It was truly finished. The world had changed forever.
Never again would the blood of the innocent victim, spilled in murder, cry out for vengeance, as Abel’s blood had done; for the blood shed from before the foundation of the world had been shed now within the world, on a particular day at a particular time, and it cried out for mercy and forgiveness on its tormentors.
Never again would the earth be destroyed by flood, for the promise of mercy, offered by a rainbow, was fulfilled in darkness and terror, when the light of the sun was quenched in the middle of the day.
Never again would God require that a lamb, or some other young, unblemished creature, should be dragged to the temple, or bought in the temple courts for an exorbitant price. Never again would a man need to bring the creature, made nervous by the smell of blood, to the priest, place his hand on its head, confess his sins over it, and watch while the priest killed it and its blood was shed in payment for his sins, so that he could be reconciled to God. The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world had been slain, and His death was sufficient for every sin that every human being could commit. It was finished, and it was enough.
Never again would membership of God’s people be determined by one’s physical descent from Abraham. For the identity of the children of God was not determined by their physical birth and parentage. Instead, they must be born again of water and the Spirit, for those who received him, who believed in his name, had the right to become the children of God.
Never again would those children of God be under the bondage of the law which could not save them. For he had nailed it to the cross, and disarmed the powers and authorities. Instead they are called to walk in freedom, by the Spirit, bearing the beautiful fruit of the Spirit, love in all its aspects, and so fulfilling the law as they grow to be like their Lord.
Never again would the temple in Jerusalem be the dwelling place of God. For he had visited and redeemed his people. He had come to them in that upper room, where they hid away, with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and tongues of flame, symbols that recalled Mount Sinai, and now he would make his dwelling place in each and every one of his children. Sinful, struggling, broken human beings would become, each one, a temple of the Most High God.
And never again would death lord it over the human race, for one who was altogether man (and therefore mortal), and altogether God (and therefore perfectly holy and beyond the claims of death) would die, grievously and terribly die, and in that dying triumph over death. Death and the grave were defeated, for he rose from the dead to live and reign eternally, and his life was the light of men. And those who are willing to be crucified with Christ shall live and reign with him for all eternity.
It was finished. Things would never be the same again.