“‘It is finished.’ This shout of triumph rings with all the freshness and force of when He spoke it. The satisfaction He rendered to the justice of God was finished. But next, the Savior meant that the satisfaction which He rendered to the justice of God was finished. The debt was now, to the last penny, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever—by the one offering made in Jesus’ body on the Tree. There was the cup, Hell was in it, the Savior drank it—not a sip and then a pause—not a draught and then a ceasing. He drained it till there is not a dreg left for any of His people.” (Source: Charles Spurgeon. From a sermon by Chris Jordan, Good Friday – Christ’s Words from the Cross, 4/22/2011).
Given where these words were said and when Jesus said them, many might find it hard to find triumph in His words. These words spoken from a cursed cross at the end of Christ’s earthly life could be mistaken to signify the end of what had once been a great tragedy. In excruciating pain, Jesus yells out, “It is finished,” and He yields his last breath. Death would claim Him and His people would mourn all the more.
But our author didn’t call this final shout a shout of despair or a cry out in desperation, he called it a triumph. A triumph because Christ’s words weren’t to signify the end of a life but a beginning of new life. In these words, Jesus is telling us that sin and death have now been defeated, their reign finished and their curse overcome.
These words were spoken in triumph because Jesus Christ had completed what He had been sent to accomplish. Through His death, all believers would have life and by His sacrifice all would be made clean. Now the Father would see all believers through the prism of His Son, the perfect sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.
By His example we know that, even in the midst of our own trial and tragedy, we might also find triumph. Life can be hard and almost everyone has had to endure hard times in one form or another. While in the midst of them, triumph can seem a million miles away. Often in these times it can seem that God is absent also, His presence as empty as the triumph we seek.
But even in these times, God is working to bring us to triumph. He is looking for our faith and trust in Him to bring us from tragedy into victory.
Author Steve Salmon in his book “Travelling from Tragedy through Trust to Triumph” tells us this, “We are usually looking for a reason why tragedy strikes, the Bible doesn’t give us a complete answer to that question. What the Bible does give us is hope in the midst of tragedy. The Bible tells us that tragedy, no matter how encompassing it may be in our life never has the last word. The last word is always Triumph.”
In everything, God has a plan. Even in the times that seem to test our faith, God is working to strengthen that faith. Because of sin, we will all taste tragedy, “But thanks to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Because you belong to God you can declare triumph in all things. The world might try and convince you that we have nothing to place our hope in, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Because of what Christ did in our place, we are able to declare victory over sin and death through faith. His final words were not one’s of defeat but of triumph over the devil and anything he might have done to steal us away from glory. Christ said, “It is finished” and it was. All He had come to do had been done. Because of this, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Do you possess the triumph of Jesus? If you have not yet committed your life to Him, He invites you to share in the victory. He has done all that was needed to be done to turn what once was tragedy into triumph. Trust in Him to lead you in the triumphal procession. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for winning for us the victory over sin and death. Help us to share all that you have done to bring us to triumph. Amen.