#6 & #7 (The “7 Last Sayings of Christ” Series)
“SHOUTS OF VICTORY!”
TEXT: Jn. 19:30; Lk. 23:46-48; Gen. 2:1-2; Rev. 21:6
INTRO: The crucifixion is an extraordinary scene of darkness and despair! The events around the death of Christ portray a picture of evil:
The unfair trial, the agony of Jesus in the garden, the tragic loss of Judas, the scourging of Jesus, Peter's 3 denials, the fleeing disciples, the crown of thorns, the mockery of the soldiers and the cries of "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!", the darkness that covered the land from noon to 3 PM, the earthquake, even the cry of Jesus "My God My God, why have you forsaken me?" - in the despair of these moments however, another cry comes from Christ. Near the moment of death Christ makes another pronouncement that some may have perceived as the cry of defeat, but in reality it was the great cry of VICTORY! "IT IS FINISHED!"
This was the cry of victory! It was followed by the cry of confidence "Into your hands I commit my spirit." This was a moment of victory for Christ and for man!
ILLUS: What death did to Jesus is nothing compared to what Jesus did to death. – James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 142-143.
The Christian hears victory in these two final statements from the cross of Jesus, it opens a door for victory and is not an end to a tragic loss!
ILLUS: When Billy Graham's maternal grandmother died, he said the room seemed to fill with a heavenly light. "She sat up in bed and almost laughingly said," I see Jesus. He has His arms outstretched toward me. I see Ben (her husband who had died some years earlier) and I see the angels." She slumped over, absent from the body but present with the Lord. – Billy Graham, Angels: God's Secret Agents, Doubleday, 1975, p. 152.
This 6th and 7th saying of Christ from the cross opens the door of victory for the one who believes in Christ, it is the grand moment of victory for God and man!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that in Christ we have victory over death and the Devil! Christ's death and sacrifice destroyed sin's hold on man, a new way was opened to God, rather than a moment of defeat, it was the moment of victory!
I. CRY OF A CONQUEROR! Jn. 19:30; Gen. 2:1-2; Rev. 21:6
A. Creation Gen. 2:1-2
1. Notice at creation there was also "darkness" as at the cross, God creates something that will conquer the darkness ... it is "light."
a. This light was victorious over darkness.
b. The light ruled over darkness.
2. Christ is the "light of the world"... and He too conquers darkness at the cross!
a. Christ burst forth from the tomb in a bright light!
b. He rules over darkness today!
c. He still knows best how to restore man, for He created everything!
ILLUS: In the early days of the automobile a man's Model-T Ford stalled in the middle of the road. He couldn't get it started no matter how hard he cranked nor how much he tried to advance the spark or adjust things under the hood. Just then a chauffeured limousine pulled up behind him, and a wiry, energetic man stepped out from the back seat and offered his assistance. After tinkering for a few moments the stranger said, "Now try it!" Immediately the engine leaped to life. The well-dressed individual then identified himself as Henry Ford. "I designed and built these cars," he said, "so I know what to do when something goes wrong." God, as our creator knows how to "fix" us when our lives are broken by sin. – Source Unknown
3. You will notice too that the first time God says, "IT IS FINISHED" it is at the end of creating everything...and when he looked at it all it was "VERY GOOD!"
a. This statement in Gen. 2:2 "God had finished" declares His work as FINISHED ... and very good!
b. This is the first cry of victory by God over creation!
4. This first cry of victory marked the END OF THE BEGINNING.
B. Cross Jn. 19:30
1. Jesus now gathers his last physical strength and utters a single word in the Greek "TETELESTAI"...
a. This is an interesting word, it is an accounting term!! Archaeologists have found tax receipts of that day with the Latin equivalent on it, the meaning is "PAID IN FULL!"
b. Jesus' choice of this word to cry "IT IS FINISHED" gives us an important clue to what He meant ... what He was saying is a great shout of victory ... “IT IS FINISHED” ... “PAID IN FULL!”
2. There can be little doubt that those standing near the cross that heard Jesus use this accounting term understood what He was saying, the penalty for sin has been "PAID IN FULL" now by this Savior Jesus!
a. This was no statement of defeat, it was the shout of victory!
b. Jesus is declaring that the penalty of sin has now been paid for in full!
c. What man could not do Christ did!
3. This would forever change how we face death, death can no longer defeat us, in fact, it will usher those who have accepted Christ into eternal life in heaven!
ILLUS: Colin Chapman, in The Case for Christianity, quotes Ugandan bishop Festo Kivengere's account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of three men from his diocese: February 10 began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me.
They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention. As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage?
We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance.
Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: "Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did." The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands which rattled their handcuffs.
