‘When Jesus, therefore, had received vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the spirit’ John 19:30
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
Three lessons ago, is lesson “Adam, the problem of sin”, we began to review the message of the prophets of God. Today, with God’s help, we plan to conclude our review. Our lesson is entitled:
“It is finished!”
As we have seen, God has divided His book into two important sections, the Old Testament, and the New Testament.
is the first section of God’s wonderful Book. It contains the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the other Holy Scriptures. We saw in this first section of God’s Book how our ancestor,
disobeyed God, thus bringing all his descendants into the kingdom of Satan. However, we also learned that God promised to send down to the children of Adam a powerful Savior, to redeem those who believe and bring them back into the kingdom of God. This wonderful promise was an important part of the Old Testament.
To set in motion His plan to send down the Savior,
in his old age and said to him, “I will make of thee a great nation … and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:2,3) Thus we saw how God made Abraham the father of the nation of Israel. It was to that nation that God entrusted the Holy Scriptures.
For fifteen hundred years,
God sent the Israelites His word, which He placed in the minds of many different men–from the prophet Moses to the prophet John. Through these prophets, God reproved the unrighteousness of the children of Adam and revealed to them the coming of the righteous Redeemer who would pour out His blood to pay their debt of sin.
As we have seen, in the Old Testament, the old covenant which God established with sinners, required the sacrifice of animals. It declared that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin–because
the payment of sin is death!”
But the sacrifice of animals, which people carried out from the very first generation, could not pay for sin forever, because the value of an animal and the value of man are unequal. For example, if I have a toy car, can I go to the car dealer, and exchange it for a real car, let’s say, a Mercedes?
Of course not!
Why not? Because the value of my toy car is not equal to the value of a real car! Similarly, the sacrifice of animals, which God required in early generations, could not remove sin, because the value of an animal and the value of man are unequal. As we have seen, animal sacrifices were only illustrations–awaiting the time when God would send down the actual sacrifice:
making a New Covenant. Animal sacrifices could only cover sins for a time;
they could not remove sins permanently.
The second part of God’s Book is called the New Testament or the Gospel. It tells us about the agreement which God established with man through the blood of the Redeemer who came from heaven. The book of the Gospel is the story of Jesus the Redeemer who fulfilled what the animal sacrifices pictured when He shed his blood on the cross, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins. Why did the Redeemer have to come from heaven? Simply because every descendant of Adam bears the burden of sin.
To illustrate, can a woman who is carrying a bucket of water on her head carry on her head a bucket for someone else as well? No. Similarly, a sinner cannot bear sin’s punishment for another sinner. However, the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, whom God sent down, did not carry any burden of sin, because He was the Holy Son of God, the Word that was with God in the beginning.
He came from the Father, which is why He was called the Son of the Most High. He was born of a virgin. Thus, He had a body like ours, but He did not have our evil nature. He did not have the burden of sin upon Him. That is why God could place on Him the sin burden of us all. Jesus the Holy One died for our transgressions. Then three days later, He rose from the dead to give us new life.
He overcame death, the grave, Satan and sin!
We have all been born in the deep pit of sin, and there is no one who can come to our rescue, except the Messiah who came from above. If you put your trust in Him, He will pull you out of the pit of sin. He came from heaven to rescue the children of Adam from the pit of sin. And now
to mediate for those who believe in Him. That is what the Scripture says: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) “For such an high priest meets our needs, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, sepa-rate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens … when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 7:26; 1:3) Amen.
As we saw in the Gospel, when Jesus the Messiah was on earth,
some believed in Him.
Those who recognized who Jesus was rejoiced greatly. They knew that for thousands of years God’s prophets had been announcing the coming of the Messiah; now they were seeing Him with their own eyes! Among Jesus’ disciples, we heard those who went and sought their relatives and friends, telling them, “We have found the Messiah … We have found him, of whom Moses in the law and in the prophets, did write” (John 1:41,45)
Tragically, most people living in Jesus’ day did not know
who He really was.
That is what the Scripture declares when it says: “The same was in the beginning with God … and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us … the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness overcame it not … He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and
the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:2,14,5,10,11)
As we have seen, many people witnessed the signs and miracles which the Messiah did. Jesus overcame diseases, storms, demons, sin and death, yet most people did not recognize who He was because
The crowds touched Him and pressed in on Him but did not really know Him! They considered Him a prophet among the prophets, but they did not believe that all the fullness of God dwelt in Him.
As for the religious leaders of the Jews, we saw that they utterly rejected Jesus. They were extremely jealous of Him and, in the end,
they killed Him by nailing Him to a cross!
But that is how God planned it from the beginning; the death of the Messiah on the cross was according to His holy plan which He had announced long before-hand through His prophets. That is why, on the night when the priests arrested Jesus to have Him put to death, Jesus said to Peter who wanted to protect Him, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then, shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53,54)
He came to give His life, to shed His blood for sinners, just as the prophets had announced long beforehand. Jesus came so that what Abraham’s sacrificial sheep and all animal sacrifices spoke of might be fulfilled in Him. Can you remember the last thing that Jesus said on the cross before He committed His spirit to God? Yes, the Scripture says that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished!” and died. When He died, the curtain of the holy place of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (John 19:30; Mark 15:37,38) Why did Jesus cry out,
“It is finished!”?
And why was the curtain of the temple torn in two, that is, the curtain of the Most Holy Place, where they sprinkled the blood of the animal sacrifices to cover sin? God tore that curtain in two, and Jesus declared,
“It is finished!”
so that everyone might know that it is by the blood of Jesus that God can forgive the children of Adam their sins and give them the right to dwell in God’s holy presence forever!
By His death,
the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the words of the prophets and what the animal sacrifices pictured. And as we have seen, His resurrection on the third day was the clear proof that God accepted His sacrifice as the full price to pay for sin forever! Jesus Christ is the perfect sacrifice which God gave the people of the world, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish,
but have eternal life!
Now then, to finish our review of the message of the prophets, we ask you to read some profound and wonderful verses from God’s Word concerning
which Jesus the Messiah gave when He shed His blood on the cross to pay for sins. The Scripture says: (Hebrews 10:1-7,9-24,26-31) “For the law, having a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make those who come to it perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For
it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
thou hast had no pleasure.
Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God … Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second; by which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily mini-stering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For
by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us; for after he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is,
Having therefore, brethren, bold-ness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh, and having an high priest over the house of God,
let us draw near
with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering (for he is faithful that promised), and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works … for if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of truth,
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
but a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adver-saries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again,
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
With these words, God is warning each of you who are reading this lesson not to neglect
the one and only way of salvation,
which is found in the blood of Jesus the Messiah. Whoever disregards the Sacrifice which God Himself has given, needs to know there is no other sacrifice for sins; there is nothing left except the judgement of God,
which will be without mercy!
Jesus Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice, which God Himself gave, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished!” and since Jesus is the Word of God–when Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was God Himself saying,
And three days later God raised
Jesus back to life, proving to the world that
He is completely satisfied
with Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.
Friend, do you realise that Jesus has paid for your sins? Do you believe that Jesus Christ finished the work of Salvation for you? Or are you still trying to save yourself by your own works?
May God bless you as you consider the deep meaning of the Messiah’s proclamation from the cross, when He said,
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