The Bible’s Three Most Important Words

The celebration of Easter means far more than commemorating a historical event.  It reminds us of a timeless, transcendent reality embodied in perhaps the three most important words in the entire Bible—“It is finished” (John 19:30)—the final utterance of Jesus Christ before He died.

His words are more descriptive than it might appear. Specifically, “It is finished” can also be translated “paid in full.” It was the culmination of the entire purpose—the reason He came in the first place. Notice what He said early in His ministry:

My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work (John 4:34).

Later, in the “actual” Lord’s prayer, in anticipation of events that would shortly follow, Jesus prayed “I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). In a broader sense, His work included calling and training the apostles—the foundation of the church that He would establish—as well as leaving us with many important spiritual truths and the Great Commission—to take the gospel to the whole world.

However, none of that has any meaning or value apart from the fact that when He died, He paid the full price for all of our sins, guilt and shame, thus making the hope of eternal life for those who believe and trust in Him a reality. There is nothing left for us to pay!  That means that as recipients of His grace and mercy, we are free to live without worry which is true and lasting freedom! In that regard, I encourage you to review Principle #32 in my Life Essentials Study Bible, p. 1466 in the Gospel of John:

To experience joy and peace in the midst of life’s challenges, we are to approach God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then how should we respond to “It is finished” or “paid in full”?  Our appropriate response—fully acceptable to God—is gratitude. And when our gratitude for God’s incomparable gift ofgrace is heartfelt we experience true joy and peace.  Further, we are motivated to obey Him as well as honor Him with praise and worship.

I love the way Randy Alcorn expresses similar thoughts in his daily devotional, Grace—A Bigger View of God’s Love (p. 103):

Through the redemptive suffering of Christ—taking all human evils on himself—and through his triumph over evil and death, God in his grace has done everything necessary to defeat evil.