Guest / Limited Access /
"It is finished."
John 19:30

It is finished" is not a death gurgle. "It is finished" is not "I am done for." "It is finished" will not be, as we know from the tradition of the ordering of these words from the cross, the last words of Jesus. "It is finished" is a cry of victory. "It is finished" is the triumphant cry that what I came to do has been done. All is accomplished, completed, fulfilled work.

The work that is finished, moreover, is the cross. He will be and is resurrected, but the resurrected One remains the One crucified. Rowan Williams reminds us of Pascal's stark remark that "Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world." This is a remark that makes unavoidable the recognition that we live in the time between the times—the kingdom is begun in Christ but will not be consummated or perfected until the end of the world. Williams observes that Pascal's comment on Jesus' ongoing agony is not an observation about the deplorable state of unbelievers; it is instead an exhortation to us, those who believe in Christ. It is an exhortation not to become nostalgic for a supposedly less compromised past or take refuge in some imagined purified future, but to dwell in the tension-filled time between times, to remain awake to our inability "to stay in the almost unbearable present moment where Jesus is."

The Gospel of John makes explicit what all the Gospels assume—that is, the cross is not a defeat but the victory of our God. Earlier in the Gospel of John a voice from heaven responded to Jesus' request that the Father's name might be glorified through his obedience, saying, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." Jesus tells us this voice came for our sake so that we might know that "Now is the judgment ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueDivision Is Not Always a Scandal
Subscriber Access Only
Division Is Not Always a Scandal
What to think of the 45,000 denominations that rose from the Reformation.
RecommendedJesus’ Family Tree Shows Us He Is Worth the Wait
Jesus’ Family Tree Shows Us He Is Worth the Wait
It's okay that most of us want to skip through the genealogy of Jesus—but we should still read it.
TrendingCompassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
'It Is Finished' But It Is Not Over
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.