After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. - John 19:28-30
In the upper room, with his disciples, Jesus observed the Passover meal (Mark 14:12-26). The bread and wine we see being passed are clearly the main course and third cup of the traditional Passover Seder meal. The Cup of Redemption. But then Jesus says something interesting in Mark 14:25
“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
And then in next verse we see that Jesus and the disciples head out to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus prays, in Mark 14:36:
“Abba,Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take THIS CUP from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
What cup!?!? The Cup of Restoration. The Cup that Restores our relationship with God in the blood of the New Covenant. The Fourth Cup of the Passover Seder that began in the upper room.
In John's account above, we can see that Jesus asks for something to drink and is given a sponge soaked of sour wine (vinegar). It's interesting to note here that it is handed to him with a hyssop branch. This it the same type of branch that had to be used to spread the blood of the passover lamb on the doorposts as we see in Exodus 12:22 below:
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Then he says:
It is finished!
As a Protestant I was taught that this meant that the work of redemption was finished but that's not correct. Christ's resurrection was required to complete our redemption as we learn in 1st Corinthian's 15. So then, what is "IT"?
It IS the completion and perfection of the Passover.
Furthermore, It means that Christ's sacrifice didn't begin when he was nailed to the cross. It began in the upper room!!
It means that when the disciples ate of his flesh and drank of his blood during that passover that they were already eating the living sacrifice of Jesus!
I totally wish I could claim this revelation as my own, but I learned that the Catholic Church has been teaching this beautiful and complete view of the Passover and Christ's Passion for a long time in the form of the Baltimore Catechism.
If you want to know more on this topic, listen to Dr. Scott Hahn's sermon on The Fourth Cup, which you can find here.
If you still want to go deeper, you can buy his book, The Fourth Cup, on Kindle for $11.99. For a former protestant, it is an absolutely mind-melting read.
Peace Be With You!