It Is Finished

A Good Friday Reader's Theater

What did Jesus mean when he said “It is finished”? This readers’ theater examines the multiple meanings of that phrase. It would work well in any Good Friday service, but is especially appropriate as part of a service on the Last Words of Christ (see RW 14 and 78 for service ideas on the Last Words). —JB

[As readers’ theater begins, a cellist plays “Man of Sorrows” in the background.]

All: It is finished.

Reader 1: These words were said by our Lord from the cross.

Reader 2: But what did these words mean? What did “It is finished” mean to the people standing at the foot of the cross?

All: It is finished.

Roman: Did you hear that, people? It is finished. People always said that the Romans and the Sanhedrin didn’t know what they were doing. But we were right. We finally stopped this “Jesus.” Now what will happen to all those who followed him? It’s finished, Jesus-followers. It’s over.

All: It is finished.

Mary: My son. His suffering is over. Finally, it is over. The mocking, the beating, and then this crucifixion, this suffocation, this pain—my child’s torture. My son. His suffering is over. It is finished.

All: It is finished.

Disciple: It’s over. How can this be? He was Christ, the Son of the living God. He was the great King. He was going to rule. And now it’s finished? It’s over?

All: It is finished.

Reader 1: Our Savior said, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). His job was finished.

Reader 2: And how about you? What do those words mean to you? It is finished.

Reader 1: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.

Reader 2: We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.

Reader 1: But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

Reader 2: He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Reader 1: We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

All: And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him—on him.

Reader 2: Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,

All: to crush him with pain.

Reader 1: The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—

Reader 2: life,

Readers 1, 2: life,

All: and more life. Death has been conquered by the suffering and death of our Savior Jesus Christ!

All sing: “It is finished,” was his cry. Hallelujah! What a Savior! (from “Man of Sorrows—What a Name” CH 311, PsH 482, TH 246, WR 301 )

Janie Van Dyke ( teaches English and theater at Unity Christian High School in Orange City, Iowa. She is a member of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Orange City.

Reformed Worship 94 © December 2009, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.