Sermon: “It is Finished!” (John 19:28–42)
Through the entirety of the Gospel of John up to this point, Jesus has endured ever-deeper humiliation, shame, degradation, and suffering. The entire purpose of Jesus’ birth and entrance into the world was not to receive the praise, love, and adoration of the world, but rather to bear witness faithfully to the truth (John 18:37)—even though bearing witness to the truth would bring suffering upon him. Nevertheless, Jesus obeys his Father’s will by taking one faithful step after another, accomplishing everything that his Father set out for him from before the foundations of the world were laid.
So far, each of those steps have brought Jesus increasingly lower into his estate of humiliation, which now includes even the agony of his suffering on the cross. But in John 19:28–42 as Jesus actually gives up his life and dies, we see a remarkable change in the tone of John’s Gospel. Here, the emphasis shifts from all that Jesus must still do to all that Jesus has now accomplished in full. The death of Jesus is a monumental event in salvation history. At his death, Jesus finishes his work in order to become the firstfruits of a new creation.