Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.
IT IS FINISHED
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
ON GOOD FRIDAY EVENING
24 MARCH 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (Psalm 22:26)
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!
The Gospel Reading: John 19:30:
30. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
O Father, open our hearts to You so that we can truly understand why Jesus had to die for us. Amen.
Jesus said, "It is finished!" But as we look around, we may not be able to fully understand that everything that He accomplished upon the cross is truly finished.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
As we look around at the world, and even at ourselves, it is not hard to understand that we most assuredly don't know what we are doing, or we wouldn't do many of the things we do.
Yet, how could Jesus ask for forgiveness for those who falsely accused Him?
How could He ask for forgiveness for those who shouted, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"?
How could He ask for forgiveness for those who nailed Him to the cross?
How could He ask for forgiveness for those who mocked Him?
How could He ask for forgiveness for you and for me?
He could, and He did, because He died for those very sins and sinners, and for us, so that the reproach of our sins might be taken away through our true repentance.
It is finished, if we will repent of our sins and accept the free gift of our forgiveness that He offers us.
But at the same time, we need to remember that true repentance means that we do everything in our power to turn away from our former sins, and live as the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, we are called upon to be for the benefit of the whole of creation (our fellow human beings, the animals, and the environment in which we all live).
It could truly be finished, in all of our eyes, if we would pray for those who have sinned against us, as Jesus prayed, and then freely forgive them, as Jesus forgives us.
Think about it. Haven’t those who sinned against us done far less to us than the people did to Jesus?
Yet our Father in heaven will freely and equally forgive all sin in everyone who truly repents, including us and “them.”
Shouldn’t we also freely forgive "them" so that His work could be finished in us?
Didn’t Jesus say to the repentant and dying man on the cross next to Him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."?
Were his sins any less or greater than ours or our neighbor's?
Most likely not, for all sin is an abomination to God, deserving only death.
But Jesus Christ freely died as a substitution for him, so that he would not have to die the second death which is in hell.
And He freely died for our neighbor who did all those evil things.
And yes; He even died for you and for me.
It is truly finished, if we will accept and exchange with each other His love and forgiveness.
Jesus said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.”
He committed His spirit (with a small 's') to the will of His Father so that the Holy Spirit could work through Him and empower Him.
That same power and work can be completed, finished, in us, if we likewise commit our spirits to Him.
If we die to ourselves, submit our will totally and unconditionally to God, then all things become possible in us and through us.
They become possible, but not necessarily done; for it may not be the will of our Father to do everything in and through us.
He may do something in or through you that He does not do in or through me.
And there will be other things that will happen in my life that will not happen in yours.
When this happens, and we truly find ourselves rejoicing in the Lord and not being jealous of each other, then this portion of His work in us is finished.
Jesus finished it all upon the cross almost 2,000 years ago.
All we have to do is commit ourselves to Him and receive all that He has for us.
In that frightful dark time upon the cross Jesus said, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”
Haven’t we also, in those dark times in our lives, felt that we had been forsaken, that we had been left alone, that no one could ever truly care or understand?
Well…Jesus felt like that.
As Jesus hung upon the cross, taking upon Himself the sins of the world, yet remaining sinless, He felt cut off from His Father.
Our sin – yes, our sin – did that to Him.
It was our sin that made Him feel lonely and alone and forsaken and cut off from God.
Because of the power of sin, He who was a man and yet God, felt cut off from Himself.
Sin is powerful!
It is so powerful that it can separate the Son from the Father.
But the power of God is greater.
If we allow the power of God to enter into us, then we will have the power to overcome the sin in our lives, and we will never feel cut off from God.
And when we allow this to happen, it is finished.
When the light had returned, Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” and He said to John, “Behold, your mother!”
The church of God is to be a true and loving family.
We are to reach out to others and love them as our mother, and as our father, and as our sisters, and as our brothers.
Even if we have a problem with members of our own family, we’re to love them as we truly wish we could, and as we truly wish we were loved.
Love can cover all things and make them beautiful, if we are willing to receive it and give it to others, as God freely gives it to us.
When we do truly love and accept each other, it is finished.
But we need to remember that we cannot take our anger, frustrations, or our lusts out on animals instead of our fellow human beings, and think that it is finished, for it it not.
True love never even thinks of harming another living being.
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
Thirsty for a repentant heart.
Thirsty for each of us to accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
Thirsty for us to believe that He is the only Son of God, that He Himself is also God, and that He and the Father are one.
Thirsty for each of us to step out in faith and confess that He is Lord, that
He died for you and me, for the forgiveness of our sins, and that He arose from
the dead to prove that all that He said was true.
Thirsty for us to leave our former lifestyle and live the changed life that He has so freely given us.
And thirsty so that we would truly love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
So…when He said from the cross, “It is finished,” it truly was finished.
Jesus had accomplished it all.
There wasn't anything more He had to do. It was finished, and it is finished.
All we have to do is accept it.