I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men's faces! The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus.
We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and defeats it.
The next Sunday, I was preaching
to a huge crowd in the hometown of one of the executed men. Again, the feel of death was over the
congregation. But when I gave them
the testimony of their man, and how he died, there erupted a great song of
praise to Jesus! Many turned to the
Lord there. -- Ray Stamps,
4. This is the second cry of victory God has declared: "IT IS FINISHED," ... the first being at the end of creation, and now here at the beginning of the new creation!
a. The first marked the END OF THE BEGINNING.
b. This marks the BEGINNING OF THE END.
C. Culmination Rev. 21:6
1. God will one more time make this declaration of "IT IS FINISHED" ... and it will be the END OF THE END, AND THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW BEGINNING!
a. In this passage in Revelation God states, "IT IS DONE" (finished)!
b. Done or finished was God's plan to redeem man and creation.
c. Done was the power of sin and Satan.
d. Done was the agony of sin's presence in the life of God's people.
2. The "Alpha and Omega" has now concluded his plan of redemption.
3. While none of us alive now heard the first or second cry of "IT IS FINISHED," we shall hear this final one and rejoice that God is victorious!
4. Hence this final cry is one of victory too!
5. The whole world shall hear this final shout of victory, it will be the world's biggest headline!
ILLUS: Did you know that the type most newspapers
use for astounding events is called "second coming" type? These are large, heavy, black letters
reserved for only the most stupendous, amazing, front page news -- such as the
return of Jesus Christ. Many will
remember seeing this banner headline used to announce the surrenders of
6. The cry of the Conqueror will be the shout of victory - "IT IS FINISHED!"
II. CRY OF CONFIDENCE! Lk. 23:46-48
A. Commitment Lk. 23:46
1. Jesus' final act now that He had completely finished His work to save us was to commit His spirit to His father in Heaven.
a. Jesus' final words from the cross reflect the confidence in His father's care for Him and the confidence of what He accomplished for sinful man!
b. Christ could leave now in peace knowing that all was done for man's salvation.
2. This final cry therefore is also one of victory ... the victory of having lived for God, and the confidence that though death is approaching this is not the end of life!
ILLUS: Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all-out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto his glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever. -- D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25.
3. The death of a Christian is a very different event than the death of a sinner that has rejected Christ!
a. Those who have received Christ as savior can come to death with a confidence of continuing life with God.
b. Christ's confidence was great, and you will note that His life was not taken from Him, He is the one choosing the moment here to give up His spirit!
c. Christ is still Lord of life!
4. Our confidence is based on the cross of Christ, not on our earthly attainments! We must be careful not to lose sight of this!
ILLUS: Clarence Jordan, author of the "Cotton
Patch" New Testament translation and founder of the interracial Koinonia farm in
As they stepped outside, darkness was falling, and a spotlight shone on a huge cross atop the steeple.
"That cross alone cost us ten
thousand dollars," the minister said with a satisfied smile. "You got cheated," said
B. Conviction Lk. 23:47-48
1. Those at the foot of the cross who heard Jesus and saw how He dies now begins to feel that perhaps there is something more here than just a human being!
a. The Centurion states that "here was a righteous man."
b. The crowd began to "beat their breasts and go away" ...
c. But is this enough? NO!
2. Jesus was not just a "good man" ... He is GOD'S SON ... and our SAVIOR!
a. We must come to accept Him as LORD and SAVIOR if we are to share the confidence of eternal life for our soul!
b. There is no other way to God except through Christ!
ILLUS: In the years 1014-1035 there ruled over
3. By a tree man had fallen in the Garden of Eden, the first Adam failed; and now by a tree the second Adam redeems man!
4. Jesus who came into this world in a borrowed WOMB will now be buried in a borrowed TOMB ... but His spirit He commends to God, and He will come forth in life!
5. Is the final cry of confidence that Jesus uttered one that you can state too?
a. Do you have the assurance that Christ is in your heart?
b. Have you accepted Him who died for you?
6. Rather than walk away from Christ like the crowds here, you can come to Christ and find cleansing for all your sins, and a new confidence before God that eternal life is yours.
a. Christ died for you.
b. Will you accept the shouts of victory for your own life?
CONCLUSION: Jesus' last two statements from the cross are both shouts of victory, not statements of defeat! Both were said with a conqueror's voice! "IT IS FINISHED" in Genesis marked the END OF THE BEGINNING, here at the cross it was the BEGINNING OF THE END, and in Rev. 21:6 it is the END OF THE END and the BEGINNING OF THE NEW BEGINNING! It is therefore a shout of victory!! The final cry of Jesus is the cry of confidence, all is well for those who know Christ. Do you have this confidence?