Explore the Bible Study: It Is Finished

9:54 PM

Do you work from a “to-do” list? Do you ever finish your “to-do” list? If so, how does it feel when you finally complete it?  Jesus had a “to-do” list that resulted from a plan God had in place when Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 1-2. The Explore the Bible Study: It Is Finished, examines the final things that needed to be “checked-off” of Jesus’ “to-do” list so that man might have the opportunity, once again, to have a restored relationship with Holy God. 

Previously, Jesus had stood before Jewish high priests, Pilate, and then Herod. He had been betrayed, denied, accused, mocked, and beaten. After this, John 19:16 simply tells us, “They took Jesus away.”  That simple statement envelops the scene of a bloodied man as He carried His cross toward Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. Yet none of this was by accident. 

As we look at Jesus’ “to-do” list, remember that, since before time, Jesus had His list prepared. He emphatically, simply and systematically, yet painfully worked through it to bring the hope of salvation to a lost world. The first of the final items on this “to-do” list was to bear the pain of the cross.

Bear the Cross—John 19:17-24

Jesus went out from the place where He had been sentenced and tortured. Unlike the Synoptic Gospels, John did not describe how the soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to take up Jesus’ cross. Eventually, Jesus arrived at the Place of the Skull. Named Golgotha in the Aramaic language, this hill stood outside Jerusalem. Three short words, “They crucified him,” cannot convey the cruelty of this horrific form of execution.

Bearing the cross involved much more than just carrying the cross. There were multiple actions on the "list" that pointed back to God’s plans that were prophesied in the Old Testament. Bearing the cross was not a painless or simple task either. Let’s examine what John’s brief description of a difficult task really involved as we examine the plans that were accomplished through this task.

Read Isaiah 53:1-9 and Psalm 22 and identify the prophetic plans that were fulfilled as Jesus bore the cross for you.

When you consider all that was involved in Jesus bearing a cross that was meant for you, how should you respond? What are one or two words that describe how you feel regarding what Jesus did?

Bearing the cross was a part of God’s redemptive plan. This was no afterthought. Although Roman soldiers conducted the execution at the request of Jewish authorities, God had a plan that had to be executed because of our sins. Jesus bore the cross for your sins and mine. Yet, behind it all, God was working out His plan for His glory (Acts 2:23). The next thing on Jesus’ “to-do” list was to take care of His family.

Take Care of Your Family—John 19:25-27

No one can imagine the pain and suffering Mary was experiencing as she watched her firstborn hanging on that cross. Perhaps she did recall the prophecy of Simeon shortly after Jesus’ birth. This elderly man named Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart (Luke 2:35). This was fulfilled as Jesus’ mother and her companions were standing by the cross. 

Jesus, in pain and near death, did not stop caring for others. He saw His mother standing there and knew she would need someone after He died. From the cross, His agony did not diminish His concern for her. Although He knew He would rise in three days, Jesus wanted to provide for Mary for the long term. He had several half-siblings who could have taken care of their mother, but they had not come with Mary. In addition, at this point, they did not believe He was the Messiah (John 7:5). So, He made another arrangement. Jesus left no loose ends as He provided for His mother.

How does Jesus’ love for His mother help us understand more fully the following verses: Luke 14:26-27, Mark 7:9-13, and 1 Timothy 5:8? How does one honor his father and mother while following Christ?

When Jesus made the statement in Luke 14 that one must “hate” his or her father and mother (Luke 14:26-27) He wasn’t referring to an emotional hatred for them. He is simply stating we must count the cost of being disciples. Jesus illustrated this by remaining on the cross as He watched His mother’s pain and agony as she observed what was happening to her son. Jesus gave up everything to fulfill His plan for salvation, including His mother. 

GotQuestions.org explains it this way:

Following Jesus requires commitment and faithfulness, even if our parents choose not to follow the Lord. If and when we are faced with the painful choice of loyalty to family versus loyalty to Jesus, we must choose Jesus. Even if our family members disown us—or worse—for being Christians, we must follow Christ. We are to prioritize our relationship with Jesus over our relationship with parents, siblings, and other family members.

Of course, it is right to love our family members, and we want them to love and follow God. Elsewhere, Jesus confirmed the fifth commandment that we honor our fathers and mothers (Mark 7:9–13). And Paul sternly warned that “anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus’ statement that we “hate” father and mother must be seen in relation to the whole of Scripture. His point is not that we are to be heartless toward our families, only that we must love Him more.” (Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/hate-father-mother.html)

We see a beautiful picture of Jesus’ love for His mother, yet His love for His mother or His family did not stop Him from obeying His Heavenly Father. Finally, Jesus finished His “to-do” list for this part of God’s redemptive plan.

Finished His “To-Do List”—John 19:28-30

John did not attempt to record all that occurred during the crucifixion, but he does tell us that Jesus finished the work given Him. He completed the sacrificial atonement necessary for our salvation. Jesus finished everything the Father had set out for Him to do. He omitted nothing and fulfilled every Scripture. From the messianic prophecies of Psalm 22 to Isaiah’s words about the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), the Scriptures about Jesus’ death were completed. His “to-do” list was completed for this part of God’s plan.

Another "To-Do" List

Now Jesus focused on another “to-do” list. That list included:

  • His resurrection and his ongoing intercession before the Father – “Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)
  • Sending the Holy Spirit – “It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
  • His return! – “If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.” (Luke 14:3)

Jesus is constantly at work, moving to accomplish God’s plans. We, as believers, are to join Him in that work. What are some actions God expects us to have on our “to-do” lists as followers of Christ? How are you doing at accomplishing the list of “to-do’s” God has given you?

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

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LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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