What did Christ mean by his final words “It is finished”? Dr. Sri explains the meaning of Christ’s final words on the cross at Calvary and how they are words of triumph and not defeat.
Snippet from the Show
Jesus wants his sacrificial love to live in our hearts.
Dr. Sri’s Step by Step Guide through the Triduum
Dr. Sri is offering a step by step guide that will walk you through the events of Christ’s Passion in Scripture. You can receive this guide by email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is an option to do a simple version or a more extensive one depending on what you’re able to do.
It is Finished
These words could sound like words of defeat. However, these words are actually words of triumph. In Latin, this sentence would be translated as “It is consummated.” Other translations could read it as “It is accomplished.” One thing these words are revealing is that Christ has accomplished and fulfilled the will of the Father. However, there is more to understand from these words.
Prophecies Are Fulfilled
Throughout Christ’s Passion in the Scriptures, there are many prophecies fulfilled. Below are a few:
- Pilate has a sign placed above Christ on the cross that says, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” This sign was actually accurate because Christ is the true King. His crucifixion was not a defeat but actually his enthronement.
- Christ’s garments are divided and the soldiers cast lots over them. This is in fulfillment of Psalm 22.
- Christ’s tunic is not torn. The tunic is a symbol of a priestly garment. Therefore, this is in contrast to the high priest Caiphas who tore his garment, something a priest a was never to do. The contrast is there because Christ is the true High Priest.
- The pierced side of Christ fulfills Zechariah 12:10.
Completion of the Passover Meal
What we find in Christ’s final words “It is finished” is actually the completion of the Passover meal he began on the night of Holy Thursday. At the Last Supper, Christ changed wine into his blood. This cup was the third cup of Passover, the Cup of Blessing. In a Passover meal, there are four cups. However, Christ did not mention the fourth cup, the Cup of Consummation.
In fact, he says in Matthew 26:29 “I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” In the garden, Christ asks that the cup pass him by. When he arrives at Calvary, he refuses the wine they offer him. Finally, on the cross, Christ says that he thirsts and after tasting the wine, he says, “It is finished.” Christ is not just stating that he has accomplished the mission. He is declaring that the Passover meal is finished.
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Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.
Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri. Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.
Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.