[Lesson 95: Review #3] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 97: Hell]

Lesson 96

Review 4:

Jesus Christ: "It Is Finished!"

John 19, Hebrews 10

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Three programs ago we began to review the message of the prophets of God. Today, with God's help, we plan to conclude our review. Our program today is entitled: "It is finished!"

As we have seen, God has divided His book into two important sections, the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is the first section of God's wonderful Book. It contains the Torah {Taurat}, the Psalms {Zabur} and the other writings of the prophets. We saw in this first section of God's Book how our ancestor, Adam, disobeyed God, thus bringing all his descendants into the kingdom of Satan. However, we also learned that God promised to send down to the children of Adam a powerful Savior, to redeem those who believe and bring them back into the kingdom of God. This wonderful promise was an important part of the Old Covenant (agreement).

To set in motion His plan to send down the Savior, God called Abraham in his old age and said to him, "I will make you into a great nation…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:2,3) Thus we saw how God made Abraham the father of the nation of Israel. It was to that nation that God entrusted the Writings of the Prophets. For fifteen hundred years, God sent the Israelites His word, which He placed in the minds of many different men-from the prophet Moses to the prophet John. Through these prophets, God reproved the unrighteousness of the children of Adam and revealed to them the coming of the righteous Redeemer who would pour out His blood to pay their debt of sin.

As we have seen, the Old Covenant, which God established with sinners, required the sacrifice of animals. It declared that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin-because the payment of sin is death!" But the sacrifice of animals, which people carried out from the very first generation, could not really pay for sin, because the value of an animal and the value of man are unequal. For example, if I have a toy car, can I go to the car dealer, and exchange it for a real car, let's say, a Mercedes? Of course not! Why not? Because the value of my toy car is not equal to the value of a real car! Similarly, the sacrifice of animals, which God required in early generations, could not remove sin, because the value of an animal and the value of a man are unequal. As we have seen, animal sacrifices were only illustrations (symbols)-awaiting the time when God would send down the actual sacrifice: the Righteous Redeemer, who brought the New Covenant. Animal sacrifice could only cover sins for a time; they could not remove sins permanently.

The second part of God's Book is called the New Covenant or the Gospel {Injil}. It tells us about the covenant (agreement) which God established with man through the blood of the Redeemer who came from heaven. The book of the Gospel is the story of Jesus the Redeemer who fulfilled the symbolism of all the animal sacrifices when He shed his blood on the cross, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins. Why did the Redeemer have to come from heaven? Simply because every descendant of Adam bears the burden of sin. A sinner cannot redeem a sinner. To illustrate, can a woman who is carrying a basin of water on her head carry on her head a basin for someone else too? No. Similarly, a sinner cannot bear sin's punishment for another sinner. However, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, whom God sent down, did not carry any burden of sin, because He was the pure Spirit Son of God, the Word that was with God in the beginning. He was born of a virgin. Thus, He had a body like ours, but He did not have our evil nature. He did not have the burden of sin upon Him. That is why God could place on Him the sin burden of us all. Jesus the Holy One died for our transgressions. Then three days later, He rose from the dead to give us new life. He overcame death, the grave, Satan and sin!

We have all been born in the deep pit of sin, and there is no one who can come to our rescue, except the Messiah who came from above. If you put your trust in Him, He will pull you out of the pit of sin. He came from heaven to rescue the children of Adam from their sins. And now He has returned to heaven, to mediate for those who believe in Him. That is what the Scripture says:

"There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men!" (1 Tim. 2:5,6) "Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners…After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven!" (Heb. 7:26; 1:3)

As we saw in the Gospel, when Jesus the Messiah was on earth, some believed in Him. Those who recognized who Jesus was rejoiced greatly. They knew that for thousands of years God's prophets had been announcing the coming of the Messiah; now they were seeing Him with their own eyes! Among Jesus' disciples, we heard those who sought their relatives and friends, telling them, "We have found the Messiah!…We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote!" (John 1:41,45)

Tragically, most people living in Jesus' day did not know who He really was. Accordingly, the Scripture declares:

"The Word which was with God in the beginning…became flesh and made his dwelling among us.…The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.…He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him!" (John 1:2,14,5,10,11)

As we have seen, many people witnessed the signs and miracles which the Messiah did. Jesus overcame diseases, storms, demons, sin and death, yet most people did not recognize who Jesus was because Satan had blinded their minds. The crowds touched Him and pressed in on Him but did not really know Him! They considered Him a prophet among the prophets, but they did not believe that all the fullness of God dwelt in Him.

As for the religious leaders of the Jews, we saw that they utterly rejected Jesus. They were extremely jealous of Him and, in the end, they killed Him by having Him nailed to a cross! But that is how God planned it from the beginning; the death of the Messiah on the cross was according to His holy plan which He had announced long beforehand through His prophets. That is why, on the night when the priests arrested Jesus to have Him put to death, Jesus said to Peter who wanted to protect Him, "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matt. 26:53,54)

Jesus knew why He had come into the world. He came to give His life, to shed His blood for sinners, just as the prophets had announced long beforehand. Jesus came so that what Abraham's sacrificial sheep and all animal sacrifices symbolized might be fulfilled in Him. Can you remember the last thing that Jesus said on the cross before He committed His spirit to God? Yes, the Scripture says that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "It is finished!" and died. When He died, the curtain of the holy place of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (John 19:30; Mark 15:37,38) Why did Jesus cry out, "It is finished!"? And why was the curtain of the temple torn in two, that is, the curtain of the Holiest Place, where they sprinkled the blood of the animal sacrifices to cover sin? God tore that curtain in two, and Jesus declared, "It is finished!" so that everyone might know that it is by the blood of Jesus that God forgives the children of Adam their sins and gives them the right to dwell in God's holy presence forever!

By His death, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the words of the prophets and the symbolism of the animal sacrifices. And as we have seen, His resurrection on the third day was the clear proof that God accepted His sacrifice as the full price to pay for sin forever! Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice which God gave the people of the world, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life!

Now then, to finish our review of the message of the prophets, we invite you to listen to some profound and wonderful verses from God's Word concerning the perfect and final sacrifice, which Jesus the Messiah gave when He shed His blood on the cross to pay for sins. The Scripture says:

(Heb. 10) 1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming-not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5Therefore, when [the Lord Jesus] Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7Then I said, 'Here I am-it is written about me in the scroll--I have come to do your will, O God.'"… 9He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." 17Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.… 26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

"We who have heard this, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3)

With these words, God is warning each of you today not to neglect the one and only way of salvation, which is found in the blood of Jesus the Messiah. Whoever disdains the Sacrifice which God Himself has given, needs to know there is no other sacrifice for sins; there is nothing left except the judgment of God, which will be without mercy! Jesus Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice, which God Himself gave, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. On the cross Jesus said, "It is finished!" and since Jesus is the Word of God-when Jesus said, "It is finished," it was God Himself saying, "It is finished!" And three days later God raised Jesus back to life, proving to the world that He is completely satisfied with Jesus' sacrifice for sin.

Friend, do you realize that Jesus has paid for your sins? Do you believe that Jesus Christ finished the work of Salvation for you? Or are you still trying to save yourself by your own works?

Thank you for listening.…

Until next time, may God bless you as you consider the deep meaning of the Messiah's triumphant proclamation from the cross, when He said,

"It is finished!" (John 19:30)