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JOHN 19:30

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
April 1, 2018

This is from the Babylon Bee - from last Tuesday:  Confirmed:  Resurrection Was Complex April Fool’s Day Joke That Got Disciples Tortured, Killed”


Quoting the article:  New documents released by the Society of Biblical Scholars confirm that the Resurrection of Christ was merely a complex April Fool’s Day joke that got the disciples who pulled the prank off tortured or martyred or both.


Peter, James, John, Mary, and Martha all reportedly put their heads together and came up with the classic gag, which would end up getting most of them killed for refusing to admit it was all an April Fool’s Day joke that went too far.


The newly discovered and confirmed gospel fragments revealed by the Society record the disciples talking about the prank idea:


“You know what would be great?” Peter said unto the other disciples.  “If we like, pretended Jesus came back from the dead.  We could steal the body and tell everybody He came back, and then when they threaten to throw us in jail, we’ll never recant.”


The other disciples said, “Yes, verily, let us do as you say.  It will be a really great prank, the best the world has ever seen.”


John stood and addressed the disciples, saying, “I don’t know how I’m gonna keep a straight face when they threaten to banish me for the rest of my life.  Totally classic, bros!  High five!”


The document goes on to describe how Jesus’s followers sneaked by Roman guards, rolled away the stone, stole Jesus’s body, and slipped away again unnoticed.  The “epic prank” went on for thousands of years undiscovered, until these new documents confirmed the whole thing was a big, complicated hoax that got everybody involved in it slaughtered.


Talk about a classic gag—great job, guys! (1)

Hopefully you're hearing the sarcasm in that.  All those people died - many of them martyred - they all died claiming the truth of the resurrection.


The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are historical facts that people can debate or try to dismiss or deny.  But Jesus really was crucified to death.  And He really is alive.  The implications of those facts of history are huge for each one of us.


The crucifixion is a fact.  From Scripture and archeology and history we’re pretty clear on the route Jesus was taken through on His way to His crucifixion.


Jesus went from the Last Supper to the Garden of Gethsemane - #1 up there.  Do you see that?    Where He was arrested.  Then Jesus was let to Annas who sent Him to his son-in-law Caiphas - the High Priest - #2 up there.  Then the Jewish leaders appealed to Pilate - the Roman Governor - #3 - to have Jesus put to death.  Luke records that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas - #4 - who questioned Jesus and returned Him to Pilate without passing judgment - we’re back to #5 - Then Pilates sent Jesus to be crucified at Golgotha - meaning “place of the skull” - #6.

This is slightly different perspective that might help visualize how all those places connect together. 


We know that along the route that Jesus traveled He was mocked, beaten, abused, tortured - and ultimately crucified - a painful, excruciating, humiliating death.  Real places in real time - real history - a very real death.


Pondering the reality of that for us is mind popping.


God - our creator - the sovereign God of creation who calls all of this into being - to Whom we owe our very existence.  God - Who is holy - transcendent - incomprehensible in all of Who He is.  God taking on humanity - Jesus being fully God and fully human.  God enduring such rejection and brutality at the hands of His own creation. 


Jesus as He bares our sin upon Himself - Jesus being forsaken by the Father.  His separation from the intimacy of the Trinity - a depth of relationship that’s been His for eternity.  A depth of separation that we cannot comprehend.  But, what is a glimpse of Hell and our deserved punishment for our sin.


Trying to process all that.  We don’t get it.  We can’t get it.  But we see the suffering - which to a degree we can relate to.  And we begin to process that God really does love us with a love that is beyond our ability to fully understand but that we desperately need.


Coming to John 19:30 - the verse we’re focusing on this morning.  Jesus is on the cross.  He has endured the process - the suffering.  He is near the end.


Read with me John 19:30:  When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished,” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.


Last words are powerful.


It’s said that when Voltaire died a priest asked him to renounce Satan.  Voltaire replied, “This is no time to be making enemies.”


Steve Jobs’ last words are reported as, “Oh wow.  Oh wow.  Oh wow.”


