It is finished (John 19:25-37)

Parallel passages (Eusebian Canon):  Matthew 27:34,50; Mark:15:23,37;Luke 23:46

25[At that time there stood by the Cross of Jesus were his mother], and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

26When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.”

29A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.

30When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;

33but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

35He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe.

36For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.”

37And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”



Interpretation by the Church Fathers

John Chrysostom

Homily LXXXVII on the Gospel According to Matthew

And they gave Him gall to drink, and this to insult Him, but He would not. But another saith, that having tasted it, He said, “It is finished.” And what meaneth, “It is finished?” The prophecy was fulfilled concerning Him. “For they gave me,” it is said, “gall for my meat, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” But neither doth that evangelist indicate that He drank, for merely to taste differs not from not drinking, but hath one and the same signification.4

2 Matt. 27:31. [ἥγαγον for ἀπήγαγον.]

3 John 19:30.

4 Ps. 69:21.

John Chrysostom. (1888). Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. In P. Schaff (Ed.), G. Prevost & M. B. Riddle (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew (Vol. 10, p. 516). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Cyril of Jerusalem

Catechetical Lecture XIII

Of this garden I sang of old to My spouse in the Canticles, and spoke to her thus. I am come into My garden, My sister, My spouse5; (now in the place where He was crucified was a garden6;) and what takest Thou thence? I have gathered My myrrh; having drunk wine mingled with myrrh, and vinegar, after receiving which, He said, It is finished7. For the mystery has been fulfilled; the things that are written have been accomplished; sins are forgiven. For Christ being come an High-Priest of the good things to came, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, entered in once far all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption; for if the bland of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more the blood of Christs8? And again, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh9. And because His flesh, this veil, was dishonoured, therefore the typical veil of the temple was rent asunder, as it is written, And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom10; for not a particle of it was left; for since the Master said, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate11, the house brake all in pieces.

5 Cant. 4:1.

6 John 19:41.

7 Ib. 30.

8 Heb. 9:11.

9 Ib. 10:19.

10 Matt. 27:51.

11 Ib. 23:38.

Cyril of Jerusalem. (1894). The Catechetical Lectures of S. Cyril, Archbishop of Jerusalem. In P. Schaff & H. Wace (Eds.), R. W. Church & E. H. Gifford (Trans.), S. Cyril of Jerusalem, S. Gregory Nazianzen (Vol. 7, p. 91). New York: Christian Literature Company.


Harmony of the Gospels, Book III, Chapter XVIII

Matthew proceeds as follows: “And Jesus, crying again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”11 In like manner, Mark says, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”12 Luke, again, has told us what He said when that loud voice was uttered. For his version is thus: “And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and saying this, He gave up the ghost.”13 John, on the other hand, as he has left unnoticed the first voice, which Matthew and Mark have reported—namely, “Eli, Eli”—has also passed over in silence the one which has been recited only by Luke, while the other two have referred to it under the designation of the “loud voice.” I allude to the cry, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Luke has also attested the fact that this exclamation was uttered with a loud voice; and hence we may understand this particular cry to be identified with the loud voice which Matthew and Mark have specified. But John has stated a fact which is noticed by none of the other three, namely, that He said “It is finished,” after He had received the vinegar. This cry we take to have been uttered previous to the loud voice referred to. For these are John’s words: “When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”14 In the interval elapsing between this cry, “It is finished,” and what is referred to in the subsequent sentence, “and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost,” the voice was uttered which John himself has passed over without record, but which the other three have noticed. For the precise succession appears to be this, namely, that He said first “It is finished,” when what had been prophesied regarding Him was fulfilled in Him, and that thereafter—as if He had been waiting for this, like one, indeed, who died when He willed it to be so—He commended His spirit [to His Father], and resigned it.1 But, whatever the order may be in which a person may consider it likely that these words were spoken, he ought above all things to guard against entertaining the notion that any one of the evangelists is in antagonism with another, when one leaves unmentioned something which another has repeated, or particularizes something which another has passed by in silence.

11 Matt. 27:50.

12 Mark 15:37.

13 Luke 23:46.

14 John 19:30.

1 [This view of the order is altogether the more probable one. See commentaries.—R.]

Augustine of Hippo. (1888). The Harmony of the Gospels. In P. Schaff (Ed.), S. D. F. Salmond (Trans.), Saint Augustin: Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels (Vol. 6, pp. 205–206). New York: Christian Literature Company.

Ephraim the Syrian

Homily on Our Lord

And if thou shouldst say; “What necessity was there that He should speak humbly? Could He not have convinced him also through the greatness of the light?” Know, thou that questionest, that this rejoinder may be returned to thee; that because it was necessary that He should speak humbly, He therefore spoke humbly. For by Him Who is wise in all things, there was done there nothing that was not meet to be done. For He Who has given knowledge to artificers to do each thing severally with the instrument meet for it, does He not Himself know that which He gives others the power of knowing? Therefore whatsoever has been wrought or is being wrought by the Godhead, that very thing that is wrought by Him at that time, is for the furtherance of [God’s] working at that time, even though to the blind the Divine orderings seem contrariwise. But that we may not restrain by constraint of words a wise enquirer, one that wishes to grow by true persuasion as the seed by the rain-drops; know, O enquirer, that because Saul was a persecutor, but our Lord was endeavouring to make him persecuted instead of persecutor, therefore He of His wisdom made haste to cry—Saul, why persecutest thou Me?—in order that, when Saul who was being made a disciple, heard Him Who was making him a disciple, saying, Why persecutest thou Me? he might know that the Master Whose servant he was becoming, was a persecuted Master, and so might quickly cast away the persecution of his former masters, and might clothe himself in the persecuted state of his persecuted Master. Now any master who wishes to teach a man anything, teaches him either by deeds or by words. But if he teach him neither by words nor by deeds, the man cannot be instructed in his craft. So that, even though our Lord did not teach Paul humility by deeds, yet by voice He taught him endurance of persecution which the could not teach him by deed. For before our Lord was crucified, He taught His disciples humble endurance of persecution by deed. But after He had finished His persecution by crucifixion, as He said, Lo! all things are finished.1 He could not vainly return and begin again anything which once for all had been wisely finished. Or why again do ye seek for the crucifixion and shame of the Son of God?

1 John 19:30.

Ephrem the Syrian. (1898). Three Homilies. In P. Schaff & H. Wace (Eds.), A. E. Johnston (Trans.), Gregory the Great (Part II), Ephraim Syrus, Aphrahat (Vol. 13, pp. 320–321). New York: Christian Literature Company.


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