Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that 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.
John 19:27–30 (NIV)

Taking Passion Week in Context

I struggle to begin here, at the end, with Jesus’ last breath. I struggle because there is a depth of richness in these few verses. There is so much that I want to share.

I would like to go back to Palm Sunday —where Jesus makes his triumphal entry on a donkey. Then, we’ll proceed forward, summarizing the days leading up to this moment.

From Palm Sunday to “It Is Finished”


Jesus very deliberately rides into Jerusalem on a donkey to proclaim himself as the King of Israel (Matt 21:1-9). Earlier in Jesus ministry, the people tried to force Jesus to become their king. But he wouldn’t allow it (John 6:15). I think we can safely say that this would have been an amazing moment for us to experience. The disciples must have been elated at that moment and thinking, “this is it, our King is taking his throne”. For Jesus however, we see that instead of rejoicing, he wept over Jerusalem. He knew the people were ultimately still blind (Luke 19:31).

It is easy for us to read these few verses and to miss the point. It’s this: Jesus wept. This is the God of the universe weeping as a man. Let that sink in for a moment.


The next day, we read that Jesus clears the temple. The people turned his Father’s house into a den of robbers (Luke 19:46). Jesus is obviously very angry. However, his anger is not like our anger. His anger stems from righteousness and his love for his people. Despite the fact that his anger was fully justified, consider how emotionally draining that day must have been for Jesus the man.


On Tuesday we read that Jesus was back in the temple but this time he is teaching. As he is teaching, the chief priests and elders confront him. They ask him by what authority he was doing these things. This led to a long dialogue between Jesus and these religious leaders, who are trying to trap Jesus with his own words.

Consider how arguments take energy out of us. If you love those you are trying to persuade, those arguments are that much more taxing. Now, try to imagine with me how Jesus felt that night after dinner. He sat with his disciples and pondered the conflicts of the day behind him and the days ahead.


We have no written record of what Jesus was doing on this day. It has become known as the silent Wednesday. Perhaps Jesus and his disciples took the time for some much needed rest.


On Thursday we know that Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Jesus knew what was to come in just a few hours. He knew this would be the longest and most agonizing night of his life. Yet he used the time to teach them about communion and to wash their feet. We also read that they sang a hymn after their meal (Matt 26:30). In the midst of all this Jesus leads his disciples in a hymn? This simply amazes me!

Later that night we find Jesus agonizing in prayer and sweating drops of blood while his closest friends were asleep. Then, as though that wasn’t enough, we find Judas leading a band of soldiers to come and arrest Jesus. Consider what a toll that must have taken on the human side of Jesus.

The night is just beginning.

Jesus is betrayed with a kiss. His disciples abandon him. Soldiers mock him. Then Jesus is denied and flogged. He has the hair of his beard plucked out. Isaiah says he is marred beyond human recognition (Isa 52:14).

That night he is tried several times: Annas the high priest, the Sanhedrin, the Romans, Pilate, Herod, and one last time before Pilate. There he is finally turned over to be crucified.


Jesus is nearing the end of his passion. He is tired. he is in pain. And in the last few weeks, he has experienced the full gamut of human emotion. Each day as the cross grew closer and more into focus, the intensity and frequency of those emotions increased.

So, imagine with me for a moment what it must have been like for Jesus to realize that everything he was sent to accomplish was, in fact, accomplished. Imagine how he felt being moments away from entering into the joy that had been before him all along. This joy is what the author of Hebrews tells us enabled Jesus to endure the cross. And it allowed him to despise its shame (Heb 12:2).

What was that joy that was set before Jesus? Could it actually be us, the mockers, the floggers, the ones yelling crucify him? Amazingly, yes!

Consider now the weight and the ultimate outcome that Jesus’ final words represent.

“It is finished”



  1. Margaret Strange

    Oh that the world may understand the amazing results of Christ,s sacrifice on the cross,that our salvation has indeed been accomplished.It is finished as far as God is concerned, we have been washed in the blood of the lamb. Hallelujah.

  2. Andrew Sewanywa

    I see this declaration “It is finished” as the pivotal point between eternity past, where God saw us before we came into existence (Psalm 139:16) taking into account Satan’s deceitful plan to drive a wedge of sin and death between mankind and our Creator (Genesis 3:4; Romans 5:12), and eternity future where mankind redeemed from the fall dwells permanently with God (Revelation 21:3).