There are many pivotal points in human history, events that forever change the course of the world and human life in the world. We might think of such things as the invention of the automobile, the airplane or the computer. We might think of events, like the end of the world wars, the dropping of the first atomic bomb or the landing of men on the moon. If we go back further in history, we might think of such things as the invention of the printing press, the use of gun powder or the development of the telegraph or the radio.
Yet, there is one event in history that outweighs them all and has more significance to every person who has ever lived or will live than any other. And for many, the observation of the anniversary date of this event goes largely unnoticed. I’m talking about the moment on that first Good Friday when Jesus was dying on the cross and cried out the words: “It is finished!” In the original Greek of the New Testament (John 19:30), it is only one word, “tetelestai.”
What was so earth-shaking about this particular moment in human history? Well, aside from the fact that the earth did shake and the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, it is pivotal and most significant because at that very moment in human history the redemption of mankind was accomplished. Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, had lived a sinless and perfect life in the stead of all mankind and He had suffered upon the cross the full and just punishment for the sins of all mankind. At that very moment, atonement for man’s sin was made, God’s just wrath against sin was satisfied and salvation was won for all mankind. Jesus’ resurrection on the third day was proof of that fact.
As a result of what Jesus completed at that moment in time, God reaches out to sinful man with His offer and gift of pardon, forgiveness and life eternal as an alternative to what we all deserve — judgment, condemnation and eternal punishment for sin. Jesus suffered our punishment and, as a result, all who look to Jesus and His cross in faith have pardon, forgiveness and the certain promise of eternal life in heaven!
And this event is pivotal and most significant for all people because Jesus, when He died there on that Roman cross, paid the price for the sins of all, from Adam and Eve to the last human being to be born into this world. The event is significant and most important for everyone because, without it, we would all be condemned to eternal punishment for our sins; but with it, all who repent and look to Jesus in faith have forgiveness and the eternal joys of heaven.
Though many do not wish to face it, this event and what Christ Jesus accomplished when He uttered those words and died upon the cross confronts every human who has ever lived or will live. It confronts each and every one of us with the question of what we do with Jesus and the atonement He accomplished when He died on the cross as the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.
It is as Jesus said in John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Jesus also said in Mark 16:15-16: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Christ Jesus died for the sins of all and rose again in triumph; and the Gospel — that good news of what He accomplished for all when He died upon the cross — is and has been preached to all the nations. Those who, by the gracious working of God’s Spirit, come to trust in Christ and the work He accomplished for all are saved. Those who reject or neglect the message of Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all are condemned for not believing in the name of God’s only-begotten Son and looking to Him for pardon.
What could be more pivotal in human history and have an impact on more human lives than what Christ accomplished for all upon the cross!