Protestants what is meant by Jesus on the Cross "It is finished"


In John 19:30 it states, “It is finished” now I have seen some post on this and have learned alot from the catholic perspective of what Jesus meant.

But I have not seen how Protestants see this verse. It doesnt have to be a debate Im more than likely to agree with the catholic interpritation but I was just curious at how others interprit this verse.

I dont want Catholics responding yet I would like for a protestant to respond first. I dont want to hear what they belive from a catholic. I would like to hear it from the source.


Hmmm. Ok I’ll try my hand at this one.

As I have always understood “It is finished” is that the work of salvation that Christ was doing for us was accomplished. It was necessary to die to embody the place of the passover lamb and become a curse for our us. It is finished indicates that the immenence of Jesus’ death and the price being paid for us to have forgiveness of sins.

That is how I have always understood it from a protestant point of veiw, and I imagine it’ll be how I see it if I become catholic.




Not that this is what I think all the time but I remembered this song by Petra.

John 19:1-30
Words & Music by Bob Hartman

In the heat of early morning on a hill they call the Skull
The roaring of the angry mob had settled to a lull
All eyes were cast upon the man whose hands and feet were bound
They saw him cry in anguish when they heard the hammer pound
They saw the bloody woven thorns with which his head was crowned
They watched the bloody cross of wood be dropped into the ground
The soldiers gambled for his clothes, they watched them win and lose
They saw the sign above his head that said “King of the Jews”
(It is finished) And the sky grew black as the night
(It is finished) And the people scattered in fright
The work had been done, redemption had been won
The war was over without a fight
It is finished
They searched his face for anger for vengeance in his stare
Instead of eyes that burned with hate a look of love was there
He prayed for their forgiveness and bowed his battered head
And no one knew the meaning of the final words he said
It is finished, the provision has been made
It is finished, the foundation has been laid
He paid the ransom due and tore the temple veil in two
And opened up the way for me and you



It was finished right then and there.


Ok the song was pretty good but what was finished?
Some calvinist use this as an argument for predestination. Some use this as if we dont have to do anything because Christ finished it all on the cross.

See what I have learned so far as a catholic is that The whole demension of the sacrifice is finished. What began in the upper room is finished on the cross and he gives up his spirit and dies. But the sacrafice of the Passover is not complete until you eat the lamb

That why in (1st Cor 5). its says “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us.” Therefore What? Therefore we dont have anything more to do. No. He says “Christ our Passover has been sacraficed; therfore let us keep the feast.” And then he goes on to talk about how we take out the leaven of insincerity and we have unlevened bread. Sounds like he is talking about communion where we eat the lamb. sound alot like the catholic mass.

anyway let me know what you think Im willing to hear what you guys believe.

And if there are any Catholics who know more on this subject you can chime in. Im just learning


There is a prominent Catholic apologist who asserts that Jesus was not referring to His life or death or act of salvation when He said, “It is finished”.

Here is an excerpt…

I was listening to my favorite pastor and preacher who also happened to be my Hebrew instructor and Old Testament professor. He was going through the Gospel of John, and he was focusing on Christ’s passion and death. Then he got to chapter 19, and then he came to those famous verses in John 19, beginning in verse 28, “After this, Jesus knowing that all was now finished said to fulfill the scripture, ‘I thirst.’ A bowl full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of sour wine on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

In the middle of his sermon, he was distracted by these words, “It is finished.” You could tell that he was taking in unplanned tangent. He said, “You know, well what exactly did Jesus mean when he said, 'It is finished?” Now this pastor always had a way of asking provocative questions, off the cuff, and then giving you brilliant answers off the cuff, that just opened up layer after layer of meaning for scripture. So I was sitting there waiting with bated breath for some mind-numbing insight, when all of a sudden he shocked me and said, “I’m not really sure what Jesus meant when he said, ‘It is finished.’ What is the ‘it’ that was finished?”

I’m sitting there thinking, “Come on, it’s Christ’s redemptive death.” And he said, “If you’re sitting there thinking it’s Christ’s redemption that is finished, you have to realize that the work of redemption was not completed with his death. As St. Paul says, ‘He was raised for our justification.’ So the resurrection is essential for our redemption every bit as much as the crucifixion. All right then, what did he mean when he said, ‘It is finished.’?” I just kept sitting there waiting until finally he said, “I’m not sure. Let’s just move on.”

He goes on to detail his study that resulted in his becoming Catholic.


It means that the plan that God had for our salvation for the time that Adam fell to Christ death was completed.


But how was it completed when Paul says He was raised for our Justification? "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

What is the difference in justification and salvation?


