So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
The simple principle of seeing it finished is a powerful revelation that determines faith, and which speaks of the need to constantly see everything in the perspective of the cross. We all acknowledge the power in Christ’s final words. We gratefully receive the truth that all was paid in full with His death, and that it purchased us the right to enter into God’s family as sons rather than simply supplicants or penitents. But there’s another truth here which speaks to the issue of faith. It’s a truth that requires us to see it is finished, just as Jesus did.
Seeing it is finished means essentially seeing everything perfect and complete.
Until today, I had never really considered this powerful significance in these last words our Saviour spoke before He died. What’s also important here is that He didn’t simply die. He actively gave up His spirit. It was a profound act of faith, a literal laying down of life and accepting death in the full assurance that ‘it is finished.’
To understand the depth of faith, we must remember that on the cross, Jesus was the Son of Man. He did not go to the cross as the Son of God, the glorious King of Heaven. He went as the perfect, sinless man – anything else would have completely negated His substitutionary ministry. These three words are, therefore, the response of absolute faith from a man. It was that faith that enabled Him to yield His life. Jesus, in the midst of His very human agony and spiritual torment spoke what He saw. It is finished manifests His absolute faith that what God had promised had, in effect, been fulfilled. He was able to willingly give up His spirit because He actually saw the perfection and completion – His resurrection and restoration, but also the spiritual resurrection and restoration of mankind.
Now that is powerful faith, and it’s both an encouragement and an explanation for us. Hebrews 11:1 says: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith is therefore seeing it is finished even though that is not yet the reality. Using the cross as our example once again, it could not have been finished until Christ actually died. The physical death was required in order for the spiritual power to be released. There was no human or natural way that He could have known. It was an act of faith. He saw it is finished before it was actually finished, and His faith was then enacted based on that.
It highlights a very crucial and powerful element of faith for each one of us. Believing without ‘seeing’ is incomplete. Real faith actually sees the ‘final product.’ It sees spiritual ‘substance’ for what cannot be seen in the natural, and sees spiritual ‘evidence’ that what we cannot see actually already exists. It is finished means that it’s already an established spiritual fact. It exists in eternity. It is. It must be manifest in the natural because it already exists in the spiritual. It is finished is perfect and complete, already done, requires nothing added or removed, and cannot be altered.
It’s quite a challenge, isn’t it? How many of us actually ‘see’ the ‘it is finished’ when we pray? This is the essence of real faith. It’s active and dynamic. It believes and sees. This is the kind of faith that releases miracles and God’s power in any situation, no matter how dark or impossible it may seem. Of course, we’re human, and God understands and has also provided the solution. Jesus, though the Son of Man, was able to see it is finished because He walked constantly in the presence of God.
It’s important to realise that God reveals things to those He counts as friends. Unless we see what God sees, our faith will always be limited or even mediocre. How can we pray in faith if we’re not sure what God’s will is? The only way to know His will is to spend time with Him and to walk in obedience to His commands. God’s friends are those who, like Jesus our example, walk righteously before Him. This means that He is present in everything, in all our doings great or small, in every tiny detail. Learning to live life in the abiding presence of God is the first step towards growing our faith. As we see Him in the little things, as we hear His voice and direction in the inconsequential happenings of our lives, we get to know Him intimately. We learn what He wants, and with each act of obedience He reveals more.
That’s the essential nature of real relationship. If we desire to do the will of God, to live lives of great faith, we need to learn to see what God sees. We need to learn from Jesus whose intimacy with God enable Him see it is finished in His darkest hour, and empowered Him to act in faith when it mattered most. If we keep the cross always in view, and remember these words, God will surely lead us into a greater intimacy and revelation of His will. His purpose, after all, is that we should be transformed into the likeness of Christ. This includes the ability to see it is finished, to live the reality through faithful obedience.
Your ways, Lord, never cease to amaze us, for You have made provision for every need. Draw us close and enable us to include You in everything. Help us to live in Your abiding presence, to learn to know You and obey You as Jesus did, and teach us the kind of faith You desire.