WHAT GOD SENT JESUS TO DO FOR MANKIND
John 19:25-30 says, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother' sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciiple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, `Woman, behold you son.' Then He said to the disciple, `Behold your mother.' And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said,`I thirst.' Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, `It is finished.' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” This passage of scripture gives us the fifth and sixth utterances from teh cross. Immediately after our Lord tasted the sour wine mixed with water, probably brought along for the soldiers to quench their thirst, He said, “It is finished.” The act of that benevolent soldier to touch His parched lips with sour wine fulfilled a prediction recorded in Psalm 69:21. This liquid had a reviving effect, and Jesus accepted it. The things in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah's mission and work have an end. and after they gave Him vinegar to drink, He said,”It is finished.” In his study we shall examine the sixth utterance from the cross.
First, I would suggest to you that this utterance is one of the most mysterious sentences in the Bible. What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished.” What was it that was finished? What He finished was something that God wanted Him to do, for He said, “I am come to do your will O God.” I came to do what You waned Me to do, but what did He come to do?. Whatever that was, He came to do something that God willed Him to do. Christ was connected with a mysterious matter in the Bible called the eternal purpose of God. It is mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 3:8-11, “To me who am less than the least of all saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ, to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of god might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose of God which He accomplished in Jesus Christ our Lord.” This scripture says that in all time from Adam to Christ God revealed little or nothing about His eternal purpose. Jews knew little or nothing about God's eternal purpose for mankind. The prophets gave a few glimpses of the mystery by the Messianic promisess. About all God revealed to the Jews about His eternal purpose was the coming of their Messiah, and they did not understand that, for they rejected Him when He came.
God's eternal purpose was not fully revealed until Christ came, and Ephesians 3 declares that purpose was accomplished by Jesus Christ our Lord. If I were asked to sum up God's eternal purpose in one sentence, I would simply that God invites the human race to live with Him in heaven among the angelic beings and live there forever and ever. Jesus said that Christians will be like the angels who do not marry. It will not be a male-female relationship. It would appear that God is going to repopulate heaven with unfallen angelic beings and redeemed human beings. God used Jesus Christ to make all thi possible. and Christ has made it all possible. Nothing more has to be done. But to bring this all about one of the Divine Three in the Godhead had to come to earth and live in the flesh in order to make God's plan workable and understandable. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, an incarnate Deity, and He was given the name Emmanuel, which means, God with us. Whatever else Jesus may have meant by the words,“It is finished,” He most certainly meant that God's eternal purpose for heaven, the angelic world and the human world has been finished. Moreover, the plan is only for angels and humans. Our scientific friends who are looking for extra terrestrial beings on other planets are wasting their time and our money. The Bible recognizes only two orders of created beings: angels and eaarthly beings,located on planet earth. There are many planets in the universe, but none have been found that have food, water or oxygen. Man may indeed travel to Mars, but he must take food, water and oxygen with him. ..
One important work God sent Jesus to do was to restore the the character of the human race to the divine image in which He originally mankind. It was His work. to bring mankind back into friendly terms with God their Maker. His work was involved chiefly with the revelation of God to mankind, who had lost the knowledge of their Creator. Because of this loss of knowledge, mankind had no way to discover the way to everlasting happiness which God had always intended to give them. For thousands of years, the human race transgressed His righteous laws, violated His just precepts, ignored His holy statutes and had amassed a volume of sin and evil that staggers the imagination. In the Christian age of the world the wrath of God has been revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, and Jehovah has appointed a day in which He will judge mankind in righteousness for the way they have lived, whether they have been good or bad. The human race is in immanent peril. Now the work of Christ was to do something that would remove God's wrath toward the human race, to do something that would remove all of the sins of mankind. and to do something that woudl restore them to God's love and favor. Had He failed to bring peace between God and the human race, He would have failed to do God's will. He said He came to do God's will. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant the problem has been completely solved between God and mankind. He accomplished what had to be done to restore friendly relations between God and man. He accomplished all that had to be done. He secured the eternal happiness of mankind. But how did He do to make such an accomplishment;what did He do that brought God and mankind together? He brought this great accomplishment to a finish by doing three marvelous things.
First, Jesus potentially redeemed the entire human race. He came from heaven to accomplish the redemption of mankind. The present condition of mankind is similar to the condition of slaves in ancient times, for which there was no reprieve or freedom except by redemption. The word redeem means to buy back. Someone had to pay the required price to buy a slave out of slavery into freedom. Mankind has been enslaved by sinful desires and sinful habits and an inability to control their bodies. They rejected God's way of life. The only human beings who will escape eternal punishment and live with God in heaven will be redeemed men and women. This is figurative language, but the Holy Spirit used this language to help us understand what Christ has done for mankind. The word of God says to all Christians, “You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's(I Corinthians 6:20). This fact is repeated in I Corinthians 7:23, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” There is a spiritual slavery as well as a physical slavery. The apostle Peter put it like this, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from you aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”(I Peter 1:18,19). Christians have been bought out of a life addicted to evil by the precious blood of Christ. The one and only thing that can buy people out of a sinful life is the precious blood of Christ which flowed from his head, his hands, his died and his feet on the cross. Christ's blood is said to be precious because His life was in the blood. He willing gave up His life to bring people to a good way of life. God required that price to restore friendly relations with mankind. Unless the forgiving blood of Christ is accepted in the mind and believed in the soul people will die in their sins followed by punsihment. Over His head on the cross a most fitting inscription would have been, “God was in Christ redeeming the world to Himself.” There is something about the shed blood of Christ on the cross that has the power to set people free from all evil addictons. The redemptipn of mankind is connected some way with the blood of the cross. Your ticket to heaven is connected with the blood of Christ.
