“After this Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty!’ A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, ‘It is completed!’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” —John 19:28–30
Nearing the end of the greatest accomplishment ever to be done on behalf of mankind, our Lord proclaims, “I am thirsty!” In Psalm 22, King David prophesied what Jesus would someday experience. David’s many poetic expressions were fulfilled in the Savior’s suffering:
“My strength drains away like water; all my bones are dislocated; my heart is like wax; it melts away inside me. The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery; my tongue sticks to my gums. You set me in the dust of death. Yes, wild dogs surround me—a gang of evil men crowd around me; like a lion they pin my hands and feet.” —Psalm 22:14–16
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.” —Psalm 22:1
Having once refused the soldier’s medicinal offer of wine vinegar to dull His pain (Matthew 27:34), Jesus now readily accepts this mocking offering. The vinegar-soaked sponge on a hyssop branch would be used to free His tongue. Jesus had words left to say and He needed His mouth moistened to declare them.
Tongue freed, our Lord now offers the three greatest words of triumph ever uttered to a startled universe. Expressed with majestic simplicity, the Savior states from the cross, “It is completed.” Inexhaustible in meaning, these three words are rich and full of deep truths. Jesus had accomplished what He had come to do. He had done all that was needed to save sinners—all that was needful to satisfy the justice of God.
“The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him—something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.” —Oswald Chambers
Jesus had come to die as our substitute; He had come to fulfill the ceremonial law; He had come as the true sacrifice for our sin; He had come to fulfill many of the prophecies; He had come to accomplish the great work of man’s redemption. Nothing was whimsical or happenstance regarding Christ’s life or death. Not one thing in the minutest details was by accident or by chance. The cup of suffering was at last now drained. Jesus was rightfully preparing to enter back into glory—right back to His Father’s side:
“I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created.” —John 17:4–5
We can rest our souls on the finished work of Christ! We need not fear sin or Satan or the law to condemn us on the last day. Jesus has done all, paid all, and accomplished all that was necessary for our salvation. When we look at our own works, we may well be ashamed at the imperfections we see, but when we focus on the finished work of Christ, we have comfort and peace. We are made complete in Him—not lacking anything:
“For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” —Colossians 2:9–10
“The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive—He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm … Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.” —Oswald Chambers