Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)
“I have heard many sermons about the physical pain of death by crucifixion. I’ve heard graphic descriptions of the nails and the thorns. Surely the physical agony of crucifixion was a ghastly thing. But there were thousands who died on crosses and may have had more painful deaths than that of Christ. But only one person has ever received the full measure of the curse of God while on a cross.
I doubt that Jesus was even aware of the nails and the spear — he was so overwhelmed by the outer darkness. On the cross Jesus was in the reality of hell. He was totally bereft of the grace and the presence of God, utterly separated from all blessedness of the Father. He became a curse for us so that we someday will be able to see the face of God. So that the light of his countenance might fall upon us, God turned his back on his Son. No wonder Christ screamed. He screamed from the depth of his soul. How long did he have to endure it? We don’t know, but a second of it would have been of infinite value.
Finally, Jesus cried, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). It was over. What was over? His life? The pain of nails? No. It was forsakenness that ended. The curse was finished.” (from Saved From What? by R.C. Sproul)
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Lyrics: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us by Stuart Townend, Painting: Woman, Behold Thy Son by James Tissot (1836-1902)