It is Finished – The Law and Prophets are Filled Up and Fleshed Out

The following is from my current favorite dead preacher, a British man named Charles Spurgeon. He started preaching about the time Oakland was founded and became one of the most famous preachers in the whole world. He is the best wordsmith preacher I’ve ever known and knows the Scriptures better than most. His use of illustration, metaphor, and invitation reconvert me almost every single sermon.
In this sermon, he shows us that Jesus of Nazareth has “fulfilled all of Scripture” from Genesis to Malachi. Jesus is the substance of everything foreshadowed, hinted, predicted, and endured. I pray than all of our Bible knowledge and Jesus-affection grows until we recognize every Scripture allusion in this list, and love Christ more as the King who Reigns and the Lamb who was slain. Enjoy.

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What meant the Savior, then, by this—“It is finished”? He meant, first of all, that all the types, promises and prophecies were now fully accomplished in Him. Those who are acquainted with the original will find that the words—”It is finished,” occur twice within three verses. In the 28th verse we have the word in the Greek. It is translated in our version “accomplished,” but there it stands—”After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, says, ‘I thirst.’ ” And then He afterwards said, “It is finished.” This leads us to see His meaning very clearly that all the Scripture was now fulfilled, that when He said, “It is finished,” the whole Book, from the first to the last, in both the Law and the Prophets, was finished in Him.

There is not a single jewel of promise, from that first emerald which fell on the threshold of Eden, to that last sapphire-stone of Malachi which was not set in the breast-plate of the true High Priest. No, there is not a type, from the red heifer downward to the turtle-dove, from the hyssop upwards to Solomon’s temple itself which was not fulfilled in Him. And not a prophecy, whether spoken on Chebar’s bank, or on the shores of Jordan, not a dream of wise men, whether they had received it in Babylon, or in Samaria, or in Judea which was not now fully worked out in Christ Jesus. And, Brethren, what a wonderful thing it is, that a mass of promises and prophecies and types apparently so heterogeneous, should all be accomplished in one Person!

Take away Christ for one moment and I will give the Old Testament to any wise man living and say to him, “Take this. This is a problem, go home and construct in your imagination an ideal character who shall exactly fit all that which is herein foreshadowed. Remember, He must be a Prophet like unto Moses and yet a champion like Joshua. He must be an Aaron and a Melchisedek. He must be both David and Solomon, Noah and Jonah, Judah and Joseph. No, He must not only be the lamb that was slain and the scapegoat that was not slain, the turtle-dove that was dipped in blood and the priest who slew the bird, but He must be the altar, the tabernacle, the mercy seat and the showbread.”

No, to puzzle this wise man further, we remind him of prophecies so apparently contra- dictory that one would think they never could meet in one man—such as these, “All kings shall fall down before Him and all nations shall serve Him.” And yet, “He is despised and rejected of men.” He must begin by showing a man born of a virgin mother—”A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” He must be a man without spot or blemish, but yet one upon whom the Lord does cause to meet the iniquities of us all. He must be a glorious one, a Son of David, but yet a root out of a dry ground. Now I say it boldly—if all the greatest intellects of all the ages could set themselves to work out this problem, to invent another key to the types and prophecies—they could not do it.

I see you, you wise men—you are poring over these hieroglyphs—one suggests one key and it opens two or three of the figures. But you cannot proceed for the next one puts you at a nonplus. Another learned man suggests another clue— but that fails most where it is most needed—and another and another and thus these wondrous hieroglyphs traced of old by Moses in the wilderness must be left unexplained, till one comes forward and pro- claims—”The Cross of Christ and the Son of God incarnate”—then the whole is clear, so that he that runs may read and a child may understand.

Blessed Savior! In You we see everything fulfilled which God spoke of in old by the Prophets. In You we discover everything carried out in substance which God had set before us in the dim mist of sacrificial smoke. Glory be unto Your name! “It is finished”—everything is summed up in YOU!

Charles Spurgeon, “It is Finished” Sermon 421. Preached on Dec 1, 1861 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. 

