FINISHED THE WORK
John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
It was a glorious thing of great accomplishment when God finished the creation of the heavens and earth. – Genesis 2:1. It was noteworthy when Moses finished the tabernacle in the wilderness. – Exodus 40:22. It was also an amazing accomplishment when Moses finished recording the law that the Lord gave him. – Deuteronomy 31:24. And what a glorious celebration throughout the nation of Israel when Solomon finished the permanent temple in Jerusalem. – 1 Kings 6:9,14. And it is of no small consequence when believers, like the Apostle Paul finish their course, having kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7.
But what we read in the above verse, stated by the Son of God to his Father, is of far greater import than these! The eternal Son of God had come on earth to “fulfill” (that’s how the Greek word, here translated “finished” is translated in John 19:28), the work that the Father had started. And yet, there is one more phrase to add to this. For our John 17:4 verse reveals that he had finished the work of his ministry “on the earth.” But in John 19:30 he would proclaim from the cross, “It Is Finished.” Thus he would reveal that his work of completing redemption was also accomplished! Isaiah 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
But what was the Father’s work which the Son refers to here as being finished by himself? These following verses reveal the difference in the times of the Father’s work from that of His Son’s. Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Let us see what the scriptures reveal of that which had been done under the old economy of the law.
And to do so let us first make sure that we take notice of the Son’s acknowledgements of the Father’s work in this glorious prayer. Let us notice that it was the Father’s name and word which our Savior revealed in verse 6. It was the Father’s truth that sanctifies in verse 17. It would be the Father’s keeping the elect in verse 11. It was the Father’s sending in verse 18. It was the Father’s glory in verse 22. And it was the Father’s giving and love in verses 24 and 26. John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
First of all, the Father had to deal properly with sin, lest his having fellowship with a fallen people, whom he loved before the foundation of the world, should render him unjust! For he cannot excuse sin! Nor can he just arbitrarily forgive sin! For sin has wages which must be paid! Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; Therefore he must have a way to justify the sinner without making himself unjust!
Hence, the great mystery of the gospel! Ephesians 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; And that gospel reveals that the forgiveness of sin and the cleansing of all unrighteousness are attainable by substitution! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
And this was such a hidden wisdom that even those evil ones who carried out the death of the Lord Jesus did not perceive that they were destroying themselves in doing so. 1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Therefore the Father chose his people in his Son before the foundation of the world. And that choosing also elected his Eternal Son to be as a slain Lamb from that point! For as long as the Father had loved the elect, the Son stood in submission, as a slain Lamb to take away their sin! He was the surety, by which the Father could promise them eternal redemption! Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
1 Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Even the faith of the believers under the old covenant was, as it were, on credit. For they were clearly said to have been obedient to God by faith. Read chapter eleven of Hebrews and see the listings of the names of those who lived by faith. But now consider verse 13 of this chapter. Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Although these had an acceptable faith in God, they did not have the fulfillment of the promised redemption, nor of the sending of the Holy Spirit to dwell in them! Just as in the above verse from Romans 3:24, wherein we are instructed that Christ’s righteousness would be declared for their past sins, so the faith he would author at Calvary was appropriated back to them as well! Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
No one may approach God without blood! Abel offered blood and was accepted. Cain offered a turnip and was rejected! See Hebrews 11:4. But animal blood never took away one single sin! Hebrews 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: The Father never intended that the blood of the animal sacrifice should take away sin. He just used it as a covering for their sin, and to point to His Son – The Lamb! Therefore when the Lord Jesus came, the old economy was ‘taken away’ and the new covenant was ‘established.’ Hebrews 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
The Apostle Paul, praising the redemption in Christ, referred to the entirety of the Old Testament system as weak and beggarly elements! Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Therefore the Son, who is the Light of Life, had to finish the work in righteousness, that was begun in but shadowy type. Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. And positional justification was completed for all the elect at that one and the same time! Hebrews 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
For the Son’s sacrifice and resurrection finished the work of redemption forever! Of the Son and his sacrifice it is said, but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26). Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his (Abraham’s), sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
This is the very heart of the gospel which the Apostles preached! Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
And just what is the Son’s position now? Because of his willing obedience and his completion of redemption, God hath highly exalted him! Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And just what is he doing? He is presently reigning Lord! Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
The Prophet Daniel was given a vision of Christ’s ascension and enthronement. Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
And to enter that everlasting kingdom, one must be spiritually born again! John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ shall continue to reign from the time of his ascension on his mediatorial throne, until he turns in his identity as Mediator, when he returns as God all in all! 1 Corinthians 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Then all mediation and intercession shall cease. For then we shall be like him, for we shall see him for the first time as he is! 2 Corinthians 5:16 ¶ Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 3, 2015