It Is Finished!
Oh, until I came to read all about what Christ suffered, I never before realized what He had done for us. I never knew until I came to read all about the Roman custom of scourging what it meant by Christ being scourged for me. When I first read about that I threw myself on the floor and wept, and asked Him to forgive me for not having loved Him more. Let us imagine the scene where He is taken by the Roman soldiers to be scourged. The orders were to put forty stripes, one after another, upon His bared back. Sometimes it took fifteen minutes, and the man died in the process of being scourged. And after they had scourged Him, instead of bringing oil and pouring it into the wounds of Him who came to bind up the broken heart, they dressed Him up again, and some cruel wretch reached out to Him a crown of thorns, which was placed upon His brow.
Now you might have seen at one of the gates of the city a great crowd bursting through. What is coming? The Son of God, walking through the streets of Jerusalem. And He carried a cross. You wear small crosses of gold around your necks, but the cross that the Son of God carried was a rude, heavy tree, made into a cross. I can imagine Him reeling and staggering under it.
You who say you see no beauty in Christ, come with me and take a look at those wounds, and remember that the crown of thorns was laid upon His brow by a mocking world. Look at Him as He hangs there, and the people who pass by are deriding Him. There are two thieves, and the one said, “Save us and save Thyself, if thou beest the Son of God.” But hark! At last there comes a cry from the cross. What is it? Is it a cry to the Lord to take Him down from the cross? No! It is “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Was there ever such love as that? While they were crucifying Him, He was lifting up His heart to God in prayer.
Right in the midst of the darkness and gloom there came a voice from one of those thieves. It flashed into his soul as he hung there, “This man must be more than man; this must be the true Messiah!” He cried out, “Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!” We are anxious to get the last word or act of our dying friends. Here was the last act of Jesus. He snatched the thief from the jaws of death, saying, “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” And again He spoke. What was it? “It is finished,” was His cry. Salvation was wrought out, atonement was made. His blood had been shed; His life had been given. And so the dark clouds of death and hell came surging up against the bosom of the Son of God, and He drove them back, as you have seen the waves come gathering up and surging against the rock, and then receding and then returning. The billows were over Him. He was conquering death and Satan and the world in those last moments. He was treading the wine-press alone.
At last He shouted from the cross, “It is finished.” Perhaps no one who heard it knew what it meant. But the angels in Heaven knew; and I can imagine the bells of heaven (if they have bells there) ringing out and the angels singing, “He is dead, and full restitution has opened the way back into Paradise, and all man has to do is to look and live.” After He cried, “It is finished,” He bowed His head, commended His spirit to God and gave up the ghost. Do you tell me you see no reason why you should love such a Saviour? Would you rather be His enemy than His friend? Have you no desire to receive Him and become His? May God soften all our hearts to-day.
~ This is from “The Death of Christ” in Glad Tidings.