BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Curiously, Christians call the day Jesus died on the cross Good Friday though what happened that day, naturally speaking, wasn’t good because a righteous man, a just man, was arrested, given an unfair trial and crucified. It is believed by some scholars that the term “Good Friday” is a corruption of “God’s Friday”. Others believe it is called Good Friday because of the goodness the death of Jesus brought to humanity – salvation and all its attendant benefits.
Before Jesus died, he said, “It is finished!” Prior to this, he had suffered so much in the hands of his accusers and executioners. It was time for his life on earth to end. John 19:28-30 says, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’… So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (NKJV). In this account by the Apostle John, the last word of Jesus on the cross was: “It is finished!” After that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
What was finished?
What does “It is finished!” mean? It means that the purpose for which Jesus came to the earth was finished. Part of the purpose of Jesus Christ on earth was to preach the Gospel. He said in Mark 1:38: “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (NKJV). Part of his purpose was also to heal, deliver and set free (Isa. 61:1-3). Acts 10:38 says, Jesus “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (ASV). But beyond all this, the ultimate purpose of Jesus was to die on the cross of Calvary to save the world from sin and reconcile man back to God.
Jesus, predicting his death on the cross in John 12:31-33 said, “‘Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (NKJV). But before then Jesus had said, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:27-28, NKJV).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the devil fought against this primary purpose of Jesus dying on the cross. Jesus prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine” (Matt. 26:39-40, NLT).
If Jesus had not died on the cross, he wouldn’t have fulfilled the purpose for which he came to the earth despite all the miracles that he had done. When Jesus said it was finished, he meant the work of salvation was accomplished. Salvation includes forgiveness of sin, deliverance, welfare, prosperity, victory. It is not everybody that fulfils his purpose on earth but Jesus fulfilled his. How glad and fulfilled he was to declare: “It is finished!”
Forgiveness and redemption
When Jesus said, “It is finished!” he meant forgiveness of man’s sin was accomplished. Jesus shed his blood on the cross to purchase forgiveness for humanity, which is called redemption – buying back sinners from the slave market of sin. 1 Cor 7:23 says, “Ye are bought with a price…” (KJV). 1 Cor. 6:20 also says, “For ye are bought with a price…” (KJV). The price Jesus paid for man’s redemption was his blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
It used to be the blood of animals that was sacrificed in the Old Testament but this was not permanent solution to sin; they had to keep sacrificing animals from time to time to atone for their sins. But under the New Testament, God offered His own son as a permanent sacrifice. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for u.” (Heb. 9:12, KJV). Jesus had to die on the cross to shed his blood because according to the law “almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22, NKJV).
Because of the work of redemption finished on the cross, man was given access to God. The gulf between God and man was removed; man was brought close to God (Eph 2:13). Because it is finished, the blood of Jesus has given humans free access into the presence of God (Heb. 10:19-20).
No more curse
It is finished! It means the curse upon humanity has been removed and we can have access to the blessing of Abraham. To be hanged on a tree was to be cursed. Jesus became accursed for us to be blessed (Gal. 3:13-14). In addition to paying the required penalty for our disobedience to God’s laws, Jesus bore the shame and ridicule that goes with our disobedience. The removal of the curse was finished.
Victory over the devil
It is finished! It means victory over the devil and his works was fully accomplished. Humanity can now enjoy victory over the devil and his cohorts. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, KJV). We can now have life, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). On the cross, Jesus gave humanity victory over the devil and consummated it by going to hell where he disarmed principalities and powers, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (Col. 2:15). He rose from the dead in complete victory. Because it is finished, we can now have victory over the devil. We can overcome him. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11, NKJV).
Victory over death
Jesus said, “It is finished” then he gave up his spirit – he died. Without the death of the cross, there wouldn’t be resurrection. By his resurrection, Jesus became the “first fruits” of those who will be raised to life again (1 Cor. 15:20). Through Jesus, those who die in Christ shall also be resurrected from the dead (Verses 21-22). He has given us victory over death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (Verses 55, KJV). I decree victory over premature death in your life and family in Jesus’ name.
Conclusion: All I have shared with you is what Jesus did for you and me on the cross. Your forgiveness is finished! Your healing is finished! Your soundness and preservation are finished! Your deliverance and prosperity are finished! They were all finished on the cross, and you should enjoy them in your life through faith in Jesus Christ. Receive all these benefits now in Jesus’ name. If you’re not born again, Jesus died for you also and he finished everything for you. Why not come into personal relationship with Jesus today and start enjoying these? It is finished!
If you’re not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. Please, forgive me my sins. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523