ABOUT THE 9TH (Jason Kopp)
I like baseball. It is by far my favorite sport. Few moments in sports are as exciting as the bottom of the ninth inning, the end of a game, when your favorite team’s closing pitcher is fighting to get the final three outs and save the game for a win. The stakes are high, the tension thick and the excitement palpable.
But this blog isn’t about the ninth inning of a baseball game. It is about a different ninth; it is about the ninth hour, the final hour of Jesus’ life on earth, before He gave up His Spirit, dying for the sins of the world. It was a much more potent moment than the ninth inning of a baseball game. The stakes were higher, the tension thicker, and the circumstances were certainly more dire. If we look at the record, we see how it unfolded, and we can then draw applications from it.
Matthew and Mark record that Jesus cried out at about the 9th hour. “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying ...“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). And then Jesus utters an additional loud and final cry just before yielding His Spirit and breathing His last (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37).
Luke and John give insight into Jesus’ final cry before yielding up His Spirit. Luke records Jesus calling out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit!’” just before breathing His final breath. (Luke 23:46). And John’s record reveals Jesus said, “It is finished,” before He bows His head and gives up His Spirit (John 19:30).
Now this is very important. Four perspectives of the same event reveal an accurate picture from which we can draw important implications.
“Father, into your hands I commit My Spirit!” Just as Jesus said earlier, regarding His life, “No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:18). This scripture shows Jesus obeyed the Father, and His authority came from the Father, thus proving He was the Son of God. (And the resurrection is further proof that He truly was the Son of God).
“It is finished!” This is so important, and the results can be life changing. This brief statement from Christ tells us that Christ’s work on the cross fulfilled the sacrifice for sin for all time. Since Jesus was perfect, the sacrifice was perfect. The sacrifice was also sufficient, meaning we believers do not need to go anywhere else for salvation but to receive Christ’s perfect and complete sacrifice to save us from sin. It is also important to note, for all those who have struggled with shame, that Jesus dealt with the shame of sin on the cross and defeated the enemy Satan on the cross. So when He said “It is finished,” He really did mean it is finished! We can draw confidence from this that our sins, past, present and future are dealt with for all time. Along with defeating Satan and Sin on the cross, Jesus also defeated Death, as demonstrated when He rose from the grave on the third day. So altogether, this statement, “It is finished,” is a great victory cry for all believers in the Name above all names, Jesus Christ! He came to close in the game for our eternal lives, and He dominated. He is the ultimate closer, and He is infinitely better and more of a “sure-thing” than your favorite closer in a baseball game. We can rest assured in this truth and give Him praise, worship and glory. For it is finished!