George Washington said, “I die hard.  But am not afraid to go.”


Last words are powerful.  Many times they’re remembered by others.  Often they can sum up a person’s life.


Jesus’ last words:  “It is finished.”  Arguably one of the most significant statements in history.  Top 5 - arguably #1.  Hugely significant.  Significant for every human who has lived - is living today - who will ever live - mankind past - present - future - forever - even us here today. 


“It is finished” describes a turning point in the history of history.  In one moment everything about anything changes.


We need to slow down and understand that.  We need to understand how everything changed.  What changes for us.

First:  We need to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “It is finished” - emphasis “finished.”


Ever find yourself mesmerized watching something like this?  That is really annoying.  Isn’t it?


Or maybe you’ve been mesmerized by one of these?  Ever get excited watching a little bar advance just one more pixel?


We get stressed by waiting because we’ve got other stuff to do with our lives.  Some of you are sitting there looking at me and thinking about what you’ve got going on this afternoon. 


More than at any other time in history we live with a perpetual “to do list.”  Nothing is ever complete - finished.


Imagine:  “It is finished.”


In the Greek that’s actually only one word:  “tetelestai” - which comes from the verb “teleo” - which has the idea of arriving at a goal - reaching the end - the purpose - for why something exists.


Archeologists have found papyrus tax receipts with “tetelestai” written across them - meaning “paid in full.”  The final payment’s been made.  There are no more payments that need to be made.


Genesis begins how?  “In the beginning.”  Genesis records our fall - this terrible disaster of humanity entering into sin and the ongoing disaster we struggle with every day of our lives because we live in sin - because we sin.  Just looking at the world we live is our sin displayed in widescreen 3D HD.


Which is where we all connect with the brotherhood of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.  Because every single one of us human beings - apart from Christ - is hopelessly separated from God by our sin.  There is nothing within us that could ever change that.  Nothing that we ourselves could ever do to change that.  Because of our sin we are facing God’s justified condemnation and wrath and forever separation from God.


And yet, Scripture describes God’s steady and purposeful - intentional - plan - working through history to restore what our sin has removed us from - the relationship that God desires for us to have with Him now and forever.


That Scripture account of God’s working includes some pretty dramatic events and God working through prophets and kings and queens and shepherds and basic ordinary people like us. 


Jesus’ statement is the turning point of where history has been going and will go.  In this one moment everything changes.  The whole account of God’s working in history leads to this one moment.  Jesus accomplishing - completing - what God had already begun.  What God had been about doing throughout history. 


It is completely legit to process Jesus’ “tetelestai” as Jesus emphatic declaration that the debt of sin has been canceled - completely satisfied.  There’s nothing left to be paid.  That debt paid - John then records - Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit.  Willingly Jesus then gave over His spirit to death.


Jesus told His disciples, “No one takes My life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”  (John 10:17,18)


Jesus is not a martyr for a cause.  An unwilling victim of hoax gone terribly wrong.  Jesus is the Savior choosing to give up His life at the real time and the real place of God’s choosing - for us.


John 4:34:  Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”


Meaning that Jesus understood that the goal of His life - in His humanity - was doing the work that God had given Him to do.  His whole life has been leading up to this moment.  With this cry Jesus is declaring that He’s done it.  He’s accomplished everything the Father sent Him to accomplish.  It’s done.  Really completely done.  The work of the Son is finished.


Second - going even deeper in our understanding what Jesus means by “It is finished” we need to think what “it” is that’s been finished.  How did a man dying on a cross change everything that’s anything?  What changed?  What happened on the cross?


To describe the “it” theologians use the $50 word “atonement.”  “Atonement” is the “it” in “it is finished.”


Which is a word that most of us get.  If not the word then at least the idea.


This afternoon how many of you are planning some kind of gathering with family or friends?  For many that will involve food.  Yes?  Maybe lots of food.  Maybe uncomfortable amounts of food.  And dessert.  Yes?


All made out of the major food groups.  Flour, butter, and sugar. 


