The assurance from Jesus on the cross

The assurance from Jesus on the cross – a sermon on John 19:30 by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

In the late 1800’s Howard Kelly was a young medical student. He loved nature and frequently went out for long walks. One day when he was out walking, he stopped at a farmhouse to ask for a glass of water. A young girl came to the door and when he asked for some water, she sweetly said: “I’ll give you a glass of milk instead.” Thanking her, he drank the cool, refreshing milk heartily, then said goodbye and continued his walk.

Many years after qualifying as a doctor, Kelly became the chief surgeon at the famous Johns Hopkins Hospital. One day a seriously ill patient from a rural area was admitted to the hospital. The skilled chief surgeon spared no effort to make her well. She was given special care, even being attended to by a private nurse. After undergoing surgery, she recuperated quickly and soon she heard the joyous news that she could go home the following day. But her joy was lessened when she thought of the large amount of money she would surely owe the hospital and the surgeon. She softly asked the nurse for the bill. The nurse brought a detailed bill and with a heavy heart the patient started reading the long list of items. Her heart got heavier as she read, adding up the total as she went. But as she neared the end of the list, her eyes caught a note at the bottom of the large bill: “Paid in full with one glass of milk!” It was signed Howard Kelly, M.D.

Now there are obvious differences, but in some way this story reminds me of the great love that our God has for us. If our sins were to be itemised on a bill, it would be a huge bill! Yet, because of our gracious God’s love, He wrote “Paid in full” on our bill of sin. But that “payment in full” came at a huge cost. God’s love led to His Son’s sacrifice on the cross. For Jesus it came at the cost of separation from His Father. But because of God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice, the bill of our sin has been paid – in full. It’s been paid, the account has been settled – there’s no more to do.

This morning’s text tells us about how that account has been settled. It tells us of the last minutes of Jesus’ life. He’s been sentenced to death, He’s been scorned, beaten and rejected, and now He’s hanging on a cross, dying the death of a criminal. And in these final minutes, before He breathes His last breath, He utters these three words “It is finished.” “It is finished” isn’t a cry of defeat, but of victory. And as we work our way through this text we’ll see that this cry of victory gives us as God’s people enormous assurance. Let’s look than at our text using the following framework that I’ve used in a previous sermon on this text:

  • Jesus didn’t say “You’re finished”;
  • Jesus also didn’t say “I’m finished”; instead
  • Jesus said “It is finished.”