for what Jesus did on the cross 2000 years ago.

And so as we conclude.

I want you to understand something Christians. The work is finished. The work on your behalf is done. You're not trying to gain favor from God by your own merits just trust in him have faith in him. He'll change you. He'll make you more like him. He'll send his holy spirit to to sanctify you and make you more like Christ.

And if you're not a Christian. Let me just tell you. Did the work is done? I've heard people say well, you know, maybe I'm supposed to get better before I come to God. I want to make sure I'm looking better. You know how I want to kick this drug habit. I want to stop swearing. I want to stop being angry at my wife. I I want to stop.

These things so that I can come to God.

Can I just give you some peace of mind that the work is already done? It happened two thousand years ago. When Jesus said it is finished the work is done. No one got up on the cross with Jesus. To help him die for you. And you are living 2000 years after the fact, there's no way you can go back and help him. With the work that he accomplished by himself on the cross you have to understand that. He said it's finished. Jesus went to the Cross alone. Judas had betrayed him Peter had denied him the other disciples ran and hid from him the Jewish crowds yelled crucify him. The religious leaders bore false witness against him and pilot even washed his hands of him the Roman soldiers mocked and spit and beat him. To literally in that City 2,000 years ago. There was no one else standing with Jesus. Nobody else can can can say I helped Jesus do this. No, Jesus did this alone and it is finished. He accomplished the work that he set out to do. It's over it's done. All we do now is trust in him by faith surrender Our Lives to him. Trust that he will forgive us our sins.

If we acknowledge that he is Lord.

So there's good news for us this Good Friday.

I'm going to go ahead and let you know. There's more to the story.

He is risen.

There's a lot more of that story. But I'm not asking you to believe that yet. I just want you to consider.

Is the story true did Jesus die on a Roman cross 2000 years ago and if it's true, so what? What does that mean?

I think it means that Jesus is Lord. And if Jesus is truly Lord that he deserves our surrendering Our Lives to him. And if he is the Son of God, which I know that he is.

Then there's no doubt in my mind. The God Who created all things can reach down and raise his son back up again. Amen, so I want to invite you. to come with us Easter Sunday, I want you to consider the claims of Christ. What you think about what Jesus accomplished on the cross and if you are someone who is a skeptic, you're not a Christian, I would love to share with you more about the gospel. And I hope that today you would fall under conviction that you would recognize that you are a sinner and that you are in need of a savior and the Jesus is that same here. He is your lord and he is already surrendered his life. To give you new life.

So, I hope that you'll talk with someone afterwards. I love to talk with you and pray with you about the gospel and and share that story even more with you. Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

Or Jesus once again, we thank you for your sacrifice. We thank you for The fact that not only did you die on a cross and cry out it is finished. But Lord you Rose again 3 days later in Victory. And God the Father exalted you and gave you the name that is above every other name. Jesus So Jesus, we celebrate you as Lord we worship you we honor you and we submit Our Lives to you. Please help anyone who does not yet have faith or by the power of your spirit convict them of their sin and help them to see that you are the Risen Savior and Lord and came and that we would all leave this place Rejoice that we are worshipping. Our king of kings and Lord of lords. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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