Which means that hopefully - tomorrow - there will be some cutting back on the food intake.  Yes?  That’s atonement.  Working to reverse the consequences of self-gratifying semi-unrestrained bingeing this afternoon.


We might think of atonement as “at one moment.”  We can only dream that the effects of our over indulging could be dealt with at one moment.  Right?


But “at that one moment” - because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross - at that one moment everything that was broken in our relationship with God because of sin - our self-gratifying indulging in sin - at that one “it is finished” moment whatever needed to be completed in God’s work or restoring us to Himself - all that was totally and completely finished.


John Wesley said, “Nothing in the Christian system is of greater consequence than the doctrine of atonement.” (2)


Jesus Christ dying on the cross - in our place - taking our sin upon Himself - making right our relationship with God - is at the very core of what we believe as Christians - at the very heart of Scripture.  Everything in history leads up to it.  Everything that will be from now on - flows from it.


So thinking about all that for ourselves - question:  What really has changed because of Jesus’ atoning work?  Which is - practically speaking - which is bringing $50 theology into the day-to-day of our lives.  What does “it” mean for us?


The Bible gives us a number of different descriptions of what God has done for us through the atonement.  We’re going to briefly look at five of these. 


Which may be a lot to process.  But which are important for us to think about because we need to hold onto the full and complete scope of what God has done for us.  The scope of atonement is huge because our need is huge.


Hang on to something.


The first description - what has the atonement accomplished for us - first - is reconciliation - meaning restoring our relationship with God.. 


We live in a world where relationships are hugely important.  Tweeting and twittering and texting and tumbling - even with its limitations is all about relationships.  We know - way too painfully - we know what it’s like to have a broken relationship.  We know what it’s like to long for reconciliation - an estranged relationship being brought back into harmony - healed - restored.


That’s what God has done for us - between us - on the cross.


Colossians 1:19,20:  “For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”  (TNLT)


We’re born into sin.  We’re born broken in our relationship with God.  When we individually sin we just confirm that reality.  When we disobey God in our speech and our thoughts and our actions.  We go on fracturing our relationship with God.


Jesus dies on the cross to bring about reconciliation between God and us.  Jesus’ sacrifice repairs our relationship with God.


Second - Scripture describes atonement as redemption.


We live in a world where we buy and sell things.  Trade for stuff.  What’s valuable gets paid for.  That’s another way Scripture describes Jesus work on the cross:  Redemption.


Ephesians 1:7,8:  “In Him - Jesus - we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight…”


Those words work just as well at Target as they do in the New Testament.  Application is a tad different.  But the idea is buying and selling.


God’s grace is pictured as riches.  Lavished is a financial word meaning abundance.  Redemption is a market place term used to describe buying back something valuable.


Jesus’ death is the price that was paid - to do what?  To purchase us - to buy us back from our bondage to sin and its consequences - so we could belong to God.


We know about prices.  We know about buying things.  The atonement is a transaction.  God is the buyer.  We’re the goods.  Purchased with the invaluable blood of Jesus on the cross.


Third - Scripture describes atonement in legal terms - the world of laws and courts and judges - oh my.  In legal terms - before God - we’re guilty as charged and ahead of us is judgement - condemnation - and eternal - we deserve it - punishment.  We’ve broken God’s laws and we have a huge - unsolvable - problem.  Yet God, justifies us.


Romans 5:1,2:  “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

The atonement is pictured as a courtroom.  We’re guilty.  Yet Jesus atoning work on the cross allows us to be justified.  It takes away our guilt.  God is the judge and offended party and yet because of what Jesus has done we can stand before God innocent - justified of our wrong-doing.  Justified - just as if I’d never sinned.


Number Four:  Scripture also uses religion as a metaphor to describe atonement.  Makes sense that the Bible would talk about religion at some point.


Jesus came as a Jew.  Born into a highly religious culture.  Many people understand following Jesus as a religious experience.  His death on the cross is described in religious terms that most people - Jewish or something else - religious terms that most people can latch on to.


