“It is Finished”
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.” Luke 18:31
Easter is over, and yet we can still learn about what happened over two thousand years ago. For example, have you ever wondered why Jesus declined the wine offered to him, yet later accepted—seemed to be asking for–another offer of wine? What was different in the two offers?
The first offer was given to those who were condemned to the cruel, excruciatingly painful death by crucifixion. It contained myrrh, a pain killer. Jesus refused this one. He chose to face the agony of the cross with a clear mind and to experience the full measure of the suffering so it would have its full effectiveness.
We see Jesus’s clear mind as he showed awareness of the needs of others around him. He asked the Father to forgive his executioners (Luke 23:34), he recognized the faith of the thief hanging next to him (Luke 23:43), and he assigned care of his mother to his beloved disciple (John 19:26-27).
We see the full extent of his suffering when he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus didn’t use the word Father. The Father had turned his back on him when the sins of the world had been placed on Jesus. God, who is holy, couldn’t look on sin.
“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, scripture fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” (John 19:28). He did not mean his throat was parched. Jesus had never been separated from the Father. He was experiencing spiritual thirst like the kind he’d described to the woman at the well (John 4:13-14).
“A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips” (19:30). The timing here is important. Jesus had borne our sins; he’d experience the separation from God we’ve known before our sins are forgiven.
This wine, offered on a branch of hyssop, recalls the sin offering for the cleansing of a leper. The offering included two birds: one set free and the other sacrificed, its blood poured into a bowl. There was also cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop. The hyssop symbolized Jesus’s purification, restoration to the Father, the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
Just after he tasted the wine vinegar, Jesus said with a loud voice, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” He bowed his head and breathed his last. (Luke 23:46 and John 19:28-30). This time he used the word Father, because the relationship between the Father and the Son had been restored.
Read Luke 5:12-16. Leprosy had no natural cure. What do you think was the response of the priests when a leper showed up to be declared “cleansed”? How had he been healed? How did the “multitudes” respond?
Read Psalm 51:7. How did David use the words “hyssop” and “restore” in his prayer of repentance?
You might want to read The Suffering Servant of God for more on the crucifixion.
Nancy J. Baker