A Bit More History Regarding Crucifixion

The following excerpt is a good historical summary of “crucifixion found on another church’s website. You can visit the whole article here. While, it is far from an academic document with regard to citing it’s sources, it matches what I’ve read in such papers and the list of references at the end of the document provides credibility. There is so much junk on the web these days, you’re almost always better reading Wikipedia than an “Christian” website which cites no historical or academic sources. In this case, the Wikipedia article on crucifixion is well researched, but I wanted you to hear the point that Crucifixion is intentionally humiliating, shameful, and excruciating (a word specifically invented to describe the pain of the cross). Why read this, well Hebrews 12:2-3 says, fix your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

We moderns still recoil with horror when we hear of Christ’s crucifixion. But what did the ancients think of crucifixion? They considered it to be the most shameful, the most painful, and the most abhorrent of all executions. The Roman statesman Cicero called it “the most cruel and disgusting penalty” (Verrem 2:5.165) and “the most extreme penalty” (Verrem 2:5.168). The Jewish historian Josephus, who certainly witnessed enough crucifixions himself, called it “the most wretched of deaths.” The Roman jurist Julius Paulus listed crucifixion in first place as the worst of all capital punishments, listing it ahead of death by burning, death by beheading, or death by the wild beasts. And from Seneca we have this quotation, which is one of the most unique descriptions of a crucifixion in non-Biblical literature:

  • Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all? Can any man by found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly wounds on shoulders and chest, and drawing the breath of life amid long drawn-out agony? He would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross (Dialogue 3:2.2).

The ancients considered death by crucifixion to be not just any execution, but the most obscene, the most disgraceful, the most horrific execution known to man.

How common was crucifixion in the ancient world? Quite common, at least among the Romans. Though Roman law usually spared Roman citizens from being crucified, they used crucifixion especially against rebellious foreigners, military enemies, violent criminals, robbers, and slaves. In fact slaves were so routinely crucified that crucifixion become known as the “slaves’ punishment” (servile supplicium; see Valerius Maximus 2:7.12). Appian tells us that when the slave rebellion of Spartacus was crushed, the Roman general Crassus had six thousand of the slave prisoners crucified along a stretch of the Appian Way, the main road leading into Rome (Bella Civilia 1:120). As an example of crucifying rebellious foreigners, Josephus tells us that when the Romans were besieging Jerusalem in 70 A.D. the Roman general Titus, at one point, crucified five hundred or more Jews a day. In fact, so many Jews were crucified outside of the walls that “there was not enough room for the crosses and not enough crosses for the bodies” (Wars of the Jews 5:11.1).

SERMON – John 18 – The Judge is Arrested

 

John 19 - The King is Enthroned
"It is finished."

Pastor Andrew Ruth
March 29, 2015
John 12:12-30
John 19

It is finished     |     Tetelestai     |     τετελέσται

Servants

When a servant completed an assigned task in the assigned manner, she would report, "Tetelestai. It is finished." Jesus is the True Servant who accomplished his Father's will and mission to save humanity.

Priests

If a priest examined a sacrificial lamb and found the animal to be without blemish, he declared, "Tetelestai. It is complete." Jesus is the True High Priest and the True Passover Lamb.

Artists

When an artist stepped back from her sculpture for the final time, she declared, "Tetelestai. It is finished." Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are the consummation of God's grand design for salvation established before the foundations of the earth. 

Debt Collectors

When a debt was paid off in full, the promisory note was marked, "Tetelestai. Paid in full." Jesus is the King who paid the Debt of Sin that we could not pay. He has cancelled out the ledger by nailing it to the tree. 

Prisoners

When a convict completed his sentence or underwent his punishment, his case was marked, "Tetelestai. It is finished." Jesus bore the punishment for all our sins. He was crushed for our iniquities, and the punishment that brought us peace was laid upon him. 

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – March 22 – 28

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Questions to Guide You:
1. How do the soldiers mock Jesus? Why do you think they mock him?
2. Does Pilate think Jesus is guilty of any crime? Why does Pilate let him be beaten and whipped and mocked? Why does Pilate punish him?
3. Who has power in this story? What kind of power does each Character have? Pilate? The Crowd? The Chief Priests? Jesus?
4. Who is Israel’s True King? Why did Israel reject their True King in the Old Testament? Why are they rejecting Jesus as King here?
5. What does it look like to let God be King? How do we reject Jesus as King too?
6. Do you see any similarities between John 19 and Psalm 22, which was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born?
7. How does the wine Jesus drinks in 19:29 parallel the wine in Ps 75:7-8?
8. What is finished, when Jesus says, “It is finished?”
9. Why do you think Joseph and Nicodemus volunteered to bury Jesus?

For a printer-friendly copy of this reading plan, including sample questions to augment your study of Scripture, Download the PDF.