After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:28-30
Have you ever stopped to consider how wonderful it is that Jesus took care of our sin once and for all? His forgiveness isn’t temporary or incomplete. It is total! By Jesus’ blood, our sin is completely washed away. We must never take this lightly.
Pilate, reluctant to put Jesus to death, attempted to appease the Jews by ordering that Jesus be flogged. One can only imagine how ruthless the Roman soldiers were—scourging Him, mocking Him, pressing a crown of thorns into His head, striking Him, spitting on Him, even plucking out His beard (see Matthew 27:30; Mark 15:19; Isaiah 50:6). Pilate presented Jesus’ broken body to the Jews, appealing to any ounce of compassion they might have had. The Jewish leaders, unmoved, cried out, “Crucify Him!” (John 19:6).
Pilate, in a last effort, petitioned the Jews once more: “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests replied, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). That statement sealed the doom of the Jewish nation. These men, speaking on behalf of all Israel, pledged their allegiance to Caesar and rejected the God they claimed to serve.
So Pilate gave Jesus up to be crucified. Jesus, carrying His own cross, was led to “the Place of a Skull” (19:17), and there He was crucified between two thieves.
As Jesus hung on the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothing. At some point Jesus addressed His mother, Mary, and John, His faithful disciple, who stood together nearby: “Woman, behold your son!” and then to John, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26–27). As the hours dragged on, “Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’” (John 19:28).
Prophesies Being Fulfilled
Any Jewish person familiar with the Scriptures, as he observed this scene, would have flashed back to the psalms. Psalm 22, which prophesies the death of the Messiah, says, “They pierced My hands and My feet,” and “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:16, 18). The other gospel writers tell us that Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” a direct quote from Psalm 22:1 (see also Matthew 27:46). Jesus’ statement about being thirsty was a reference to Psalm 69:21. Many prophecies were being fulfilled during Jesus’ crucifixion even in these smallest details.
Those near Jesus lifted to Him a sponge soaked in sour wine, and when He had taken it, Jesus cried out, “‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
“It is finished.” These words are full of meaning. Daniel 9:24 tells us that God had appointed a time “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins … to bring in everlasting righteousness.” This was that time.
Paid in Full
The words can be translated “paid in full.” Through sin, we had sold ourselves to the Devil and to his tyranny over our lives, and to redeem us, Jesus, the innocent and righteous One, shed His blood and paid in full the price to bring us back to God and to deliver us from sin and the Devil. “It is finished” was His victory cry.
In the fulfillment of God’s great plan, the price for our sin was paid in full. How do we celebrate with Jesus in His cry of victory? We commemorate Jesus’ victory today by taking Communion—something Jesus told us to do in remembrance of Him (see 1 Corinthians 11:23–25).
It is lamentably easy for us to forget what the Lord has done for us. Jesus knew this, and He told us, “Take the bread and the cup, and remember Me. Remember how I suffered for you, how I shed My blood and bore the shame. Remember My cry of victory: ‘It is finished! The price is paid in full!’” May our hearts be so moved by Jesus’ incomprehensible act of love that we worship and serve Him all our days.