Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 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. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
What exactly was “it”? What was finished?
Matthew Henry wrote eight answers to that question, including this one:
“It is finished, that is, the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed, at least the hardest part of the undertaking is over; a full satisfaction is made to the justice of God, a fatal blow given to the power of Satan, a fountain of grace opened that shall ever flow, a foundation of peace and happiness laid that shall never fail. Christ had now gone through with his work and finished it.”
In Gethsemane the night before, Jesus had prayed, “yet not my will, but yours be done.” On the cross he now cries out, “it is done”.
Airline crews are trained to prioritise, and aircraft systems also rank warnings according to the urgency of the problem. Unsurprisingly, anything in red is really bad and requires immediate attention and action, amber is not as urgent, and green or white are more advisory in nature, a bit like “nice to know”, or “keep an eye on this”. To treat a red warning like an advisory can have fatal consequences.
The message of Easter is not an Advisory message! It’s a red one, warning us of a great problem. Our sin has consequences and brings judgment. This is of critical and immediate importance and, like in flying, we only have limited time to decide which action we will take.
But as well as being a warning, this blood-stained, red message also provides hope. The Easter message also solves the biggest problem of the world. If we believe in Jesus, our sin is dealt with and we can confidently say “checklist complete”, “it is finished”.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
It is finished, and the most heavily weighted decision of your life now awaits your choice: Will you believe in Jesus? It is a decision that every person is required to make. Every pilot. Every flight attendant. Every engineer. Every baggage handler. Every check-in agent. Every office worker. Every CEO. You and everyone you know.
Have you given the Easter message the right attention? If not, perhaps it is the time to pull out an airline decision making model and investigate what it is all about.