Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he wasbruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4–5

In looking at the complete Atonement of Jesus Christ, one of the most significant events is his death on the cross. “It is finished” were the last words the Greatest of us all uttered before allowing his spirit to part from his tortured body. We know that Christ’s triumph over death still lay ahead in the resurrection, so what was “finished”?

The cross represents the lowest of human suffering, the darkest moment any one with a mortal body had to endure. It was the loneliness, the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual anguish that would have taken the life of anyone other than One who had the power to know when it was enough. There wasn’t one soul he couldn’t empathize with, there wasn’t one soul that his mercy couldn’t touch.

“It is finished” is a phrase that, to me, is one of the greatest cries of relief ever uttered. A moment came when Christ knew that He had fulfilled His mortal mission, the moment when the Father accepted His sacrifice as the ultimate display of love for us all.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

I picture a time when Christ will stand with us as our advocate before the judgement bar of the Father, unworthy and imperfect as we are to enter into the perfect glory of the Father, and Christ saying, “Remember how you sent me to redeem your children because you loved them? Remember how I prayed that you would glorify them with the glory you gave me, that we would all be one? I fulfilled my promise and offered myself as a sacrifice. Look at how much I love them. Look at the blood I spilt on their behalf, the wounds and suffering of your perfect Son, the depths of hell I endured – let this stand as proof of how much I love them. Though they aren’t perfect, please, for me, let those who believed on my name enter with me into your glory and your kingdom. Let them be one with us because I love them.”

Justice would prevent us from entering the Kingdom of God – but mercy satisfied the demands of justice – the same mercy born when the final price was paid, the moment just before the words “it is finished” were spoken.

I wanted to capture that moment. Coarse, uneasy, dark, yet soft, satisfied and beautiful. The great calm after the ultimate storm. I wanted to show the wounded hand as the focus – the hand that healed the sick, caused the blind to see, raised the dead, and washed the feet of his disciples. It is the hand in that in that moment conquered hell, and it’s the hand that is stretched out to us, beckoning us to leave our own hells and partake of his love and his mercy. In our own darkest hour, his is the wounded hand that will lift us.

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