“It is finished” (John 19:30)
Of all the words that we read in The Bible, by far my favourite are these three small words, ‘It is finished”. As Jesus breathed his last human breath as mankind’s Saviour, these, His last words, were heard not just heard on Calvary’s hill; they rang through the courthouse of heaven, they resounded in the caverns of hell. The consequences of these words have impacted both time and eternity for countless millions, probably billions, down through the millennia and will impact countless more until Christ returns.
As that last triumphant cry broke from the lips of the Savior, a number of remarkable events took place. These included:
In his book, The Six Miracles of Calvary, Willian R Nicholson takes a deeper look at these four miracles that occurred in the moments after Jesus cried out those triumphant words. Here are some of his thoughts regarding the torn veil:
1. Nicholson reminds his readers that the reason for the existence for the veil was because of man’s sin. No human being could approach God’s holy presence without the prescribed shedding of blood. The veil was an obstruction between man and God. But now, as the last triumphant cry of Christ was heard, it heralded that “sin, the real obstruction, was taken out of the way.” What a glorious moment in the history of mankind!
2. The author also pointed out that, despite what people may suggest, the tearing of the veil could not have been a result of the earthquake. If that was the case, the Temple itself and other articles in it would have been damaged. The only damage we read of, was to the veil. It happened at precisely the moment the final cry of victory rang out from Calvary.
3. He also pointed out the relevance of the time that Jesus died. He said, “The timeliness of it was one of its most wonderful features. Jesus Christ expired at three o’clock in the afternoon. This was the time of beginning the evening sacrifice, so that the priests were in the Holy Place, in front of the veil, actually engaged in their duties. “Yes, God meant it to be seen and meant it to be thought of.”
And “thought of” it must have been. Picture the priests who witnessed the event. Terror must have seized them as the 60 foot veil, said to be a hand breadth thick, tore from top to bottom, revealing the holy of holies to eyes other than that of the High Priest.
We can imagine the wonder, awe and fear with which they spoke of this amongst themselves and described these events to other priests. Nothing like this had been seen or of heard of before. So, it it not surprising that, not long after this, we read in Acts 6:7,
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” We can’t help wonder if many of these “became obedient” as a result of the rending of the veil.
How wonderful was that miracle in all that it reveals to us. I can’t help remembering words of the hymn penned by William R. Newell;
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary
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