It’s amazing how three little words can say so much. Take these three phrases for instance:
I love you.
I am sorry.
I forgive you.
All of these phrases are small – but they can change an awful lot can’t they?
But never, in all of history, were three words as meaningful as the last phrase uttered by a dying man, over two thousand years ago. They were three small words that changed my life forever. And they can change yours too.
They were the words of Jesus as He hung upon a cross, dying.
“It is finished!”
I know what you’re thinking. What? I don’t see the connection. What could be so important about that little phrase?
When Jesus uttered those words moments before He died, it wasn’t a cry of relief that His suffering was about to come to an end. He didn’t merely mean: “Thank goodness this ordeal is over!”
It meant so much more.
You see, Jesus’ death was not just an unfortunate end to a good man’s life. There was something far deeper going on. The bible tells us that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He chose to go to the cross.
A ransom is a sum of money demanded for the release of a prisoner.
So who was the prisoner?
Okay, so let me just clear things up – I’ve never been to jail. This is a metaphoric image.
Before Jesus rescued me, the bible tells me that I was like a prisoner on death row, a slave, chained and bound by my sin. No matter how hard I tried to become a better person, I couldn’t get free.
So Jesus did the unthinkable. He paid my ransom. It meant that He had to die in my place. It meant that He had to take all of the sin off my back and bear it on His own. It meant that He had to be punished, beaten, bloodied and bruised instead of me.
And that’s exactly what was going on when Jesus hung on the cross.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bore the sins of the whole world upon His shoulders, on a cross, on a hill called Calvary, on a day that changed History forever.
Which brings me back to those three words: “It is finished!”
The same phrase has been found on bits of ancient papyri, written across tax receipts. It really means “PAID IN FULL”. Wow!
The price for our redemption, our ransom, was PAID IN FULL by Jesus’ death on the cross.
Perhaps you are familiar with the words from an old hymn: I pray they have new meaning for you today:
“Long my imprisoned Spirit lay, fast-bound in sin, and nature’s night,
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke the dungeon flamed with light!
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose went forth and followed Thee!”
All I had to do was say three little words in return. “I am sorry”.
And as Jesus arms were outstretched, nailed to that splintered cross beam, His answer was plain to see:
“IT IS FINISHED!”
“I FORGIVE YOU!”
“I LOVE YOU”!