The Greatest Words Jesus Ever Said :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

John 19:28-37, Revelation 22:20, Luke 22:41-42, Isaiah 53:4-6, John 14:6, Acts 4:12

Summary: There have been figures throughout history who have had a way with words that have changed lives as well as the destinies of nations. However, the three words Jesus said from the cross – “It is Finished!” – gave humanity freedom and forgiveness from sin forever.

There have been people who, throughout the progression of civilization, have had a way with words and seem to possess a unique grasp of language. They have an eloquence of speech, saying things that are deeply profound. The Lord Jesus was just such a person. Throughout the years of His recorded ministry (John 20:30-31, 21:25), one thing about Him that kept the people’s attention was His ability to say things in a manner that had never been said before. All one has to do is read through the Gospels and see that this is proven beyond question.

At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, the apostle Matthew wrote that the people were astonished at His doctrine because He had taught the Scriptures with “power and authority” (Matthew 7:28-29). Luke wrote that the people who heard Jesus teach were amazed at the power of His words (Luke 4:22). This authority was even seen by His enemies as a demonstration of power they had never encountered (John 7:46). Look for yourself and read verses such as John 8:58, 10:30, 14:1-3, 9, and Revelation 22:20 to see that our LORD’s words are a treasure of theological truth and give us an understanding of just Who He is. He is no sage, guru, or mere teacher of noble acts but is God Almighty in the flesh. There is no room or need for any other speculation.

Upon the cross, in His final moments of life, having undergone an agony and torment that no ordinary man in his own strength could ever endure, is where He says the words that summarize His entire reason for coming to this world – “IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30). This was no cry of defeat and despair but of victory. The sin debt we possess was fully and completely paid for courtesy of God Almighty, who graciously and lovingly provided us the Perfect and Sinless sacrifice for sin that we could never hope to present or perform in our corrupt and reprobate condition (Isaiah 45:11; Ephesians 2:8-9).

The pain that the Lamb of God endured on our behalf was done for you and me (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:26-30, 38; Luke 22:63-64; John 20:25), and in no way even begins to scratch the surface of the suffering He endured for us. He willingly drank the bitter cup (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1) that had the poison of our iniquities (Isaiah 53:6) within it.

When He was on that cross, He literally became the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Father, who does not tolerate sin, judged His own Son as if He were every sinner who ever lived, which in and of itself was the greatest agony that Jesus was ever forced to endure. For the first time ever, a gulf existed between Him and the Father. The Savior literally experienced every person’s death and hell while on that cross.

Stop for a moment and let that sink in. You and I should have been on that cross to endure the pain, agony, and certain judgment we deserve for our sins and the wretchedness of our character that would have sent us to a real and horrid eternal hell. Save for the intervention of our Creator in an act of love and compassion we do not deserve, He graciously offers us this act of wondrous mercy.

When the Lord Jesus reached the end of His ministry on the cross, He finished a work that had begun before the formation of the world (Revelation 13:8). From the beginning of time, God had always planned to send His Son to the cross to die for sinners. This promise was made to Adam and Eve in the Garden after they sinned (Genesis 3:15). This was shown in the offerings and sacrifices that were done first in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. The necessity of a blood sacrifice to atone for sin was seen first in the act of Abel (Genesis 4:4) when he brought a lamb to be offered. After the flood, Noah presented a sacrifice to the LORD as a thanksgiving for sparing them by means of the ark (Genesis 8:20-22) and a promise from God never to destroy the earth with a flood again.

As the nation of Israel was preparing to leave Egypt, God instructed Moses and the people to celebrate this act of freedom by establishing the Passover and the sacrifice of a lamb (Exodus 12). When Israel entered the Promised Land and settled it, the act of blood atonement continued for centuries as a representation of God’s forgiveness of both their personal and national sins. However, this act of atonement had to be continual since we continually sin, and the rivers of blood from lambs, goats, and other animals could not continue. There had to be a final and complete act of sacrifice that would atone for the sins of not just God’s chosen people but for all people both then and now.

The faithful remnant of Israel looked forward to the Promised “Messiah,” who would fulfill the words of the prophets and be that final act of atonement required from God.

The sacrifices we read of in the Old Testament did nothing to remove the sins of the people once and for all. It was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross that dealt with the sin issue forever! (Hebrews 9:12-14, 10:10-14). The cross was not a fluke of history or something which caught God off guard. It was preconceived before this universe ever came into existence, and the forces of evil would not be able to stop it (1 Corinthians 2:7-9; Ephesians 1:4).

Because of the cross and those words uttered from the Savior -“IT IS FINISHED!” – no other work needs to be done, improved upon, or added. It is not “Jesus and,” or “Jesus along with” or Jesus plus.” The act of redemption was complete on that cross, period. We do not need to add rituals, objects, penances, journeys, or anything else, as is the tradition and thinking of fallen humanity.

We do not need to wonder if there is another way or direction along with what Jesus Christ declared (John 14:6). The Sovereign of the Universe provides only ONE way by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12). That in itself is a finished and non-negotiable declaration that we dare not challenge or dispute. The work of Jesus Christ should bring us to our knees and even hide our face before Him who is holy, righteous, majestic, and loving. We are undeserving of this wonderful mercy and grace. There is nothing preventing you from coming to Him and surrendering your life to Him, receiving the forgiveness and loving embrace He willingly provides (Matthew 11:28-30). Your sins have been atoned for, and you are free from the grip of sin, death, and hell.

When He said, IT IS FINISHED,” it was a done deal, and for that, we say, “Great is the LORD” Amen.

My book The Scope of Biblical Prophecy is now available at: It is a general look at the role and importance of Bible prophecy, the importance of correct interpretation of the Scriptures, the varied ways of how the last days events are to occur, and that in the end, Jesus wins.


Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.

In 2018, he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. A copy of his resume is also available upon request.