Well, I watched a Jewish believer in Jesus give a explanation of the original Tabernacle. Every summer in Eureka Springs, Arkansas I believe, there is a life size model of the Tabernacle for people to tour through, and this man walks them through and explains everything.

One facsinating thing he explained, is when the sun shown on the face of the Tabernacle in the morning, the
Priest in charge for that day would come out the front, hold his hands over the people and told them-
“God is ready to accept your sacrifice!”

When the sun no longer on the shown on the face of the Tabernacle, and there were dark shadows on it, that same Priest would come out in front of the people and say-
“It is finished!”

Jesus also said, “It is finished”, and it was getting dark that day to.

It is finished, like our Lord said. God is not accepting any more blood sacrifices for sin.

Hebrews 10:12"But this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

Hebrews 10:26"If we deliberately keep on sinning after we recieved the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sin is left, but only a fearful expectationof judgement and raging fire that will consume the enemies of God"



does this help?

Its just a powerful song, that came to mind. If it helps you, fine, if not then leave it. :slight_smile:


This is likely the heart of the matter, Catholics and Protestants don’t agree on the definitions of Justification, Salvation, and Sanctification.

(protestant definitions)

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners, accepting them as just. This is offered as a gift of God.

Salvation requires accepting the gift of Justification that God has offer through Jesus’ work on the cross. You cannot reap the benefits of a gift if you write “return to sender” on it and give it back…You have to keep it.

Sanctification happens as a result of Justification and Salvation together. The Holy Spirit begins a process in the saved persons life where He brings about holiness and change in their life. The Holy Spirit will always does this in anyones live who is saved. This causes the “works”. The works of a Christian are not preformed by the human fallen nature but through the justified person by the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus said “it is finished” He meant the sacrifice for our sins had been completed so that Justification would be possible. God doesn’t change His nature and He required Sacrifice for forgiveness int he OT and in the NT. Christ’s raising or resurrection showed that His redemption was successful. An analogy would be if I completed a painting and hid it in a drawer you would not know I had completed the painting but if I exhibit it, then all would know it was complete. Exhibiting it did not complete it, it just showed everyone it was complete. Jesus completed the work required for sacrifice for our Justification, but if He did not rise again, we would not know He completed it in order to accept it as God’s Gift to us.


His perfect and one-time sacrifice and offering.

When the High Priest was done with the sacrifice of all the lambs on Passover, he would exclaim “It is finished.”

Christ is our Passover.


The passover is finished.
I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in the Kingdom " He drank the final cup of the passover with us. we are there with Him, on the cross. look at paul’s writing: I am crucified with Christ, yet not I…
the sacrifice is accepted, the Holy of Holies is openned
When He drank, he said ‘It is finished’ and let go of His spirit.
we are in the Kingdom.
**That **is the theology that will peeve the dispensationalistic.]

Rejoice, for He is risen for our Justification
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal2:20 NASB
now that is Catholic!!!



"He was delivered over to death for our sins.

and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

It seems from the bible that he was raised for our justification not that he died for it.


Then they ate the lamb

(1st Cor 5). its says “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us.” Therefore What? Therefore we dont have anything more to do. No. He says “Christ our Passover has been sacraficed; therfore let us keep the feast.” And then he goes on to talk about how we take out the leaven of insincerity and we have unlevened bread. Sounds like he is talking about communion where we eat the lamb. sound alot like the catholic mass.

How do protestants keep the feast. And im not hashing out Im just curious.


So how can you be justified if you don’t accept justification? And how you intend to accept it if you never heard of it? How would we know it was finished if Jesus stayed dead?

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

and was raised to life** for our** justification. (Romans 4:25)

Making justification possible is different than offering it to others.


That is 'cause Paul used justification in the Catholic sense and not the protestant ‘delcaritive judicial sense’ "
isn’t it neat how the whole of scripture oozes with catholic theology!?


Very true. :thumbsup: I think you’re on the right track on this one, Atemi. I think this has been covered by Scott Hahn pretty well; the link provided on his talk about it shows that clearly.


But it does not say he was raised so that we may know we are Justified it say he was raised FOR our justification.

What did Jesus mean when he said “Im not going to taste the fruit of the vine again until my kingdom come.” (Mk 14:25)

I want to know what you believe. and other protestants.

one more question

Why does Jesus say “in order to fulfill the scripture he said I Thirst.”

What was he fullfilling? if it was the passover could it not possibly mean that when he said it is finished it was relating to the passover instead of Justificaton?


You are just stressing the wrong word. :wink: He was raised for OUR justification. not raised for part of justification… he was raised so that WE might be Justified.

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