At the Lord’s Supper this morning, it struck me that when the atoning work of Christ on the cross was completed, it was Christ himself who declared it finished, not the Father. Why was that? Would it not have been fitting for God the Father to have made the declaration?
This morning’s sermon was from Psalm 138, where David says of God, “you have exalted your word above all your name” (v 2, ESV mg, which translates the Hebrew more accurately). This is why Christ made the declaration. The Word has the priority and the preeminence in everything (Colossians 1:18). And it has always been so, right from creation (Genesis 1), where the word came first, then the action. As human beings we may declare, but not deliver, because we are unable to complete our plans. But God’s Word always delivers — he cannot lie (Titus 1:2), and it cannot fail (Isaiah 55:11). For God to say is to do, for his Word is living and active and powerful (Heb 4:12).
But why did Christ make the declaration? So that we might hear it. Were God the Father to have declared it in heaven, we would not hear it. And we needed to hear it so that we might be able to respond.
By making the declaration himself, Christ was also declaring his deity. He did not “jump the gun”, or speak out of turn. This was an “authorised” declaration, made with the full authority of the godhead. It was not leaked, but made at the proper time. All that remained for God the Father to do was raise his Son on the third day that we should be in no doubt that he died for sin, but not his own.
And the fitting response to such a declaration is surely that of Phillip P. Bliss — “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!“