Secondly, Christ provided an atonement for all the sons of Adam. The word atonement is used 70 times in the Old Testament, and one time in the New Testament. In the Old Testament the word was used in connection with all animal sacrifices which were called atonements or coverings for sin. The word atoement in the Old Testament means a covering. Under the Mosaic law, God used animal sacrifices to cover the
sins of the Hebrews. The Hebrew sinner deserved to be punished for his wrongdoing, but the sacrificial blood of an animal covered the man's sin, as if it had ceased to exist. This was part of the Old Testament system of forgiveness. Turning to the Christian religion, Romans 5:10,11 says in the Old King James version, “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Christ has provided mankind with the atonement. Most all other versions translate this verse to mean “reconciliation.” “By Christ we have received the reconciliation.” Whether we use reconciliation or atonement, it all means means one and the same thing. The word atonement is a three syllable word: at–one–ment. It means to be at one, to be aat peace with God, to be friends with God. It conveys the idea that the death of Christ made us at one with God. Reasoning from atonementin the Old Testament sense, the death of Christ was an atoning sacrifice that covers potentially all the sins of mankind. The word reconciliation means to settle a dispute, to make friendly. Any way you look at it the death of Christ, it covered the sins of mankind and that restored friendly relations between God. Christ's death was the atonement or reconciliation, and we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son. To receive the atonement or the reconciliation is to believe it with all your heart and accept it as an atoning sacrifice for your sins. It is not enough to believe Christ died; we must believe that He died to remove our sins. . As soon as we accept this fact as a penitent believer and submit to baptism our sins are forgiven; we are accepted into the family of God, and we are on our way to heaven.
Thirdly Christ finished the work God gave Him to do by voluntarily becoming a substitute for the punishment of mankind. While His death on the cross was a sacrificial and reconciling death, he also died as a substitute for the human race. The human race who deserved God's punishment for their transgressions. But God decided to permit Christ to be punished instead of the human race, as their substitute. As one us, God allowed him to suffer as a substitue forthe rest of mankind. All mankind was punished by the punishment of one man, Chirst, the greatest and holiest man who ever lived. Christ voluntarily agreed to be the substitute for the rest of us. Substitution runs the whole of scripture from animal sacrifices under the law of Moses to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Every animal that died was a substitute for the sinner who deserved to die, but God accepted the animal as a substitute. The death of every animal was also also a substitute for Christ till He would come and shed His blood. Every animal that was sacrificed symbolized the death of Christ for Jews and all mankind. The only reason God allowed an animal to cover the sins of Hebrews was that it symbolized and foretold that the death Christ would be a covering for the sins of all mankind. If Christ did not die as a substitute for you and me and everyone else, all the types and ceremonies in the Old Testament church which for 1500 years were to the Jews shadows of good things to come, would have had no meaning at all and could not have been explained. What possible meaning could be attached to such passages as those in Isaiah 53, if Christ was not a substitute for sinful mankind. We deserved to be punished for sins; for disobeying God, and we should have done the suffering, but God accepted Christ as a substitute and laid on Him the iniquities of us all. Isaiah said surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Christ's sacrifice was the complete atonement by way of substitution. God accepted the punishment of Christ's crucifixion as a sufficient punishment for the entire human race, because He was one of us, a human being like us. And God let one of us be punished for all the rest of us. These three things Christ did for the human race: the redemption, atonement, and the substitution. They were all accomplished by His death on the Cross. He redeemed us by His precious blood; He reconciled us to God as an atoning sacrifice, and He took our deserved punishment on Himself by the suffering and shame of the cross.
Finally, when Jesus said, “It is finished,” the problem between God and mankind has now been settled, reconciled and atoned for. It requires no addition of any kind. It's forgiveness and reconciliation applies to all sin through all generations of mankind. Its program of forgiveness and reconciliation reaches back to Adam, and it benefits are available to the last of Adam's race. There remains no more sacrifice for sins. Christ being raised from the dead, dies no more. Christ said, “It is finished.” Because of what Christ has done, God has opened the door of heaven to the entire human race, no matter how bad they have lived. Whoever will may come. Was there ever a work undertaken by man to be compared with that of Christ? And yet on the cross he could say, I have finished the work God gave Me to do.