Perhaps the most compelling words Christ ever spoke were some of His last. In a loud, triumphant voice that defied the asphyxiating effects of hanging on the cross, Christ cried out, “It is finished!” That simple exclamation signaled the end of His life, but the beginning of new life for everyone who would trust in Him for salvation. “It is finished!” was, in essence, the beginning of much more.
Christ’s final statement from the cross was similarly significant. It was a simple prayer that expressed the unqualified submission that had been in His heart from the very beginning. Luke records those final words: “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:46).
Christ died as no other man has ever died. In one sense He was murdered by the hands of wicked men (Acts 2:23). In another sense it was the Father who sent Him to the cross and bruised Him there, putting Him to grief—and it pleased the Father to do so (Isaiah 53:10). Yet in still another sense, no one took Christ’s life. He gave it up willingly for those whom He loved (John 10:17–18).
When He finally breathed His last on the cross, it was not with a wrenching struggle against His killers. He did not display any frenzied death throes. His final passage into death—like every other aspect of the crucifixion drama—was a deliberate act of His own sovereign will, showing that to the very end, He was sovereignly in control of all that was happening. John says, “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Quietly, submissively, He simply yielded up His life.
Everything had come to pass exactly as He said it would. Not only Jesus, but also His killers, and the mocking crowd, together with Pilate, Herod, and the Sanhedrin—all had perfectly fulfilled the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God to the letter.
And thus Christ calmly and majestically displayed His sovereignty to the end. It seemed to all who loved Him—and even many who cared little for Him—like a supreme tragedy. But it was the greatest moment of victory in the history of redemption, and Christ would make that fact gloriously clear when He burst triumphantly from the grave just days later.
(Adapted from The Murder of Jesus.)