Our Middle School Youth Group does a winter retreat every year in Ohio on the second weekend of March. As an aside, that was this past weekend and the students had a wonderful time learning about running the race and “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” from Hebrews 12.
I love the winter retreat, but it is quite exhausting. I do what I can to get enough rest, but ultimately have to rely on the adrenaline to make it through the weekend. Then, after everyone is picked up and I get home, I crash on the couch, turn on the TV, and rest. Finally, the weekend retreat is finished.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
Think about this: From the moment of creation, Jesus knew what was coming. He knew Adam and Eve would sin. He knew He would be born of a virgin. He knew He would be whipped and beaten. He knew He would die a painful death on a cross to bring forgiveness to you and me.
What a monumental task! And finally, the moment Jesus has known would come is here. He finishes strong, then cries out, “It is finished.” His task complete, Jesus gives up His spirit and rests from His labor.
I love that first night of sleep after the winter retreat. Back in my own bed, in my own house, with my family. It usually takes another night to recover fully, but that first night is so great. But there’s something else coming. Easter is just around the corner. Then there’s confirmation. Then summer and VBS. There’s always more opportunities to be exhausted in the future.
But not for Jesus. This one moment in time—this one act on the cross—brings forgiveness once and for all to all people. Everyone before this point in time looked forward to the forgiveness that would come. Everyone after looks back and remembers what was done for them. Jesus paid the ultimate price on that Red Letter Day for you and me. It is finished. We stand forgiven in Christ.