Jesus was our sacrifice.  Sound religious.  Everyone in Jesus’ day understood the idea of sacrifice.  Even pagan gentiles.  Over and over offering something valuable to a divine being hoping to offer something that just might somehow appease that being or get its favor - better crops - more fertile goats - whatever.


Hebrews 9:14 describes Jesus as the perfect sacrifice:  “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.  For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered Himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.”  (TNLT)


Jesus is not just another sacrifice.  He is THE sacrifice - the eternal sacrifice - completely without the blemish of sin - able to cleanse us completely - able to completely do what no other sacrifice could - can - and will be able to do.  Once for all to please God.  We received God’s favor not His wrath.


Fifth - Scripture describes Jesus’ atoning work on the cross in military terms.  People conquering other people - fighting and killing and butchering and attacking and defending and defeating and being defeated - all that is well ingrained in our history.  We get this. 


Colossians 2:15:  “He - God - disarmed the rulers and authorities - think demonic powers - forces of evil - and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in Him - Jesus.”      


Imagine the strategy.  God defeating death by dying Himself.  Jesus - when He died and rose again - He humiliated death and evil.  The cross is a decisive brilliant military move.  God using the very tool of evil and death to bring life and victory over evil and death.  The cross is a complete rout - a triumph over Satan and his minions.  The atonement is a forever triumph over evil.


We need to be honest.  Trying to grab the scope of all that - the atonement - all that is hard for us to completely process.  There parts of what God has done for us that - just like we really do not fully understand just how depraved and separated from God we are - we don’t fully understand all of what God has done for us in Jesus - the magnitude of God’s grace towards us.


But God gives us enough.  Descriptions - comparisons with where we live life - that help us to begin to appreciate that in a world of relationships atonement means our relationship with God is reconciled.  We’ve been bought back - purchased by the blood Jesus - redeemed from our sin.  We’re justified before God.  Jesus is our - in our place - sacrifice.  Jesus - in military terms - He’s victorious.  He’s triumphed over death and evil.


That’s what God has been doing in history leading up to the cross.  And at one moment - what is at the core of what we believe.  Reconciliation.  Redemption.  Justification.  Sacrifice.  Triumph.  All of that “it” is finished. 


In one moment everything changes. 


When we welcome by faith what God has done for us in Christ - in one moment God changes everything in our lives.  It may take God a lifetime to sort out all of that in our lives.  But who we are before God - our relationship with Him - God changes forever.


Processing all that:  The problem is that way too often we struggle to believe that it really is finished.


Paul Taylor - a few years back Paul Taylor was preaching on this passage - over at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto.  What he said just touches home.  See if you can relate to this.


“On the cross, Jesus says that atonement is finished.  He did completely reconcile me to the Father.  He did completely justify me.  He did completely redeem me.  Because He is my perfect sacrifice, God is completely pleased with me.  Jesus did declare a complete victory on my behalf.  The amazing application of all of this theology is that we can stop trying to atone for ourselves before God.  We can rest in the fact that the atonement is complete.  It is finished.  Rest in Christ’s atonement.


“But most of us find that really hard to do.  It’s so hard to rest in what someone else has done.  We want to pay things back ourselves.  We want to fix the wrongs that we’ve caused.  We want to earn our way back to God.  We want to be worthy of His love.  We don’t want to accept His grace because we don’t want to extend grace to others.  We want to be in control so we want to atone for ourselves.” (3)


Question:  Is it finished for you?


We need all those things that God offers us in Jesus.  Those things come to us because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.


We need God’s forgiveness - to know the freedom of forgiveness - of living free because God forgives us.  But we can’t experience that freedom of forgiveness if we really don’t believe Jesus’ statement on the cross.


So many times we’re walking around through our lives as if the atonement isn’t complete.  We’re thinking that God isn’t really pleased with us.  That our relationship is still broken.  That we’re worthless and who really cares about us.  We drag around with us the guilt for stuff we’ve done - our failures as parents and just plain people.  The lies about ourselves that we’ve bought into.  The anger that we can’t seem to let go of.  The bitterness.  The lust that keeps pulling us down.  


