When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
In our early years of marriage, my wife and I had a little sign we flashed to one another in public places. Three fingers brushed across the cheek or on the arm meant “I love you.”
That was forty-six years ago. Somewhere along the way, the sign was dropped, but I’m happy to report the sentiment remains the same.
Arguably, “I love you,” are the three most beautiful words ever spoken. However, today I’m going to make the case for another three-word statement that’s even more beautiful and powerful. I believe they are the most precious words ever spoken.
Consider the last words Jesus spoke from the cross. He said, “It is finished.”
More meaningful and life changing words have never been spoken. And unlike “I love you,” which has been repeated countless times by just about everybody who’s lived on the planet, Jesus spoke those words only once.
How often have you repeated “I love you” to your loved ones? If you stop saying it, you’ll eventually get called on it. “Don’t you love me anymore?”
But again, Jesus only made His three-word statement once.
Normally, to get our point across we have to repeat ourselves. Janet reminded me of that today when she explained her plans for her flower garden. Irritated that I was tuning her out, she snapped to attention and put her hands on her hips. “You haven’t heard a word I said,” she declared.
It’s a guy thing. What can I say?
I learned as a preacher the importance of repetition. It’s also important in advertising and branding. When you stop reminding people of your message, they’ll soon forget. Case in point, the fellow who invented My Pillow. Would everybody please buy a pillow so he’ll stop running those ads? That jingle makes me want to scream.
Jesus said His powerful words one time — for all time. “It is finished” culminated the first phase of His ministry. He had fulfilled His mission to die for the sins of mankind. His pain, agony, and suffering had come to an end.
John 3:16 takes on even greater meaning in light of Jesus’ final words. God loved us so much that He “gave.” The giving of His Son was more than just sending a prophet or great teacher. God’s Son was sent to die. There was more love packed into “It is finished” than could ever be expressed in our most sincere “I love you.”
Years ago, our church choir performed a Christmas musical called, Born to Die. The message had a profound effect on me as I’m certain it did on all who heard it. Jesus’ mission began in the humble surroundings of a stable in Bethlehem. The newborn King had been sent to wear a crown of thorns and to shed His blood for our foolish sin and rebellion against God.
Those who called for Jesus’ crucifixion thought they had won. To them, “It is finished,” sounded like it was over. Three days later, the Savior arose victorious over the grave. The sin debt had been paid in full.
Yes, “I love you,” is wonderful to hear. It means so much when it comes from those we love. But when Jesus said “It is finished” from the cross, He was talking to you and me. It was personal, deeply heartfelt, and delivered with incomprehensible love. That’s why I believe Jesus’ last words on the cross were the most precious ever spoken.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Jesus Saves and Keeps You Saved
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.