We think that we’re guilty and that somehow we have to please God.  We need to do some incredible thing - serving at church - doing some great act of service in the community - something to impress Him - to please or appease Him - to somehow earn His favor and blessing.  Memorizing Scripture - reading through Scripture cover to cover including the maps and concordance.  Praying down lists of requests.  Saying the right things with the right words.  All the stuff of religion.


And yet, way too often we’re living defeated - depressed - unable to conquer what beats us down and tears us apart.  Feeling abandoned and guilty and worthless.  We come to end of ourselves and we’ve got nothing.


But, hear the word of Jesus:  “It is finished.”


The proof that “it is finished” is the resurrection.  Which is not an April fools joke.  But reality in the real time of real history.


Whether we can fully process it or not - the amazing reality of the Gospel - of Jesus’ work on the cross and His resurrection - is that all of what God offers to us in Jesus, God really does offer to us in Jesus.

We don’t need to live defeated lives - estranged from God - fearful and hopeless.  We really can live in His victory - restored and forgiven - with great confidence and hope of all that God offers us in Jesus.


John 3:16 - the gospel in a nutshell - Good News - Bad News - Good News - You Choose:  “For God so loved the world - that’s us - you - that He gave His only Son - Jesus who fulfilled that giving by going to the cross for us - for you - that whoever - that us - you - whoever believes in Him - whether we fully understand it or not - but by faith we’re willing to trust that Jesus really has finished what God has given Him to do - whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  That’s victory.  That’s hope.  That’s forever with God.


QUESTION #2:  Has it changed for you?


When Jesus declares “It is finished” He’s declaring that that work is complete.  Welcome by faith what God has done in Christ and everything changes in your life.  It may take God a lifetime to sort out all of that in our lives.  But who we are before God - our relationship with Him - God changes forever.


Jesus - John 10:10:  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”  That’s change.  Life with God now and forever.  Life - the immensity of - that we can’t even begin to probe the amazing depths of.  A life of new possibilities that we’ve always longed for - the abundant - full to overflowing life that Jesus talked about.


Thinking about the answer to that question.  What God opens up to us in Jesus - His death and resurrection - I’d like to invite Lauren to come and share with us a song by Rend Collective: “Resurrection Day.”


Resurrection Day


Because You're risen I can rise

Because You're living I'm alive

Because Your cross is powerful

Because You rose invincible

I can get up off the floor


This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me in the grave

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down

Say goodbye to my yesterdays

Ever since I met You I am changed

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down


Because You rolled my stone away

Because my debt has all been paid

Because You stand in victory

Because You crushed the enemy

I can get up off the floor (get up off the floor)


This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me in the grave

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down

Say goodbye to my yesterdays

Ever since I met You I am changed

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down


The good news is the good news

'Cause You chose the rugged cross

The good news is the good news

'Cause You rose up from the dust

Your gospel is the power

That is saving all of us

So, I can get up off the floor

Come on, get up off the floor


This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me in the grave

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down

Say goodbye to my yesterdays

Ever since I met You I am changed

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me in the grave

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me down

Say goodbye to my yesterdays

Ever since I met You I am changed

This is my resurrection day

Nothing's gonna hold me, nothing's gonna hold me down


Nothing's gonna hold me down

Nothing's gonna hold me (4)






1. http://babylonbee.com/news/confirmed-resurrection-was-complex-april-fools-day-joke-that-got-disciples-tortured-killed/

2. Cited by Paul Taylor:  John 19:30,  “Completion of the Cross”, 03.25.12, Discovery Papers

3. Paul Taylor:  John 19:30,  “Completion of the Cross”, 03.25.12, Discovery Papers

4. Written by:  Bryan Fowler, Christopher Llewellyn, Gareth Gilkeson, Jonathan Lindley Smith.  Lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group.


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®  (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.